Hot cocoa by the fireplace is not the only way to stay warm in the winter. Your Agni will stay strong if you shift your yoga practice towards postures that heat up and stimulate the fire. Agni, or the digestive fire, is vital to digest food and nutrients and keep passion, discipline, and willpower alive.
The fire element transforms energy from one form to another. Just like that, the fire in you processes events, emotions, and experiences. This keeps the drive to live fully conscious, forward-moving, and strong. These yoga poses (hatha yoga) help support this process by heating your body, stimulating your digestive power, and strengthening your ability to focus and stay sharp.
Child’s pose with belly compression
These two variations of Child’s Pose can help you bring awareness to your belly and breathe.
- Begin by slipping your arms back and forth between your knees so that your hands are between your ankles.
- Placing your forehead on the ground, tuck your neck slightly and allow you to breathe freely through your nose.
- Deepen your breathing down to your belly.
- Next, extend your arms outwards to your shins and move into a classic pose version.
- You can either cup your heels from the outside or flip your wrists so that you cup them from the inside.
- Allow your belly to press onto your thighs to create some abdominal compression. Slide a block under your forehead if your head is not touching the ground while doing this pose.
Sun Salutations with Ujjayi breath
Move through your Sun Salutations. Now, focus on the breath. This will cause a constriction at the back of your throat. A few rounds of Surya Namaskar and this Ujjayi breathe will raise your body temperature, increase blood flow, and lighten the fire. Honour the sun by reaching up toward the sky and bowing towards yourself. The sequence can be further enhanced by including the visualization of the sun.
Utkatasana (Fierce Pose)
Utkatasana will get you moving and increase your inner heat if you have only a few minutes. It’s amazing what 5-10 deep breaths of this pose can do for your inner fire.
- Your big toe mounds should be brought to the surface with a little space between your heels. This will keep your legs parallel.
- As if you were sitting in a chair, squeeze your knees towards one another.
- If you have any shoulder restrictions, extend your arms straight ahead at shoulder height or along with your ears.
- To fire up your abdominal muscles, lift the tailbone towards the floor.
- Continue the Ujjayi breathing in and out through the nose. Imagine your body like a lightning bolt and let the powerful imagery flow through your system.
The transition from four to two limbs can be difficult. It requires focus, balance, and strength. To hold the pose together, you need a strong and active centre.
- As if you were reaching for someone’s hand, raise one arm from your knees and extend the other.
- Try to extend the opposite leg back and find a straight line between your raised arm and lower leg. Continue to connect with your core by cradling your limbs into their sockets.
- You can breathe easily and fully while remaining still for five rounds on each side.
- Try it again with the same leg and arm raised if you need more challenge.
Variations of Downward Dogs
These two versions of the Downward-Facing Dog challenge balance and require extra finesse.
The twisted version of this article:
- It is good to adopt a shorter, more open stance than usual.
- With your thumb facing upward, thread your right arm from your left to your left leg.
- Use your arm strength and pull your chest forward. Next, look towards the ceiling with your left armpit.
- Next, repeat the process on the second side.
The three-legged dog
- One leg at a time, lift one leg as high as possible without letting your hips open to the side.
- Keep your toes pointed down, and keep your outer hip rolled down.
- Although it can be tempting to lift your leg with momentum, you should move slowly and hold the lifted leg for at least five to seven deep breaths.
- Another option is to raise and lower your heel a few more times while keeping the elevated leg straight.
Lunge Twist Progression with Jump Switch
This series of lunge twists will increase your stamina and promote compression and detoxification in your internal organs.
- Start in Down Dog by moving your right foot forward into a dynamic lunge. Next, lift your left hand to the ceiling.
- So your spine is in the right direction, lean back.
- Jump to the next side and then repeat. To complete the second round, stand straight up and extend your arms to pray position. Cross your left elbow over the other knee.
- Press down with your bottom elbow and draw the belly in a while, twisting from the heart space.
- Inhale and release your hands onto the floor. Then jump to the next side. Start with the prayer hands version. Cross your armpit around your thigh instead of just the elbow. This will give you a deeper twist.
- Spread your arms out and bring the bottom fingertips towards the earth. Then, place the palm on the palm of the top arm, next to the ear.
- It will be harder to breathe deeply in this position because your lungs are compressed. However, you can try to breathe evenly and smoothly for a few rounds.
- Jump switch to the second side again to complete the series.
Vashistasana and Leg Lifts
This strong-arm balance is both beautiful and bold. Relying on the fiery solar plexus to make this pose feel more powerful and less heavy will help reduce hip pain.
- Deepen your breath and connect to your centre.
- Pass through the plank position (top end of a pushup) and balance on your outer edge with a flat palm and your bottom foot.
- Keep your hips elevated and your bottom shoulder in the back of your body.
- Keep your 10 toes pointed in line with your naval. Lift your top leg about 18 inches and then gently lower it.
- Repeat this process three to five more times, and then release the plank gently to allow you to go to the second side.