3 poses from ❄🌨☃ winter to spring ⛅🌱🌦

After more or less 3 months cocooning, staying warm inside the house, enjoying the fire places (or central heaters nowadays), nurturing the body with more heavy food to keep it warm and give energy to stay healthy, a new season is about to start: spring. The meteorological spring starts at March 1, the Western calendar says it starts at March 21.

In the first days of Spring, we see how everything is awakening from a long deep sleep. It is the time to be active and to be awake. Nature is waking up as the days lengthen, plants and flowers start to blossom and the colour green is everywhere. The colours and life around make the spirit feel full, our appetite is less, or at least, we start to eat lighter food, food that is easier to digest. It is the time to cleanse, fast and allow this new beginning of life to start from a clean space. As we clean, we make room (the element Space) for new visions, for new opportunities and new plans to come through without much effort. The energy is expanding and is the beginning of Yang energy.

‼⚠Warning/Disclaimer⚠‼
Be very careful by practicing theses poses, especially when you have none or little experience in yoga and/or sports. If you feel any pain during a pose, back off, take some rest or even stop doing the particular exercise. Respect your body, respect your limits 🙏🏻🧘‍♂🧘🏻‍♀🙏🏻. If you still experience pain after these poses, please consult your GP. ~~littlemissyoga~~ is not responsible for any physical injuries or mental issues.

1. Uttanasana / Standing forward fold
😊😊Benefits: Opens the back of the body, stretches the hamstrings, hips and calves. It lengthens the spine, it creates more space on the back of the body. Furthermore, this pose provides strength to your thighs and knees. Regular practice relieves stiffness in your spine, neck and back.

  • Step 1: Tuck your toes and push into both feet, folding evenly over your legs (picture 1). Activate your abdomen (navel towards spine) to have a better and steadier foundation.
  • Step 2: Bend your knees as much as needed (picture 2), in favour of lengthening the spine and releasing tension in the neck. You can also use blocks (or a thick book/pillow) to put your hands on or cuff your elbows with the opposite hands (picture 3).
  • Step 3: Breathe towards the belly, hold as long as you want.
  • Step 4: To get out of the pose: Bend your knees deeper, let your arms hang loose, tuck your chin, press a little harder in all 4 corners of your feet and roll yourself up to standing, stacking the vertebras one by one. Last part is to lift your chin.
  • Step 5: Take a few moments to observe your body and mind, arms resting alongside the body.

2. Utthan pristhasana / Lizard lunge
😊😊Benefits: Opens and stretches the hips flexors and groins, it even creates some flexibility in the lower back. It strengthens the thigh muscles of the front leg and it opens the chest and neck. With opening up the hips it is possible that you release emotions, if this is happening, just let it be 😊. This pose is a good preparation for practicing hanomanasana (full splits).

  • Step 1: Come on your hands and knees, hands shoulder width, wrists in line with shoulders; knees hip width, knees in line with hips.
  • Step 2: Step your right foot forward, on the outside of your right hand. You can stay on your hands (picture 1) or lower down on the fore arms (picture 2), as long as your hips descend lower than your heart.
  • Step 3: Keep your front knee in line with the ankle and allow your weight to move to the outer edge of the front foot (picture 3). You can even lower down on the fore arms (picture 4), this is opening the hips even more.
  • Step 4: Hold for 5 breathes or more as long as you like before you change legs.
  • Note:    If you hold this pose for a few minutes (like a Yin-pose), you can take a counterpose before changing legs, for example ardha hanoman/half splits, all fours (with hip circles) or even downward facing dog (with hip circles). Most important is to listen to your body.
  • Step 5: After you have done both sides, you can sit down in Thunderbolt (your bump on your heels) or come into balasana /(wide legged) child’s pose.

3. Ustrasana / Camel pose
😊😊 Benefits: Opens up and stretches the chest, abdomen, quadriceps and hip flexors. It improves the spinal flexibility and loosens up the vertebrate. Also, it strengthens the shoulders, back muscles, thighs and arms. It even can reduce fat on the thighs (after doing this pose quite often) and it improves your posture.

