The transition to spring is one of the most difficult times of the year for me as a yogi. And therefore, one of the more difficult times for me in general. I think that mostly this is the result of living in a northern climate where winter is something to go out and play in in between the long stretches spent indoors doing indoor things. Practicing yoga, for me, is a mostly indoor thing. So, as the days get longer and lighter, the choices become more difficult. And I am mostly ready. Reluctant but ready. I need light. Fresh air. I need to shed my skin (and layers of wool) and expose my summer self. So, on bright early spring days when I have the option to go on a long walk with my boys, I compartmentalize my practice time. I compress it. Minimize it. Orient it more toward maintenance than toward growth and discovery. Because I am so over being stuck in my dry, forced air, chilly, and often dark practice space. And somewhere, in the shadow of my memory, I can recall that my favorite time of the year to practice follows this season. Soon, the doors and windows will all be wide open and my skin will be warm and stay warm and the air will be fresh with plant energy, bird song and my favorite thing of all, humidity.
It is time for me to get outside. To turn my face to the light and soak it in. Instead of skipping my time on my mat- which I used to do: "if I don't have 90 minutes, well, then I don't have crap!", I now simply compress it. I look to effect my state more than my flexibility. I choose a short list of shapes that are reliable feel good way marks for me and a few that I have learned I need to swallow with regularity. The other day, I had 45 minutes to practice before Bear and I left for the Tuesday run of violin, but the sun was shining and pouring in the windows and we were rereading Wildwood and snuggling in the sun and so well I started shaving time off. 45 became 30 became 25 and then 20 and then I made it for 18 minutes with the time to the wire and us dashing to the car with our fists full of snacks and instruments. Those 18 minutes worked though. I merged for a moment with my breath and my body in a way that helped me carry peace through the rest of the day. Old Meg would have most likely been pissed at the brevity, but new Meg is just thankful.
Same thing yesterday- I had a nice chunk in the afternoon to write and to practice, but the day called me outside and I walked and talked and enjoyed the emerging season with my fellas while Maple cared for her Wednesday afternoon charge. I got to hold hands with Eider and listen to him explain to me the scat of a Prairie Cat and well, let me tell you it doesn't get any better than that. 30 minutes on my mat will do. It will do.
Here is how it goes: I set the timer, say, for 20 minutes. With short repeating intervals. 40 seconds. And then I make child's pose and take a long deep exhale. And begin.
AMV, AMS, Uttanasana, Lunge variation, Prasaritta Padottanasana
Handstand, backbend over the block or wheel, Pichamayurasana
Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana, Ardha Chandrasana, Crescent variation, Parivritta Trikonasana, Anjaneyasana with a quad stretch.
Ustrasana, Janu Sirsasana, Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana, Parighasana variation
Urdhva Dhanurasana, Urdhva Muhka Paschimottanasana, Ardha Matseyandrasana
Stay if you can for 2-5 minutes Ujayi Pranayama or legs up the wall.