YOGA POSE + FOCUS: 04.08 – 04.14

“Discard everything that does not spark joy.” — Marie Kondo

Weekly Focus: Saucha — first Niyama, to cleanse or purify

To fully emerge from the depths of winter, we cleanse + purify not only our physical space, but the cobwebs of the mind. Shed away the dead branches to expose space for new growth. You have likely noticed a lot of “spring cleaning” talk these past few weeks in the programming — and with good reason! Lightening our load isn’t always easy but damn does it feel good! How can we reframe saucha as a joyful act? We often think of “purity” or “purification” as this very sincere and austere idea — sure, whatever, it is, but also, it can be joyful. Have you ever put on your favorite album and just cleaned your house with a bounce in your step? What would feel really good to clean out right now, leaving you feeling lighter, and more yourself?

Passive Pose of the Week: Paschimottanasana — seated forward fold
Big forward folds can help to stimulate the belly, igniting that internal cleanse. As you take this seated forward fold, imagine squeezing out the things in your life that simply aren’t joyful any longer. Have a seat with your legs straight in front of you. Your legs can come to touch, or, if it is more comfortable, take them hips-width distance or even slightly wider apart. Reach your arms overhead and take a big breath in. As you exhale, imagine yourself lengthening out over your legs and fold forward. If the legs or feet feel really far away, try grabbing a large towel, belt, or scarf to loop around your feet, giving your hands a something tangible to hold onto. You can use this “strap” as reigns to lightly pull yourself in deeper.

Active Pose of the Week: Prayer Twist Lunge Pose

Imagine yourself like a sponge, wringing out the body and the mind with this deep twist. From a lunge position with the right foot forward, bring your hands to prayer at heart center. Turn to your right and lean forward, imagine the spine and torso getting long. Reach your left elbow towards the right knee. The chest will naturally rotate towards the right with you. If this position feels a little crowded or uncomfortable, back off, and let’s try a different entry.

This time, from your lunge position with the right knee forward, stay upright and turn to the right. Bring your right hand to the right hip, and your left hand to the outside of the right knee. You can stay upright or start to reach the crown of the head toward the top of your mat, leaning forward, as you would in a traditional prayer twist lunge. This is always a great alternative if taking a deep twist doesn’t feel comfortable.