Guest post graciously contributed by Julia Kress
Considerations for our self-care regime during vata season could include some exercises that at the Himalayan Institute we call affectionately container work. This is exactly what we want during vata season, is to contain and direct our energy in responsible and effective ways. That being said the exercises that follow are meant to be done in a slow quiet way that allows you to be mindful of just what you are feeling throughout the body and through the field of the mind. You can do a few of these every day and some maybe just 2-3 times a week, they can be a practice in itself or a warm up to a fuller asana session.
Abdominal Exercises, 6-10 repetitions
On Inhale let the abdominal wall stretch. Exhale Contract Abdomen towards the spin.
Pelvic Tilt with Abdominal and Pelvic Exercises, 6-10 repetitions
Same as above yet add the contraction of buttocks and pelvic floor to the practice.
Knees to Chest
Stretch and elongate the spine for a few breaths.
Bridge with Block, 6 repetitions
Exhale contract the buttocks, pelvic floor and lower abdomen, pressing into the feet evenly and lifting through the thighs till you reach the peak of bridge, then gradually on the inhale relax back to the floor.
Crocodile and Breath Awareness
Rest for 2 minutes.
Crocodile with Lower Abdominal Contraction and Pelvic Contraction, 6-10 repetitions
Exhale contract low belly, pelvic floor, and buttocks.
Inhale relax buttocks, pelvic floor and then abdominals.
Sphinx to Partial Plank, 6-10 repetitions
Rest in sphinx for a minute or so, then on the exhale raise the pelvis off the floor contracting the abdominal and erector spinae muscles till your reach a nice extension with the spine, do not push the buttocks to the ceiling. Inhale release and stretch the abdominal wall and front of spine in sphinx.
With arms in goal post position press the legs and pelvis into the floor as you lift the chest away from the ground using your back muscles, allow your body to rock slightly on the inhale and exhale.
Stay for 3-6 breaths at a time and repeat 1-3 times.
Side Leg Lifts
For abductors and adductors (6-10 times, 2 sets)
Reverse Leg Extension
(8-10 times, 2 sets)
3 Variations of Hip Stretches
Holding for 1 minute each side for each variation.
- Start with both knees bent, cross right ankle over the left thigh, stay here is adequate stretch, otherwise lift foot off floor and hold back of thigh.
- Release left foot to floor, grab a hold of the right ankle and move it towards the left hip and floor keeping.
- Use the left hand to now hold the right knee, cross the knee over the chest towards the left shoulder.
Legs up the Wall, 5-10 minutes
Best in the cold season to wrap the legs in a blanket while they rest on the wall.