When winter comes and holidays arrive - the first thing that suffers is our immune system. From weather to public engagements to stress - our immune system struggles each fall/winter. To strengthen and boost your immune system, think of how your body works to prevent illness. Your Liver releases chemicals to take out some invaders, your Spleen stores your white blood cells, your Lungs help filter and your Large Intestines are your last line of defense. In this practice, we will focus on these meridians to bring them into balance, remove blockages and help them be as healthy as they can be so they can keep YOU healthy!
Join me using the detailed practice guide below OR with the guided video practice http://bit.ly/YinYoga4ImmuneSystem (link at bottom of the page also).
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1/2 Child's Pose Variation
Hold: 2-5 minutes
Come into Child's pose with your legs, big toes together and knees close together. Keep one leg tucked under and take the other out to the side - heel down and toes up (use a block under your hips if that is more comfortable to sit back on). Take a deep breath and then fold forward letting the outstretched leg fall forward. Come down as far as you feel comfortable and lengthen your spine then fold deeper. Take yourself to 2/3 of your maximum and breathe. Sense the deep sensations in the inner legs and hips. To come out, press back up, gently pull the outstretched leg back in and take 5 breaths upright with your seat on your heels or out in front. Take the second side.
Revolved Child's Pose (Parvritta Balasana)
Hold: 2-5 mins per side
Come onto hands and knees, and bring big toes together, knees wide apart (as wide as mat or whatever you can sustainably hold). Walk your hands over to the right and take your left arm underneath your right shoulder with palm facing up. Try to rest the back side of your left shoulder on the ground and your left temple on the floor or a block/blanket. You can "tent" your right fingers and press into them to twist deeper, tuck your right hand behind your back OR walk the right hand out diagonal from your shoulder. After a minute or two, you may find you can tuck the left shoulder underneath further. To come out, gently press into the right hand and lift back to center. Take 10 cat/cow tilts with slow breaths to realign and take the second side.
Melting Heart Pose (Anahatasana)
Hold: 2-5 mins
Come onto hands and knees (blanket underneath for comfort if needed). Begin to drop your belly down towards the floor keeping hips directly over knees. Start to walk your hands out in front of you (wide if that opens your shoulders more) and drop your chest and forehead to the floor (or a block). If it feels okay, you can take chin to floor - remember 2/3 of your max pose. Breathe deeply into the spine and chest (engage navel if this is too much on your lower back). To come out, engage your core and begin to lift, walking your hands back towards your knees. Take Downward Facing Dog for 5-8 breaths - bending one knee and the other.
Hold: 1-3 mins/side
Sit up with sitting bones stable on the floor or a folded blanket. Bring both feet together, knees wide to sides. Take your right leg and turn it out to the side, keeping the foot flexed. Take it back behind you as far you feel comfortable, knee bent (remember the 2/3 of your max idea). Take one hand to the inside of your legs and the other to the outside of your left leg. Sit up tall and breathe into the legs. This pose seems so simple but pay attention to releasing muscle engagement in the thighs and hips. Try to keep your abdomen in the middle and not leaning over and both hips on the floor (use blanket if necessary). To come out, bring feet back together and flutter knees up and down for 5-10 breaths. Continue to second side.
Sleeping Swan (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Hold: 2-5 minutes/side
From Down Dog, take your right knee forward towards the right wrist. Tuck your right foot underneath your pelvis or take your right shin more in line with the front edge of your mat (depends on your hip bones). Keep your right foot activated. Walk your left foot back more with top of the foot on the floor behind you. Walk your hands out in front of you either lifted, on a bolster/blocks, onto elbows or all the way to the ground. Lengthen your spine once you are down and then release fully into the pose. Focus on your breath. After a few breaths you can try to lower more or take your right foot out further forward. Always know you can come back out if it isn't right for you to go deeper today. To come out, press up, step both legs back to Downward Facing Dog for 5 breaths and then take the second side. Know that both sides will be different and respond with the appropriate position for this side.
Dragon Pose (high)
Hold: 2-5 mins per side
Come into a kneeling position (blanket under knees if needed), take one leg out in front in a low lunge position. Take hands on front thigh OR take hands to either side of the foot, lengthen spine then round. You can lift back knee off the floor and draw it back further then release to the floor. Breathe into the hips and legs, allowing them to release and open. Lift your heart and start straight ahead if upright. To come out, slowly straighten the bent knee and make your way into Downward Facing Dog for 5 breaths. Take the second side.
Supine Windshield Wiper Twist
Hold: 2-5 minutes/side
Come onto your back. Walk your feet as wide as your mat and allow the knees to drop over to the left side. Turn your head to the right and take your arms out wide. Allow gravity to pull the knees to the ground and slowly release lower back tension. You can take the left heel onto the right thigh for a deeper pose. Come back to center and switch sides.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the heels to settle out to the corners of the mat, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands out to the sides, palms up. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Take a 6 count inhale, 6 count exhale, 6 count hold at the bottom of the exhale for 3-5 rounds. Focus on your breath and let go.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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