8 Yoga Poses For The Spring Equinox To Help You Embrace Change With An Open Heart
Though it certainly doesn't feel like it on the east coast, today, Mar. 20, is the first day of the spring equinox, my friends. That means, in the coming days, all the snow will finally begin to melt (hopefully sooner rather than later), making way for blooming flowers and natural growth — both in nature, and in yourself. A great way to welcome the change in seasons is to practice a few yoga poses for the spring equinox, so your body can truly get in touch with nature, and you can feel inspired to make genuine, long-lasting changes wherever you need to in your life.
Spiritually, the spring equinox (otherwise known as the vernal equinox) is such an incredible opportunity to open your heart and embrace the change brewing in every crevice of nature. During the winter season, the earth sort of falls to a hushed silence, and there's a heaviness in the air that tends to make us all feel a little, you know, blah. But when spring rolls around, everything is restored anew, and growth is welcomed in every aspect.
Symbolically, during the wintertime, your shadow is elongated due to the harsh and frigid lighting. But in the spring, it softens and allows for symmetry and balance, which you can use to inspire your springtime yoga flow.
Use this standing yoga sequence as a clean slate and an opportunity to start over on the first day of the vernal equinox. As you flow from asana to asana, you'll feel grounded and stable, yet gloriously open to everything that this brand new season has to offer.
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Start your spring equinox flow by rooting your feet into the ground like the ever-so-stable trunk of a great oak tree, and stand in tadasana. Let your mountain pose be firm, yet gentle: Relax your shoulders and neck, but remember to keep your spine straight and aligned.
Inhale the waves of change that surround you. Exhale a sense of peace and tranquility.
2. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Slowly begin to fold forward with a flat back, surrendering into a standing forward bend. If you haven't practiced this pose very much, be sure to allow a generous bend in your knees, so that there won't be too much strain on your hamstrings. You should feel a nice release in your lower back as you allow your arms to dangle down.
Again, make sure you're not holding any tension in your neck. Nod your head yes, and then shake it no. Close your eyes, and let this be an asana of release.
3. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Vertebrae by vertebrae, rise up out of your mountain pose, and begin to sit down into your imaginary chair. While you're in utkatasana, maintain your deep belly breathing as you feel your muscles working hard and creating strength.
By stretching your shoulders and chest, chair pose helps invite space into your heart to accept and embrace the seasonal changes taking place around you.
4. Revolved Chair (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
Revolve your chair pose by bringing your hands into prayer position and hooking your elbow on top of your right knee, sinking into the rejuvenating twist. The rotated nature of this pose will feel great for your midsection, ridding you of any excess stagnation that's been building up over the last few months of winter.
Maintain even, slow breaths, and after five inhales and exhales, take your parivrtta utkatasana to the left side of your body.
5. Side-Bending Mountain (Parsva Tadasana)
Return to your original mountain pose, and slowly begin to stretch your side body in parsva tadasana. Only take this asana as far as feels good for your body, making sure not to push or force anything.
When you've completed one side of your body, move on to the other to maintain a sense of balance.
6. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Take a moment to turn inward and you bind your body into a small and compressed eagle pose. Garudasana will challenge your balance and focus, which will both be extremely valuable as you navigate the changing seasons.
Use your drishti, or fixed gaze, as a point in the room to focus on, which will help you remain stable in eagle pose. Once you've unraveled from one side, repeat the asana on the other side of your body.
7. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Gently shift your weight into a vast, yet tender tree pose. Including vrksasana in your spring equinox practice will help you build a solid foundation for the changes that are coming your way. If you're feeling adventurous, try growing your branches in this asana (aka extending your arms out above you) and swaying side to side, like the elongated and graceful branches of a tree.
Take a deep breath, inhaling the sweet scents of spring. On your exhale, release yourself from the pose and repeat it on the opposite side of your body.
8. Mountain Pose With Hands At Heart (Tadasana With Anjali Mudra)
Come full circle and finish your practice where you started, once again grounding yourself in mountain pose. This time, bring your hands into anjali mudra — which means "to offer a seal" — as you start to wrap up your practice for the day. Bringing your hands to prayer at your heart center honors and celebrates the luscious changes happening in the midst of the spring equinox, as well as the personal growth that this signifies for you.
Close your eyes and allow the present moment to encapsulate you, soaking in the radiance that lies within your newly open heart.