Yin and Yang Yoga Poses with Essential Oils for Spring

Today looks gorgeous finally.  On my agenda for the afternoon is a walk in the park. I might even take a nap after that.  I feel like that's a little bit how everyone has been feeling.  Excited about the impending spring but a little tired and fizzled out as well.  It must be the weather.  Sunshine one day,  hail the next.  Gotta love NYC.  Spring energy corresponds in Chinese Medicine with the Liver and Gallbladder organs and meridians. The liver meridian runs up the inner legs and into the ribs while the gallbladder meridian runs across the sides of the head down the neck and shoulders and through the outer hips to the lateral foot.   The liver is the primary chemical factory of the body.  Any substance that cannot be broken down and used for energy ends up in the liver for detoxification.  It filters good things in and bad things out.  When it get overwhelmed you can tell.  The healthy way that energy and blood run through your body is smoothly. When the liver and gallbladder are overwhelmed,  the body's rhythm, gets choppy and uneven.  This is how muscle soreness or pain can occur.  You can also feel it mentally through nervous tension and irritability. The energy associated with gallbladder is decision making.  So you might feel a little spacey and out of focus. Springtime allergies don't make this any easier.  So take a moment and do some mental inventory. Are you a little edgy with all the change in the air?  Have your muscles been sore? There is a Yin style springtime yoga practice for you.  But never fear,  if you feel a little out of sorts and a little congested and your looking to boost your energy,   I have the Yang practice that will jump start your springtime detox.
If you feel a little sluggish,  maybe thinking of going on a cleanse,  drinking something green, or wringing your self out, a vinyasa yoga practice can be a helpful detoxfier.  You can begin with a simple sun or moon salutation to connect your movement with your breath.  Once you have found your rhythm,  come up softly into a warrior two pose.  Flowing back and up into a peaceful warrior to open up the ribcage while opening the hips but then come back down and settle into an EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE POSE.  While keeping your elbow on the thigh, rotate your heart open towards the sky and feel your ribcage and hips activate.  Be creative flowing through poses you like. Follow your instincts and do what feels good to you.  Maybe you come back into a warrior two pose,  or warrior three even and swing up into an EAGLE POSE.  This pose opens the hips and the ribs. Once balanced with one leg over the other and the elbows crossed at your chest,  take the forward bend.   Your elbows will move  into your chest and gentle stimulate for the organs for digestion.  You can come back into a wide stance and pass through prasarita padottanasa or WIDE LEGGED FORWARD FOLD to open up the gallbladder and liver meridians while rejuvenating the blood and the brain by inverting the heart over the head.  An oil to wear when you want focus and movement is Rosemary.

Rosemary oil is the best oil for moving Liver Qi.  It promotes Yang Energy and the circulation of blood and Qi.  Rosemary is good to wear first thing in the morning before facing the day as it works as a psychic protector.  It brings focus and clarity to the wearer and is great for studying and remembrance. For this reason,  it is associated with the third eye chakra and can be worn there.     But there is another side of Spring energy that must be taken into consideration.

Sometimes you can be fueled with too much Yang energy. A liver imbalance of this kind can cause you to be irritable,  get muscle and headaches and leave you feeling irritated or frustrated.  A vinyasa practice with standing poses that promote heat could make these symptoms worse and wearing an oil that promotes all that is not for you. You definitely wouldn't want to wear Rosemary oil if you feel agitated.   For you a relaxing Yin practice could be helpful in smoothing out erratic Qi that is causing irritability and pain.  SEATED SPINAL TWIST is a welcome alternative to eagle pose.  It is a twisting detoxifier as well as a hip opener but sitting on the earth is more grounding than a standing balance pose.  This pose can be paired with pigeon pose to stretch the inner and outer hips deeply.  Make sure you spend some extra time doing side and forward bends before settling down on your back.  Twist you legs knees down to one side and look over your opposite arm in other direction to twist. Switch sides and then settle into a long sweet HAPPY BABY pose.  At first glance this pose looks easy but if you hold the pose for 5 minutes or so and let your hips gradually open with gravity you will soon see how intense it can be.  Try and breathe through the first signs of discomfort and sit through it to see if it will pass.  When your done, bring your legs down and open your hips in a SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA.  This pose is restorative and relaxes the hips and opens the heart.

                                                                  In a Yang style practice, pranayama exercises that promote
circulation and heat like "Skull shining breath" is a welcome detoxifier.  In this style practice long, full breaths are advised to calm and relax the Qi.  Too much movement can bottleneck you Qi like a traffic jam and cause as much stagnation as Qi that doesn't have the supported energy to move.  Muscle pain is stuck Prana that for one reason or the other isn't moving.  While practicing a more relaxing Yin style of yoga,  Roman Chamomile oil should be worn.  It gently relaxes energy so that it can move more freely.  Like a crossing guard to relieve the congestion and get traffic back on track.  Chamomile also reduces inflammation in the body and can really help with springtime allergies. Chamomile is wonderful for treating headaches and has been known to treat asthma attacks as well if rubbed it on the solar plexus or on the wrist near the thumb.  It also eases nervous tension and insomnia.  During this time I have felt very much in need of both of these Yang and Yin practices and they most definitely can be used together. Another idea is the practice the sequencing in the Yang practice when the moon is waxing and movement should be celebrated while practicing the Yin style around the new moon when stillness is preferred. I hope these pose suggestions and oils help bring you into this wonderful season with ease and grace. They most definitely can be tried outside in the sun.