Yoga is magic. There is an alchemy about it that makes things better, with the potential to bring about calm but also to fire up positive energy – it holds, soothes and restores me when life is challenging. Yoga teaches me resilience, helps me to maintain a reasonably even keel and this is an ongoing course of learning! It helps to soothe neck, shoulder and back aches that come from driving, carrying shopping and sitting typing at a keyboard. It’s not all about the postures though, and doesn’t always involve being on a mat in a studio – for me it can be as simple as a quick stretch in the kitchen or a few minutes of breathing exercise and meditation in the middle of a busy day at work. Yoga is a way of life, and I love facilitating and sharing the magic with others.
Let’s try this together:
Reverse Warrior II/Viparita Virabhadrasana II/ ‘Peaceful Warrior’
*Step the feet wide and turn right toes out to the right, lining up right heel with the middle of inside left foot.
*Bend the right knee to feel a good stretch in the thighs, aiming to bring the knee to just above the ankle, but not going beyond.
*Bring left hand to hip, or slide it down the thigh, while sweeping right hand out to the right and up, as if tracing the shape of a half rainbow overhead.
*Relax the shoulders, shoulder blades sliding down the back of the body; let the upper body feel light, while the legs are strong and feet are grounded. Focus on breathing into the right side of the ribs – let the breath be both strong and smooth.
*Release gently before switching to repeat on the other side.
To me, this posture always feels joyful, strong and celebratory. It strengthens the legs, eases tension in the back and hips and encourages us to lift and open the chest; a lovely one to practise outdoors – so inspiring, and makes me think of a favourite Rumi quotation: ‘Only from the heart can you touch the sky.’
Find Safia at the studio on Fridays at 10am and enjoy her Gentle Hatha Yoga class.