Yoga for the Spring Season  
by: Dipali Godbole for Vasanthi Bhat (vasanthi@vasanthayoga.com)

Spring is in the air! Finally, the weather is starting to warm up and you see nature’s bounty at its best. Birds chirping, bees droning, and an abundance of flowers blooming in myriad colors signal the end of winter blues.

Spring is the time for cleaning, and starting afresh. You can rejuvenate and re-energize, and get in sync with the changing season. Yoga is an ancient art and healing practice that will help you to cleanse your mind and body of the stress and lethargy of the long winter.

Spring is also the season for allergies, asthma, and blocked sinuses. In allergies, the body’s natural defenses overreact to an otherwise harmless substance like pollen and initiate symptoms like wheezing, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and runny nose. It can also lead to other chronic conditions such as asthma. The same symptoms also occur in the fall season, but the virus that causes them is different. Practicing yoga techniques can keep the allergies at bay. It will rev up your immune system and help you go about your daily routine. You will no longer need to stay indoors or keep the windows shut all the time!

The change in season and the nagging allergies can adversely affect your emotions too. Even a few minutes of yoga, will help strengthen and calm your mind. No more allergy, asthma, blocked sinus, and stress. Follow the routine given below and see the difference this season.

Asanas (Postures)

1) Fish Posture: Lie flat on your back with your legs bent. Raise your hips and place your hands under them, palms facing the floor. Now, straighten your legs, arch your back and rest the top of your head on the floor. Come out of the pose by bringing your arms out and resting them by your side while resting the nape of your neck on the floor.

Benefits: Encourages deep breathing and exercises the chest muscles. Provides immediate relief from wheezing, asthmatic symptoms, and other respiratory ailments.

2) Two Leg Lock: Lie flat on your back. Bend your legs at the knee and bring them towards your chest. Clasp your fingers around your bent legs. Breathing out, bring your face towards your knees. Breathe naturally while holding the position. Breathe in when resting your neck.

Benefits: Massages and tones the neck, upper-back, and shoulders, while releasing upper body tension. Brings mental relaxation.

3) Cobra: Lie on your stomach, with your palms resting below your shoulders and your chin resting on the floor. Breathing in, straighten your arms and lift your trunk. Breathe naturally in the position. Breathing out, lower you trunk and head.

Benefits: Encourages deep respiration, which in turn strengthens lungs and heart. Stretches spine, arms, neck, shoulders, chest, abdominal muscles, and hips.

4) Mountain Posture: Sit on your heals with your toes bent. Bend forward, resting your palms on the floor. Raise your torso while straightening your arms and legs to form and up-side-down V. Breathe normally. Do not bend your legs at the knee.

Benefits: Energizing stretch for the entire body, including feet, ankles, hamstrings, spine, arms, and wrist joints. Increases circulation to the brain, relieving mental fatigue.

5) Bowing Posture: Sit on your heels. While breathing out, lift your hips and rest the top of your head on the floor. Rest your arms at your side. Breathe naturally in the position. Breathing in, come up and relax.

Benefits: Effectively relieves sinus congestion. Improves, concentration, memory, and eyesight, complexion, and will power.

Pranayama (Breathing Techniques)

1) Bellows Breath: Assume a comfortable sitting position with your back straight. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out forcefully while contracting the stomach muscles quickly and rhythmically. Keep contracting and relaxing the stomach muscles until the active exhalation and passive inhalation sounds like bellows.

Benefits: Purifies the lungs. Helps prevent and alleviate abdominal ailments.

2) Alternate Nostril Breathing: Close your eyes. Rest the index and middle fingers of your right hand on your eyebrow center. Close your right nostril with your thumb. Breathe in naturally through your left nostril and close it with your ring finger. Open your right nostril and breathe out gently. Breathe in through your right nostril, and then close it again with your thumb. Open the left nostril and breathe out. Repeat.

Benefits: Cleanses and purifies the breathing channels. Relieves lung ailments such as asthma, allergy, and chronic cold. Helps alleviate mental and emotional tension.

The previous postures and breathing techniques can help you whenever and wherever you are. Spending a few minutes will work wonders in your busy life. You can be strong and healthy even in the face of bad weather and extreme stress…yoga will help.