When I hear the word “renewal” I think of new beginnings, starting fresh, or opening a new chapter. I think of bringing something to life again…reviving what was once old into something new and fresh. The season which might come to mind is springtime when the flowers bloom, temps become warmer, and things seem to brighten as compared to the cooler and darker winter months.
However, here we find ourselves approaching winter as this post is being written discussing renewal. Upon thinking about this further, it actually makes perfect sense that renewal be discussed now as opposed to a few months down the road.
Like most things in life, the seasons run through a cycle. Spring becomes summer which becomes fall and then winter before back to spring again. Humans are actually intended to run though cycles with the seasonal changes. Winter calls for us to hunker down, reflect on what’s been done throughout the year, rest and prepare for our eventual emerging from the darkness so that we can effectively show up rested and renewed.
Springtime might be when we show up but the work to adequately do so is done prior to our arrival. During these darker days when seasonal depression may be present for some, perhaps we can look at this time as necessary preparation for our eventual renewed sense of self.
Peak Pose: Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
Janu Sirsana being a forward folding posture felt appropriate for the theme of renewal. It calls for an understanding of the legs and pelvis as we fold into ourselves. It’s also the perfect setup for Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana or the revolved, and more open variation of this pose. Think winter going into spring… 🙂
Supporting Pose 1: Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Baddha Konasana is a relatively simple way to get students into an externally rotated position of the legs at the hips and offers a widening of the groin.
- Sit on the ground with the soles of the feet together and knees wide. Try to bring the heels of the feet close to the groin.
- Take your hands to your ankles and fold the torso over the feet attempting to bring the chest out and over the feet.
- Bend the elbows back and use the elbows to encourage the lengthening of the inner thighs.
- Once the spine is lengthened, allow the head to relax.
Supporting Pose 2: Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Doesn’t the lower half of this pose look familiar? Tree pose calls for an almost identical set up in the lower half of the body compared to Janu Sirsasana.
- Stand in mountain pose.
- Bring the right leg up and fold the leg at the knee. Folded leg means to fold the leg in half and bring the lower leg to meet the upper leg.
- Open the right leg at the hip and press the right foot into the left groin.
- Widen the right knee to lengthen the inner thigh and press the sacrum forward.
- Keep the left leg straight and reach the arms overhead.
Supporting Pose 3: Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
Pyramid is a forward folding pose and allows the practitioner to focus on straightening the legs. This is necessary for our peak pose as in Janu Sirsasana one leg is folded and one is straightened.
- From low lunge with the right leg forward, straighten the legs and lift the hips towards the ceiling. You can keep the back heel lifted or adjust it to lower the heel down for a more traditional pyramid.
- Lift the kneecaps to invite integrity into the legs and press the right hip crease back in space.
- Fold over the front leg bringing the nose towards the knee. Blocks are an option here.
Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
- Sit on the ground with both legs extended forward.
- Fold the right leg, bringing the heel of the foot towards the right bum.
- Open the right leg at the hip allowing the knee to work towards the floor and pull the knee back some so that the pelvis is in an open position. The pelvis should be in a similar position as to seated straddle fold as opposed to a seated straight leg pose.
- Turn the torso over the left extended leg, which should be clear and straight with the toes spread.
- Fold over the left leg away from the right leg bringing the nose towards the knee.