Springtime is magical, dynamic and a time of new beginnings. As nature moves out of the cold, wet, dark winter toward spring, the pulse of life quickens, the earth warms, and blossoms unfurl, reaching for the sun. Nature makes it look smooth, but for us humans it’s not as easy to transition gracefully from one season to the next—especially from winter to spring. More often we find ourselves feeling heavy and sluggish, like a cranky bear reluctantly coming out of hibernation.
One of the ways to shake off that sluggish winter cloak and lose those winter love handles is to bring more lateral movement into our bodies through yoga.
Lateral movement in yoga refers to stretching to the left and right sides. Other than reaching for your suitcase, you may not have to move laterally much in your daily life. By focusing on yoga poses that require lateral motion, also known as lateral flexion, you can open your lungs, tone your internal and external oblique muscles, and work your leg and back muscles.
Another advantage of lateral poses is to improve flexibility and speed for other sports as we get ourselves fit for the summer months, One flowing yoga sequence you can so is to starts in Warrior II then inhale into reversed Warrior exhale into Side Angle Pose inhale back into Reversed Warrior then exhale in Triangle Pose and inhale back into Reversed Warrior . Repeat this five times on both right and left sides of the body. As you progress, you can gradually add a Half Moon moon after your last Triangle pose by taking the weight on to your front leg and lifting your back leg parallel with the ground. Then exhale back into Side Angle Pose and continue via Down Facing Dog on to the second side.
Practice Gate Pose to elongate the intercostal muscles between your ribs to improve your breathing and digestion, tone your spine and lose those winter love handles. Start from a kneeling position and stretch your right leg out straight to your side. Place your foot flat on the floor facing front. Inhale and stretch your left arm up and place your right hand on your right shin. Exhale and stretch to your right side. Hold for a few breaths, then come up and repeat on your left side.
At the end of your yoga practice, use lateral stretches to cool down. Try asanas such as Seated Wide Angle and Head to Knee Poses, stretching to both your right and left. From a seated position, lengthen your neck to the left and the right. Then, place your right hand on the floor and stretch to that side with your left arm overhead. Repeat on your left side. End in Child’s Pose for a few breaths before you do Savasana, or Corpse Pose.