The days are finally starting to lengthen as we head towards Spring! I'm excited at the prospect of longer and (hopefully!) warmer days! As a Spring baby, it's my favourite time of year! As I plan for my first workshop of the year on March 17th which is all about balance, and related to the Spring Equinox which falls on March 21st, my thoughts move to what this actually means.
Feeling balanced is what most of us are seeking, Getting the right mix of activity and rest, work and play. Not feeling heavy and lethargic; not feeling anxious and unsettled.
Depending on what type of person you and what your default setting is, you can use Yoga and its practices to help bring balance to your life. If you have a tendency to find it difficult to sit still you are probably drawn to dynamic yoga practice, moving quickly and sweating. If you have a tendency towards being quieter and more inward (like me..) this can swing toward inertia, and you may find it difficult to find the energy to get going and are probably drawn towards less dynamic yoga practice.
However, it is probably the opposite which may bring you more benefit. So if you normally practice vinyasa style yoga, try yin - where you hold the postures for longer to move deeply into the muscles and fascia of the body. You won't sweat but you will get a deep stretch and also work into the parasympathetic nervous system to sooth the entire system. If you normally favour slower yoga, try an ashtanga or vinyasa flow class. Get the blood and breath moving, get warm and shake it up to move away lethargy!
An excellent Pranayama which can benefit to everybody is Nadi Shodhana - alternate nostril breathing. This brings balance to the left and right breathing channels. The breath moves through 90 minute cycles where either the left or right nostril is breathing more dominantly, with around a 90 second pause between cycles when the breath is equal. When the left nostril is active, you are in a calmer, creative, more introspective state; when the right side is active you are in a more outgoing, outwardly energised disposition. By using the practice of Nadi Shodhana, you force the breath into balance. Try it here.
Yoga is a box filled with tools - to fire you up, calm you down, motivate you mentally, or bring you peace. Keep moving, and use this arsenal of gifts to help bring balance to your life. Move into Spring with energy and balance, peace and love.