5 poses for finding freedom within form

Inspired by both my dance background and some amazing teachers, I began to look for more ways to allow more freedom within the traditional asana form. For me this looks like experimenting with length and depth of breath, finding pulsations or diving into the realm of subtle movements that initiate from an internal reference point. These 5 poses are some of those which I often use to explore this idea.

Wild Thing

This pose can be approached in many different ways; seated, downward dog, plank, side plank. However, from downward dog

Lift one leg into the sky

Bend the knee and rotate the hip open

Step the foot to the outside of the grounded leg

Once your both feet are meeting the mat pour your weight through the feet to lift the body

The chest and pelvis begin to rotate towards the sky and the free arm can extend.

From here I like to bring my hips to the floor and push back up a number of times, bending both knees to contract the body and then breathe out into the expanded form.

Goddess

Stand with with your feet wide apart. Toes turned out and heels turned in

Bend your knees and allow your pelvis to sink towards the mat

There is so much capacity to find your own expression and movement patterns within goddess pose. Experiment with the upper body and arms to start (it’s also a great support when the legs get a little fiery) and see what happens

Phoenix Pose

Start in mountain pose

Bring your knee to your chest

Step the lifted leg to the outside of the standing leg. Balancing on the ball of the foot

Bend the knees and sit hips back (like chair pose)

Reach arms up and take a wide v-shape

I like to pulse this one and use my arms like wings of a bird. As I inhale I reach them and my gaze upward and as I exhale and wrap the arms around me and bring my chin to my chest.

Sunflower Breath

A simple one-breath-per-movement asana that acts a bit like blowing away the days debris.

Stand with legs slightly wider than hip width apart

Inhale to lift arms and straighten legs

Exhale to lower arms, bend knees and fold the body forward

Depending on my how much energy I need to move I will alter the speed and intensity, sometimes adding a jump as I inhale to stimulate, for example, or moving really slowly (8 count inhales and exhales) to unwind

Constructive rest

Nothing like giving yourself a big old hug! This pose is a complete reset. The proximity to the ground and the self touch just feel magical and can cultivate as sense of containment plus the ability to fully release

Lay on the floor

Bring legs wider than hip width

Allow knees to fall towards one another

Wrap arms around your body with hands resting on your shoulders

You can change the positioning of the arms too; overhead, on your thighs, alongside your torso or anywhere on your body. See what feels good for you.

This is where subtle movements feel larger than life, such as a sway of the pelvis, imagining you’re pouring water from one hip half to the other. Or even just breathing into the back of the body and noticing how it imprints on the mat.

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