  • Step 1: Come to an upright kneeling position, knees hip width distance. You can either tuck your toes or keep them pointed (flat on the floor).
  • Step 2: Keep your hips vertical of the knees, placing the hands either at the lower back for support (picture 1), or one or two hands on the heels (picture 2 & 3), lift your heart into Ustrasana. You can keep the head up or drop it down for opening up the throat (picture 4).
  • Step 3: Keep squeezing the inner thighs toward the midline, extend the sacrum downward toward the knees.
  • Step 4: Try to hold for around five breaths in this pose.
  • Step 5: Come out of the pose by squeezing the legs together and letting the heart lead you up. If you had your head down, you first lift the neck and head to an upright position. Then slowly sit down in Thunderbolt (sitting on your heels) or in balasana/(wide legged) child’s pose.

You can stay in balasana (child’s pose) after you have finished these 3 poses, to calm down the body and relax the breath. Whenever you are ready to come out of it, feel free to do so. And enjoy the rest of the day or have a good sleep 😊.

I hope you have enjoyed these 3 poses and that you feel more energized and opened up, ready for facing spring 😊. If you like, you can share your experiences with me 😊.

💜💚 With love 💜💚        
littlemissyoga                                       

        

Inspirational source:
https://chopra.com/articles/11-yoga-poses-and-a-meditation-for-transitioning-from-winter-to-spring?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=180403-April-Newsletter&utm_campaign=Newsletter201843

Yoga butt?!

Yeah, it looks like I have a yoga butt! A what?? Is that a well-trained butt? Yes and no… over-trained, over-stretched, over-done and now it hurts. How is that possible? I was asking the same question. I trained a lot before, High Intensity Classes, Yoga, Body Balance. Nothing wrong with that. Now I am training every day, and teaching 7 classes a week. Still nothing wrong with that, I think. But I have probably done too much, too intense and not enough recovery and I already had a hamstring injury… What does it mean for now? Less forward folds, more glute-strengthening exercises instead of stretching and lengthening. It will take time, but it will be ok. I have to back off, because I will start teaching in Sri Lanka after I am finished in Laos, 3 days break only.

What asanas can I do? Inversions 😉, arm balances and even postures in which I use my glutes and hamstrings, but with modifications (this is also good for me, a different point of view of teaching the asanas). And more abs-training, but that’s for the students whehehe. And, a massage, which I had Monday, 90 minutes Lao-massage with some Lao Tigerbalm. A Lao-massage looks like a Thai massage, but less strong. I like it (well, when she is squeezing and bending me maybe a little less 😉).

Besides of my yoga butt, I still enjoy my stay in Vang Vieng. I discovered that I don’t want to go out to a restaurant for having (the same) dinner (mostly white rice and something, noodles, padthai), so I have a new addiction: sandwiches (take away or eat now is the standard question). The baguettes here are lovely and we have found our ‘Sandwich Street’. And they have avocado! Something we don’t get in the hotel, so that’s why it’s lovely to eat it now and then. A very warm welcome to the common things. Mango-sticky rice and sometimes a piece of the vegan hazelnut-chocolate pie are very good substitutes for dinner as well!

I am here for about 6 weeks and everyday I explore something new. You know, toddlers or very young kids always see each day as a new one, everything for the first time. It looks like I am doing that as wel.l.. not always though. I realise how special everything is. That we should be grateful for every little thing. For all what Mother Nature gives to us, without any expectations to get something in return (except for destroying her…). Every day we have a beautiful sunrise, after a freaking cold night. 9 degrees, no heater, sometimes windows can’t be closed properly… but hey, I can feel the sensation of the cold wind, I become aware of it, I just put on extra clothes to protect myself from the cold. It brings people literarily closer to each other 😊.

People in Laos are amazing and they keep on surprising me. Sometimes they are so friendly, sometimes so lazy, and I think they are the worst salesmen I have ever seen. Every evening at 5pm the Night Market starts, clothes, gadgets, food, bags and so on. In my first week I looked into some shops and the men or mainly women didn’t pay any attention to me… watching something on their phone was more important. Once, I even got the look: don’t bother me, I am watching the last episode of my favourite series, you can come back tomorrow. Sounds crazy tho? They don’t want to sell things! And it’s their job, to make money, to feed their kids (who are always there, bunches of babies and toddlers, so cute btw 😊 ). Now, because it is more crowded, they are more pro-active in trying to sell their stuff, especially to Korean and Chinese people. I will buy a Laos-shirt later on, because it has my favourite flower on it (Frangipangi/Cempaka). And being a little bit of a tourist is good for the economy, isn’t it 😉.

