Aries Yoga

For low energy; seasonal affective disorder; strength-building; healthy release of anger. Builds heat in the body.

Aries rules the head, brain, eyes, face and muscles.

Prana vayu udana //  Ayurvedic dosha : pitta

Meditation : moving

Start in any position you wish. Fill your entire body with deep breath. Move slowly at first, allowing the body to lead. Do not let the mind think you into the next movement. Notice where and how your body connects to the Earth. Keep your eyes open. Let your animal instincts guide you forward. Do not worry about what you look like or whether or not your movement is “correct.” It is.

Pranayama: kapalabhati (skull polishing breath) / bhastrika

Take a seated position. (Alternatively, take utkata konasana, or goddess pose, placing hands on quads for support, upper body bent forward.) Forcefully and rapidly engage the abdominal muscles, pulling the belly toward the spine to push air out through the nostrils. The inhales following the dynamic exhales will be automatic. Bhastrika is similar to kapalabhati except with inhale and exhale both being dynamic snort-like nostril breathing. Forceful inhale through the nose, forceful snort exhale, and so on. These pranayama oxygenate the blood, improve digestion and circulation, clear the sinuses and strengthen abdominal muscles. Kapalabhati first thing in the morning dissolves toxins that have been in the body all night, or longer. Focus on exhalation – the following inhale will come naturally, although this may take practice. It’s a good idea to blow your nose before starting. Practice for 30 to 60 seconds, return to your normal breath and observe, or take uddiyana bandha, drawing the visceral organs up behind the chest cavity after a full exhale. Repeat. Do not perform these pranayama if you are menstruating.

Asana:

  1. surya namaskar (sun salutation) and sustained utthita chaturanga dandasana (plank)
  2. virabhadrasana 1 (warrior 1)
  3. virabhadrasana 2 (warrior 2), warrior 3, humble warrior, reverse warrior, any plank or warrior variation will do
  4. utkatasana (chair pose)
  5. sirsasana (headstand) – always start at a wall. Refrain from inversions during menstruation.
playing in sirsasana

For optical health : Rub your palms together until warm and then gently press them against closed eyelids. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Release. Open your eyes and pick a point just in front of your face, perhaps allowing the eyes to cross. Next focus on a point farther from the face. Then focus on a wall or a nearby external object. Lastly focus on a spot that is far from you, preferably out a window. Retrace your focal points until your eyes come back to the original point in front of your nose. Next roll the eyes from corner to corner, starting in an upper corner. Roll through the periphery to the bottom, across to the opposite lower corner, up to the other top corner and then back to the start.

For cardiovascular health: Aries Yoga is all about generating heat in the body, what we call tapas in yoga. Tapas is translated as austerity, discipline or the burning of impurities. It is the third niyama in Patanjali’s prescribed duties and observances as outlined in the Yoga Sutras. Aries Yoga, like any good cardiovascular workout, is good for your heart, musculature and circulatory system. Try jumping, any kind of jumping at all. There are specific yogic jumping exercises performed on the hands which strengthen the back, or you can try jumping from down dog into an L-shape with hips over shoulders. You might also try an L at the wall on your hands or forearms, soles of the feet flat to the wall, legs and spine straight, body forming a 90 degree angle.