With our present time of year in mind, I find myself easily able to empathize with Twain’s statement, as I’m certain many of you will understand. Repeatedly I’ve woken up, the forecast encouraging me to don a spring dress, perhaps complimented by a pair of Toms – only to come home that evening with rosy cheeks, wind-bitten fingertips, and my footwear soaked through. This is of course the nature of the season, and all we can ask of ourselves to remain calm, present, and patient as it runs its natural course.
It is for this reason that I have chosen Warrior II, or Virabhadrasana (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna) II, as our yoga pose for the week. Named after the fierce warrior, Virabha, who was thought to be an incarnation of Shiva, this pose has multiple benefits. Not only does it help to strengthen the arms and lower body, invigorate the core, and open the chest and shoulders, but it can also have a largely positive effect on our capacities for concentration and stamina.
Once you have acknowledged your center and are ready to begin, come first into Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, planting all four corners of your feet firmly into the ground, lengthening your spine, and extending your arms down along the sides of your body. After indulging in five deep breaths, step your feet out about one lunge’s width apart, allowing your torso to face forward. Gently extend the arms out to the sides of your body, ideally reaching your wrists in line above your ankles. When you feel a sense of stability, slowly turn your right foot out, creating a ninety-degree angle, and proceed by turning your left foot in, at about forty-five degrees. Gently bend the right knee, being sure not to let it extend out past the ankle, but rather helping it to form its own ninety-degree angle, outlined by the vertically placed calf and the firmly horizontal thigh. Lift your chin, turning it over your shoulder, and allow your gaze to extend out past the right fingertips, finding your drishti (focal point) somewhere on a surface in front of you. Sink deeply into the pose, letting your muscles release. After another cycle of five inhales and exhales, gently straighten the right knee and re-align the feet, preparing to repeat these steps with the left side of your body. Once you are finished, come back into Mountain Pose, resting your palms together at heart center. Close your eyes and release your breath, lingering in a moment of peace.
Within these next couple of weeks, if you find yourself engaging in self-doubt, or becoming increasingly frustrated with the changing season, just remember:
Spring is the land awakening.
The March winds are the morning yawn.
~Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You~
Blessings and good health.
Image from: piccsy.com