We have a X-mas tree in our hotel! I think I will set up a X-mas class, X-mas Vrkasana (tree-pose), Reindeer pose in Virabadrasana 2 (Warrior 2). Deer pose in Yin becomes Reindeer pose, table top will be a side table which is needed for all the presents, and with Kapalabathi (breating exercise) we imagine the big belly of Santa Claus, expanding on the inhale and flatten on the exhale. Maybe we can even imitate the sounds of reindeers in some other breathing exercises 😉. Mmm.. all mentioned poses are good for strengthening the glutes as well 😊.

Ok… enough about yoga. What have I done so far, when I was not teaching? I hiked with Raul to Tham Poukham Cave and Viewpoint Nam Xay, we did kayaking and I visited him in Vientiane (capital of Laos) before he went off to Thailand. I hiked to the 2 viewpoints of Pha Ngern. My gosh, my legs ached a lot after each hike!! I did something for the website, created a new monthly schedule and together with the other teachers spread them out though Vang Vieng. I lay at the pool, had a little swim, read a book, listened to my listening books on my phone, went to the temples, just walked around in the nature, did a small hike with Fara (a volunteer from Spain, really good company), had 2 Lao-massages, prepared new classes and practiced them, I had some chit-chat with the staff here (most of them are really nice). I am always a bit crazy, the cleaning ladies work their ass off, they are always smiling! I once took over the mob and started to sing: I want to break free, I want to break free (for the youngsters: this is a famous song of Queen). They were all laughing at me. And another time, when they lay the tables for breakfast I grabbed a white table cloth, put it over my head and pretended I was a ghost. It resulted in a blue and a white ghost in the breakfast hall 😉. And two completely ruined table clothes, wrinkled all over 😉. But we had fun. And who cares, in the morning, all the guests are sleepy anyway. Oh, and the lady who is making the eggs and pancakes always looks so… serious, almost grumpy. But now, after 6 weeks, she is smiling when I come in. Once, I was the only one having breakfast (9.30am); I was in a singing mood, so I started to sing: you are the dancing queen (Abba 😉) including a dance. The staff thought one split second: she is really nuts, but then, suddenly, everyone smiled and looked happier (I know I can’t sing, but anyway, when I feel like it, I sing, no glass to break in here anyway 😉). Maybe I can start to set up a flash mob 😉! Sometimes I just do nothing, just sit and stare to the mountains, the hot air balloons, listen to the noise of the longtail boats and the karaoke-singing Koreans in their kayak. And I smile. Because it is lovely to see all of this.

Watching sunset during the outdoor class, sometimes watching sunrise during my outdoor practice. Watching people working hard for a bit money and thinking: my life is really good! Of course, I have struggles and some issues, but ain’t that just the way we learn? Really, if you have never been to Laos, I can highly recommend it (as a vegan it is harder to travel, but you will find your way, however also the bottom of your purse will appear quicker 😉). Ok, 2 months in Vang Vieng will be boring if you’re not working, but Laos is a large country, with beautiful nature everywhere and not yet many tourists. The visa on arrival costs $35 (European passports), available at all international airports. I thought Indonesia was my #1 country but Laos has beaten it! What I also noticed: Lao men are quite handsome and Lao kids and babies are really adorable. I am already thinking of adopting a baby 😉. For the party poopers: Free whiskey is available in many places, you can start your whisky tour at 5pm up to 10pm, in different hostels and bars. Alcohol is normal, abuse of the boose as well (people drown doing tubing…). And mushroom pizzas, weed, hash, all available. And for the Voices of Laos – Karaoke bars!

I think this post is long enough to get you through the long winter nights in Europe 😊. If you have any comments, you can post them. Or send me an email, What’s app message. I can’t promise I will reply soon, but I will read it anyway.  For the ones who are really curious, check http://yogainvangvieng.com/ (and you will find me there in some pictures 😊).

With love,
littlemissyoga

The Big Adventure – Kick off

Here I am, my first blog on my own website. Sharing my stories, adventures, advice about teaching yoga, travelling, yoga & travelling and how to eat vegan (or in some cases vegetarian) all over the world.

I am excited to share my stories, I hope you will also like my blogs and in the future I will write some articles about yoga, travelling and food (vegan/vegetarian). It’s my first time I am writing a public blog, please be gentle with your comments ;). Practice makes perfect, isn’t it :). Feel free to share your experiences and tips about setting up blogs and/or websites with me, together we can make the difference.

A note to everyone: if there is something in my post that upsets you or you feel discriminated/offended/humililated by, please let me know. By no means I have the intention to do so, so my apologies if that accidentallly happens.