Hatha Yoga Poses That Will Ignite Your Spirit
There are times in our life, in our hatha yoga poses, that we all start feeling a little disconnected from our higher self, consciousness, or spirit. It doesn’t matter who you are, how long you’ve been doing yoga, or how much “work” you’ve done for yourself, sometimes the internal fire just begins to lose its willingness to burn.
Just as it is with a literal fire, you can pile logs on top of logs, giving the fire fodder and inspiration to burn, but it doesn’t matter how much material you put in the pile. If the fire has gone out and the flame has reduced to a mound of smouldering coals, the logs will sit unburned until something gets it going again.
And just as it is with a literal fire, a little oxygen, energy, a burst of breath, can be just what’s needed to turn a cold mound of wood or a disconnected spirit into a roaring inferno.
This short hatha yoga sequence can be practiced in as little as 15 minutes (preferably in the morning) and will deliver a burst of energy to fuel your spirit.
This pranayama practice, sometimes called “Breath of Fire,” is the best breathwork for reviving a stagnant spirit. It stirs things up in your belly and gets the energy moving up and out of your core.
Hatha Yoga Poses: Pranayama- Kapalabhati
This yoga pose helps clear your breath passages and your mind, gets rid of excess carbon dioxide and can help alleviate the symptoms of depression. As you do this exercise, feel for the energy you can create quickly and independently.
- Sitting tall, either cross legged or on your heels, take three deep energizing breaths into your upper chest. Feel for your upper ribs expanding.
- On your last exhale, open your mouth and breathe all of the air out.
- Close your mouth. Take a deep inhale through your nose.
- Begin to pulse your belly in and out, allowing your belly to contract and relax. The breath will automatically pulse in and out of your nose. Focus on compressing the belly and releasing to allow the inhale to happen naturally.
- Do a round of 50 pulses. Take three deep breaths.
- (optional) Do a second round of 50 pulses or as many as it takes to feel awake and focused.
- If you’ve never done Kapalabhati, check out this video for a demonstration.
Yoga posr named seated twists, can help remove physiological and energetic blockages in the spine. In hatha yoga, seated twists can activate and/or drain your third chakra which is physically located at the solar plexus.
The solar plexus is a fascinating anatomical and energetic space in the body. Located in the “pit of the stomach”, the solar plexus is composed of the same type of grey and white matter that the brain is made out of. So when you get a gut feeling about something, it may be because this secondary brain has picked up on some information that your primary brain missed while it was too busy thinking.
In order to get the most out of this pose, remember to stay rooted in your sit bones and initiate the twist from the middle of your spine instead of your low back or sacrum.
- Sitting cross legged or in lotus pose. Take a deep inhale, lengthening the crown of the head towards the ceiling.
- Exhale: Place right hand on left knee, reach the left hand back and place it flat on the floor behind your rear. Feel for length in your neck. Pull low belly in.
- Inhale: Take the breath into your solar plexus (think mid-ribs).
- Exhale: Deepen into the twist.
- Do five breaths on each side.
Dolphin with Lifted Leg Variations
When you’re feeling disconnected and uninspired, spending some time in dolphin can bring new energy and creativity into your practice and your life. Practicing this pose with the optional leg up variations can intensify the inversion leaving you feeling empowered and strong.
Tip: Get the proper shoulder distance by grasping the middle of your upper biceps with both hands. Leave the elbows where they are and place your hands parallel or clasp the hands together if you’re neck or shoulder tweaky.
- Inhale: Move onto your hands and knees.
- Exhale: Lower onto your elbows (see tip for proper shoulder alignment).
- Inhale: Take the breath into your upper back. Relax your neck.
- Exhale: Curl the toes under and lift your knees off of the floor. Keeping your knees bent, reach your tailbone up towards the ceiling and turn on the power of your legs.
- Take five breaths in Dolphin.
- Inhale: Reach your right leg up and back.
- Exhale: Shift the weight out of your shoulders and lengthen the side body while keeping your shoulders steady and neck relaxed.
- Take 3-5 breaths on each side.
- Lower your left leg down and take three breaths in Dolphin.
- Come to hands and knees and either begin sun salutations (optional) or press your sit bones toward your heels and lower into Child’s Pose (Embryo Variation).
Sun Salutations (optional)
Now would be a great time to get really fired up by practicing some sun salutations. If you have some time, do 5-10 rounds of suns before cooling down. If you’ve never practiced sun salutations, check out this video for a quick tutorial.
Child’s Pose (Embryo Variation)
This child’s pose variation is excellent for accessing and bringing energy to the spine and the back of the solar plexus. It’s also incredible for relieving the shoulder and neck tension that can block the energy traveling from your heart to your mind.
Even though this pose is restorative, don’t check out. Use this pose as a way to cool down. Feel for getting the breath into the back body, and circulate the energy that you’ve just created in the other poses.
- Inhale: From table top position, take a deep breath that runs the length of your spine.
- Exhale: Press your sit bones back to your heels, while reaching your chest forward. Lower the chest to the thighs, rest your forehead on the floor (or a block/pillow/bolster for more support). Allow your arms to drape down to the floor feeling for an opening in your upper back. Let your hands rest, palm side up, by your feet.
- Inhale: Take the breath into your low back, mid back, then upper back; filling up completely.
- Exhale: Release any tension in the back body. Relax the neck, the face, the jaw and the forehead.
- Take ten breaths in this Child’s Pose variation.
- Inhale: Lay flat on your back.
- Exhale: Get comfortable and completely relax every muscle in your body.
- Inhale: Scan your body from your toes to the crown of your head and feel for any tension you may be holding onto.
- Exhale: Feel for the sensation and energy that you created during this practice.
- Relax and breathe naturally, continuing to feel for a connection to your spirit. Practice being fully conscious and aware without struggling to change anything in your body or mind.
- Stay in Savasana for 5-10 minutes.
Practicing this short hatha yoga sequence daily for a week will help you recharge your spirit, connect to your innate consciousness and be open to inspiration in its many forms.
What did you feel during this practice? Were there any major energetic or physical shifts?
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