The appearance of the first snowdrop reminds us that winter won’t last forever and spring is on its way. Although we haven’t quite shaken off winter this little flower heralds the beginning of the new growth cycle. Below is a piece of writing I wrote following a period of meditation upon a snowdrop.
Meditation upon a Snowdrop
You are the first snowdrop. You bring light into the dark winter landscape and a hint of spring to come. Your love of Earth and Sky has blossomed into a moon-white flower, danced by wind, rain, and snow. Over the winter, your heart, a bulb, is cradled in the womb-like embrace of Mother Earth. Your roots dream into the darkness of the soil; mother and child as one. And then a quickening, something inside of you stirs, a baby kicks inside the womb, and you send up green shoots to meet the light. You are the first snowdrop.
As winter turns to spring the world is waking up and coming back to life again. The Winter to Spring yoga practice, in the Yoga Through the Year book, is inspired by the first spring flowers opening into blossom, heralding the arrival of spring. The practice begins with the Blossoming Hands exercise.
The Blossoming Hands exercise frees up the breathing, establishing a healthy, relaxed breathing pattern. It also helps maintain suppleness and flexibility of the hands. It has a subtle opening effect on the body’s posture and energizes and lifts the mood.
It’s a great way to start a yoga practice. The practice could then be themed around the idea of opening and closing. It can also be used anytime as a standalone practice.
Close your eyes and draw your awareness inward (or if you prefer, keep your eyes open). Begin to gently open and close your fingers. Make a gentle fist, like a flower closing back to bud. Then spread the fingers like a flower opening. Continue to slowly and gently repeat this opening and closing movement.
Once you have established a rhythm to the movement, bring your awareness to the natural flow of your breath. As you observe the breath, notice how it corresponds to the opening and closing movement of the hands.
Next in the practice is Flower Arms:
Stand tall, feet hip width apart. In your mind’s eye picture your favourite spring flower. Now place fingertips on shoulders, elbows out to the side; relax shoulders down away from ears. Inhale and open arms out to the side, like a flower opening. Exhale and bend arms, bringing fingertips back to shoulders, like a flower closing back to bud. Repeat 6 times.
Below is an aide memoire for the rest of the Winter to Spring Yoga Practice, which incorporates a theme of opening and closing to encapsulate that end-of-winter feeling and coming out of hibernation. The yoga flow from Child’s Pose to Upward-Facing Dog reflects this sense of waking up to spring after a long winter sleep.
The full instructions for the Winter to Spring Yoga Practice can be found in chapter nine of the Yoga Through the Year book.
Jilly Shipway, sharing seasonal yoga ideas and inspiration with you through the year...
Coronavirus: Finding Peace in Troubled Times
The next few weeks look set to be a challenging time as the world tries to find a way through and out of this coronavirus crisis.
Many of you will be self-isolating at home, so over the next few weeks I will regularly post simple, accessible yoga and mindfulness techniques to help you find your calm place in the midst of the storm. I will also post short, simple yoga practices for you to do at home.
Please consult the expert advice in your own country on keeping yourself safe and well during the pandemic.
Please feel free to share ideas and resources that you find in my blog, but please do acknowledge me and my website as their source. Thanks!
Disclaimer: if you have any concerns about your health or suitability to do yoga, please consult a medical professional before attempting any of the yoga routines in this blog.