Becca, the Yoga teacher at MoaAlm Mountain Retreat would like to share her inspiration and intentions for a daily practice.
The new solar year has started as the Earth begins her tilt back towards the Sun before the emergence of spring. For thousands of years the Winter Solstice has been celebrated around the world—acknowledging the shortest, darkest day of the year as a return to light, the rebirth of the sun. This is also a time to turn inward and face yourself. Ask what isn’t serving you anymore and instead of resisting, release and open your heart to welcome the change.
Q: Why so optimistic about 2020? What do you think it will bring?
A: I think it will bring flowers.
Q: Yes? How come?
A: Because I am planting seeds.
Much like our yoga practice, our intentions are always in flux, and like a seed an intention must be planted, nourished and given patience. As we lay out the framework for our plans, we build a path that lights the way through the darkness of winter. An intention is the starting point of a dream; be it career or relationships, material things, personal or spiritual ascension or joining #Veganuary with some of our recipes.
OK.... AND WHAT THIS HAS TO DO WITH YOGA?
Meditate on the things from the last year that held you back or created obstacles in your life. With each exhale release that which no longer serves you. During your practice visualise an intention and then the actions you need to take in order to reach that intention.
Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes and centre yourself with five deep, full breaths.
I love warming up with this short sequence. From a downward-facing dog, inhale to shift your weight forward into a plank, exhale and lower towards the ground, inhale to lift your chest through your upper arms for an upward-facing dog and exhale to stretch back to forward-facing dog again. Five rounds.
Plank pose energises and strengthens your body. Activate your core, stack the shoulders above the wrist, spread your fingers wide apart, push the flat palm into the ground. Your hips lift away from the ground. Now try to lift one leg and the opposite arm. Hold for 5 breaths.
Step your right foot forward, gently drop your back leg and sink your left knee. Shift your hips forward into a deep, low lunge. Reach your arms out to the sides or upwards. Gaze upward at your thumbs with each breath becoming even more expansive than the last. Consider adding a comfortable backbend into this pose to create even more space in your upper body. Stay for five breaths.
Straighten your front leg, and swivel on your back knee so you’re facing the long side of your yoga mat. Keep your right leg extended and turn your toes to face the long edge of your mat. Slide your right hand lightly down your extended right leg and rest your fingers on your leg. Stretch your left arm over and across your ear to your right get a deep stretch on the whole left side of your body. Stay for five breaths.
TWISTED WIDE LEGGED FORWARD FOLD
Still facing the long side of your mat, inhale to elongate your spine, maintaining the length of the front torso, exhale and lean forward from the hip joints. As your torso approaches parallel to the floor, press your one set of fingertips onto the floor directly below your shoulders, the other arms twist up to the sky. Gaze up, extend your elbows fully, engage your legs and lift your kneecaps. Stay for five breaths.
Camel pose can be anything from a gentle to a more intense back bend with the goal to open your chest and heart up to the sky. To enter this pose, sit on your knees, consider a blanket underneath. Leave your hips on top of your knees and lift and lean back, maybe touching your heels. This pose is a wonderful chest-opener, providing a deep stretch for the intercostal muscles between the ribs. Stay for five breaths.
RECLINED SPINAL TWIST POSE
Make your way onto your back and hug your knees into your chest. Stretch your arms open like wings and bring both knees over to the right side. Stay for five breaths in the spinal twist before transitioning to the other side.
Unroll and extend your arms and legs for final resting pose. Allow this pose to be a sweet release of your effort, knowing that all is happening exactly as it is supposed to. Trust in yourself and allow yourself to surrender to all that is.
If you are interested in following more of Becca's blog postings, amazing photography or trying one of her plant based recipes, then visit her website plant based basics