yoga poses

Yoga Poses for Transition

As humans, we’re constantly in a state of transition. Some are smaller, like the act of going from rest to rising or from sitting to walking. Others are more prominent, like moving from summer to fall and warm to cold. While these transitions are natural, it’s important that we honor them and realize the impact they have on our health and well-being. 

These shifts in our body and environment can actually cause stress if we try to push too hard or move too quickly. Have you ever jumped out of bed because you were late and felt dizzy? Or, have you ever transitioned into a situation, like a new job, and felt sick to your stomach? If we don’t take the time to easefully and gracefully move through our lives, we risk disrupting our digestion and getting ourselves sick. 

I bring this up because I’ve fallen ill with the flu. I’ve experienced a great deal of change in my life recently, and this is my body’s way of reminding me to slow down. As I build up my strength, I’m excited to get back to my yoga practice, as it always helps me to ground and transition mindfully. 

This simple practice is a favourite of mine, especially as the seasons change. Seasonal shifts require reflection, and in the colder months, we’re meant to be gentler in our thoughts and actions. Moving the body using yoga and breath is a beautiful way to relax the nervous system.

Daily Yoga Sequence for Transition

  1. Start in Mountain Pose: Place your feet firmly on the floor. Moving from the bottom up, scan your body to ensure it’s in comfortable alignment. Let your hands fall to your sides, palms facing out. Hold this pose to find connection with the Earth and calm in the mind. 
     
  2. Honor the Sun: From Mountain pose, begin a few rounds of Sun Breaths. Inhale your arms around and up. Exhale and float into a forward bend (bend the knees to keep your back flat). Inhale and rise halfway up, gently placing the hands on the shins or thighs. Then, exhale and fold again. Inhale and float the arms around and up. Exhale your hands to heart center or by your side. Repeat. Note: Be sure that you slowly transition from one breath and movement to another, as opposed to moving quickly. 
     
  3. Breath Awareness: If you’re an experienced yogi, you’re welcome to flow into Surya Namaskar A before sitting. When you’re ready, carefully transition to the floor. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position, propping yourself onto a blanket if it helps you sit up straight. Feel your sitting bones connect to the Earth, and find your breath. Notice how it flows after some gentle movement. Continue to focus on the breath. If thoughts bubble up, let them come and go without attaching to them. If you’re pressed for time, set an alarm and sit in this state of peace for 3-5 minutes. 

Honor yourself for taking the time to practice by bringing your hands to heart center. Namaste! 

Did you enjoy this sequence? What are your favourite poses for transition? Let me know in the comments below. Or, join me on Instagram for more healthy tips and ideas. 

Yoga Poses for Digestive Health

When the digestive tract is not working properly, you can feel sluggish, bloated and miserable. Digestion uses up a lot of energy, which is why you may feel like taking a nap after a heavy meal. So supporting healthy digestion is a priority to ensure you’re flushing out toxins regularly and rockin’ proper elimination.

As a yogi, I love to practise deep-breathing exercises, twists and stretches. These gentle movements target my abdominal organs and wring out toxins that accumulate in the intestines and tissues. 

Below are three simple yoga poses that help eliminate digestive discomfort like bloating, gas and constipation. During yoga teacher training, these are the poses we practised after lunch and before we started class.

Be sure to breath deeply to massage your organs as you alternately compress and lengthen the intestines. This action brings fresh blood to the epithelial cells, which are responsible for healthy gut function. 

Yoga Poses for Digestion

3 Gut Girl Poses for Healthy Digestion

(Pose descriptions adapted from Mind Body Green)

1. Apanasana (Wind-Removing Pose)

Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on your mat. Your heels should be aligned with your knees. Inhale and take your hands to your knees. Exhale and hug the knees to the belly. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

2. Twists

On an exhale, gracefully draw both knees to the left, compressing the right side of the body. Turn your head to the right. If it’s too much of a neck stretch, bring your head to neutral. Hold for 5-10 breaths. On an inhale, bring the knees to center. Repeat on the right side. 

3. Balasana (Child’s Pose)

After you complete your twists, return your feet to the mat with knees bent. Hug the knees in and roll to your right side, resting your head on your right arm. Inhale fully and, on the exhale, use your arms to gently bring yourself up to a seated position. 

Kneel on the knees (place a blanket under them if they feel uncomfortable). Sit back onto the heels. Widen the knees as much as needed and slowly fold over the legs. Place your forehead (or your third-eye point) on the floor. Bring your hands to your feet or fold them under the head like a pillow. With your belly relaxed, inhale and exhale fully for 5-10 breaths.

To conclude the practice, inhale and bring your hands flat to the floor right below the shoulders. Exhale and mindfully press up one vertebra at a time. Take a moment to check in with your body. Namaste

Want to learn more about yoga and meditation for digestive health? Email me or let me know in the comments below.