Winter Practice

Winter 2014 has been intense to say the least.  Having moved here fairly recently from LA, where for the most part the weather is warm and sunny, I never really had to worry about layering up or waking up extra early to brush snow and ice off my car.  However, here in Chicago, the consistent freezing cold temperatures and snow fall has forced me to alter many things in my daily life……including my yoga practice.

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I’ve come to terms with the reality that my “winter practice” is very different from my “summer practice”.  When the weather is warm, certain poses simply feel better.  For example, back bends are always a challenge for me; and yet when it’s hot outside, I actually look forward to them, and I can usually get into deeper variations with ease.  However, since mid December, deep back bending has been the last thing I’ve wanted to do in my practice.  At first, it was frustrating.  However, in time, I’ve learned to embrace the change.  I think there is a silver lining to my winter body limitations.  Moving slowly, modifying and backing off of certain poses has helped me feel more grounded and balanced.  I am spending more time being still, holding certain poses that I enjoy for longer periods of time, and reflecting.  I’m enjoying meditating, breathing and connecting, and I’m finding that my attachment to certain postures has lessened….thanks to this Chicago Winter!

“These postures don’t define you and they have nothing to do with your spiritual growth.  What is important is that you develop a good relationship with yourself on the mat.” ~ Maty Ezraty

Sub zero temps does not mean that we should stop moving all together.  I have been practicing at home quite a bit lately, and I have compiled a “sequence” of poses that feel fantastic for me right now.  Feel free to try some or all of these on your own.  I recommend holding each pose for 3 to 5 long breaths when possible.  Stay warm, move slowly, listen to your body, be safe and remember, Spring is coming……..

Balasana- Child Pose

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog

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Uttanasana – Standing Forward Fold

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Arda Uttanasana – Standing Half Forward Fold

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Plank Pose

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Chaturanga Dandasana – Four Limbed Stass Pose

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Bhujamgasana – Cobra Pose

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog

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Squat

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Malasana – Deep Squat

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Prasarita Padattonasana – Wide Legged Forward Fold with arms bound

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Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle Pose

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Utthita Trikonasana – Triangle Pose

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Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

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Lunge with twist

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Parsvottanasana- Pyramid Forward Fold

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Parivrtta Trikonasana – Revolved Triangle Pose

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Deeper Twisting Crescent Lunge

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Marichyasana – Twisting seated pose

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Ustrasana- Camel Pose

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Dolphin Pose

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Sirsasana – Head stand

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Balasana – Child’s Pose

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Pigeon Pose

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Janu Sirsasana – “Head to Knee” Foward Fold

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Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – Easy Bridge pose

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Plow Pose(Halsana) into Shoulder Stand(Salamba Sarvangasana)

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Matsyasana – Fish Pose

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Apanasana – Knees to chest pose

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Savasana – Supported Corpse Pose

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Seated Meditation

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Namaste…….

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