Originally for Sivana Spirit
It’s Imbolc time for all the spirit kittens in the northern hemisphere – and that means the first stirrings of springtime are in the air, and vital energy is afoot! (If you’re in the southern hemisphere, happy Lammas to you!)
Imbolc (also known as Saint Brigid’s Day or Candlemas depending on what traditions you follow) is held on the first of February, and marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is a celebration of the returning of the sun, the lengthening days and the passing of the winter into a fresh and blossoming spring, and with the upcoming full blue moon lunar eclipse, it’s bound to be a powerful one. Commonly associated with the Gaelic fire goddess Brigid, Imbolc is a time to purify yourself from the dark and cold days of winter and prepare for the coming warmer days. As goddess of hearth and creativity, Brigid helps us visualize ourselves blossoming with energy and strength as the outside world slowly comes back to life around us.
Traditional Imbolc rituals can include purifying ritual baths, fire scrying, setting up an Imbolc altar or maybe a simple spring cleaning ritual to get you in a clear headspace. In addition to whatever Imbolc celebration you choose, here are some helpful yoga poses for stimulating purification and inspiration in the body, while also igniting the passionate, fiery energy of Saint Brigid
Gomukhasana (cow face pose)
From a seated pose, bend your knees and cross your right leg over the left, knees are on top of each other and feet are pointed. You’ll need to bring your right foot in closer to your left hip in order to keep the heels equidistant from the hips. Rotate your right shoulder up and forward by turning your thumb towards the floor, then reach around to place your arm in the hollow of your back. Try to keep to elbow close to the torso as you work your hand up to between your shoulder blades. Then you can reach up and around to (maybe) grasp your right hand with your left behind your head. If your hands don’t reach, you can hold a strap between them. Lift your elbows away from each other while lifting in your chest. After about five or six deep breaths you can switch to the other side.
Parivrtta Trikonasana (revolved triangle pose)
Start with your feet spread widely apart, with your front foot pointing forward and your back foot turned in at about a 45-degree angle. Engage your thighs and square your hips as much as possible to the front, sink the front hip back while also trying to ground the back heel down. With an inhale, raise one arm and lean your body forward while twisting open towards your front thigh. You can use a block for support if you can’t quite make it to the ground. Breathe deeply and gently twist into your back body, then repeat on the other side.
Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (revolved side angle pose)
We’re using the same foot position we did in the last pose, but this time bend deeply into the front knee. Square your hips toward the front, try to root the back heel in to the ground as you twist open towards the front high again. You can keep your hands in Anjali mudra (prayer position) or extend your arms – one toward the ground and one towards the sky) for a deeper stretch. Repeat to the other side.
Ardha Chandrasana (half-moon pose)
Begin with the same feet we used for parivrtta trikonasana above, but then begin to slide your back foot in about a foot closer. Then, reach forward with your hand, crawling your fingers forward until your hand is about a foot in front of you. With an exhale, press firmly into your hand and front leg to lengthen, then slowly begin to extend your back leg behind you. Be careful not to overextend your standing leg, and breathe deeply as you try to stack your hips on top of each other. Exhale to come down slowly, limb by limb and repeat on the other side.
Ustrasana (camel pose)
Start kneeling on the floor with knees hip width apart and, you can curl your toes underneath for a gentler stretch. Begin to rotate your thighs slightly inward, firm into your thigh and core muscle, and place your hands on your lower back, right above the sacrum. Inhale and gentle begin to move your tailbone forward, inhale as you lift your heart and roll the shoulder blades down the back. If it’s comfortable, you can gently reach back to grab each of your heels, then re-lengthening into your front body by pushing your pelvis forward. Relax in the head but try not to dump into your neck. Take five slow, easy breaths. Then slowly come out starting with the lower back and ending with your head.
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