It is slowly nearing the beginning of fall in North America. Officially, the fall season will begin on September 22nd, but for some who dislike cooler temperatures, anxiety or stress may follow the summer season. The following two Yoga asanas are easy to practice and help students to release stored energy, which can create bad moods.
Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
This posture is sometimes called “Half Lord of the Fishes pose.” The name can be traced to Sage Matsyendra. Ardha Matsyendrasana can be confusing to some, but it releases physical tension within the entire body. Physical tension stored at a desk, in a car, and on the couch is a recipe for stress overload.
Directions: Sitting, bend the right knee and place the right foot with the heel against the left buttock. The sole of the left foot belongs on the floor on the outside of the right knee. Bend the left arm behind the back and look out over the left shoulder. The right arm presses on outside of the left thigh and knee, the right hand grasping the inside of the left foot. The twist begins and the sacrum and climbs gradually up the spine to the head. Butt stays firm on the ground, feet stay flat on the floor, toes spread. Spine is straight. Then, alternate sides.
This twisting posture prevents backache and keeps the spine flexible and young. It massages the internal organs, aiding in digestion and detoxification. Like all twisting postures, it has the mental benefit of reminding us that we have the power to unravel ourselves in all kinds of unhealthy situations.
Lion Pose (Simhasana)
Sometimes this asana is called, “Roaring Lion Pose.” For many people, the lion is a favorite Yoga pose. You can perform it silently, but I like to be loud and roar. Sitting with spine straight in Thunderbolt Posture, hands on knees, come slightly forward, roaring and exhaling the lungs completely, while opening the eyes wide (rolled back) and opening the mouth as wide as possible, protruding the tongue out and down as far as it will go.
Hold this position on the exhale for as long as possible (6 seconds) keeping the body tense the whole time. Relax and return to the upright thunderbolt position; breathe normally. Repeat.
This asana tones the muscles of the throat and face, bringing fresh blood and new vigor to those areas. In addition, the psychological effect of this pose cannot be underestimated. It is playful, bringing lightness to the mind when overburdened. It is tense, which leads to better relaxation upon release. It is loud and therefore self-expressive, discouraging shyness.