Yoga poses for reflection, calming and grounding are essential practice for Autumnal days. The hedonistic and gregarious days of summer have passed us by and it is time to collect ourselves, grounding our minds and strengthening our spirits as we head into the short, Winter days that can sometimes prove a little emotionally challenging for those used to a higher intake of vitamin D.
Yoga Health Retreats has collected a series of asanas to bring you back to earth and release the ephemeral flightiness of the summer spirit for a more reflective and inward time to reconnect and replenish.
Asanas For Introspection
- Hamstrings & Glutes
- De-stressing limbs, core and spirit
- Reconnecting the elements of the self
- Calming & grounding
- Opening pelvis & core for smoother energy flow
- Reconnecting with the body
- Spinal injuries
- Severe sciatica & scoliosis
- Hamstring injuries
- Ankle injuries
Asana 1: The Cow & The Cat: Bitilasana and Marjaryasana are actually two separate poses but are invariably practiced sequentially and, together, assist in the reconnection with the prana (breath), loosening the spine and abdominals and grounding the mind.
Begin by resting on all fours, palms flat to the mat, wrists and elbows aligned vertically, as are knees and hips. Tops of your feet rest lightly on the mat, while your spine is horizontal and aligned with hips, shoulders and crown as your head faces the floor.
The Cow – Keeping arms and thighs vertical, raise your head as you breathe in deeply and allow the abdomen to sink downward. Don’t rotate the pelvis, simply relax the spine and let gravity guide you.
The Cat – From bitilasana, exhale slowly as you steadily invert the pose, rounding the spine upwards, gently pressing the air from the lungs and letting the neck relax, without drawing the chin into the chest.
Hold until the natural wave of the inhale occurs and breathe, returning to centre or or repeating the flow.
Asana 2: Garland Pose: As well as opening the pelvis and activating the quadriceps, Malasana is incredibly centering, reconnecting you with the earth and allowing you to feel her unfaltering stability and support.
You can begin Garland Pose from either standing or floor, but as we are talking about grounding and centering, let’s begin in Child’s Pose. Roll backwards over your heals, tucking the toes under and rolling up onto the feet in a squatting position. Place each ankle under each hip and rotate the toes outward to a 45° angle.
From here, place your elbows inside your knees and press your legs apart gently as you sink into the squat and bring your hands to prayer position.
Rest here, breathe deeply and feel the grounding energy flowing upward, through the root and sacrum shakras and connecting the solar plexus for stability and peace.
Asana 3: Legs-Up-Wall Pose: Viparita Karani is a beautiful way to unwind from a day’s stresses and has several variations, allowing you to remain in the same asana but activate various centres. Known as the “great restorer” it can be held for up to 15mins but not to be practiced when menstruating or glaucoma problems.
Begin Legs-Up-Wall by sitting against the wall sideways, your right shoulder and right hip just brushing the wall, not pressing firmly into it. Now, in one smooth movement, rotate your legs up the wall, your head and back lying down gently at right angles to the wall. And that, essentially is it! Rest here for five to fifteen minutes, arms wide, chest open, soften the throat and breath normally.
From here, there are a number of variations, including raising your lumbar with bolsters (if you are less flexible, use a lower bolster, further from the wall and vice versa), separating your legs while keeping your glutes and heals against the wall or raising your arms above the head, folding the arms to open the thoracic cavity and clavicles and increase depth of the breath.
Through all of these asanas, the most important aspect is simply to breathe – it is amazing how frequently we forget to! Our lives and well being depend on it, but all too often, when told to breathe, we think to ourselves, “when did I last actually take a breath, a really good, long, revitalising inhale and a cathartic, relaxing, soothing exhale?” Pranayama (breath work) can be as simple as counting your breathing as you sit quietly or prepare to fall asleep but it will give you greater oxygen flow, de-stress your body and allow your mind space and time to simply ‘be’.
Return soon for an introduction to pranayama, with four fundamental techniques.
Receive more benefits at home from the expert tuition of Sue Hawkins with ‘Yoga – for Beginner & Intermediate Levels‘