Yoga Cheat Sheet: "Spring Clean" Your Body and Mind

January and the New Year have always been about making resolutions, and the arrival of Spring is no different. Spring is and has always been about renewal, rebirth, and welcoming the new - and we can't do that unless we create space by removing the old, the negative, the stagnant... hence the phrase "Spring Cleaning." And it's more than just cleaning house - this is a time to clean our bodies and minds as well.

We only have a certain amount of space in our minds, hearts, and even our schedules. When we spend our time thinking, doing and reacting to things in the past or even anticipating the future, we are not focusing on the present. Think of your mind the same way we think of our closets. There is a common rule of thumb that for every one new item of clothing you buy, you donate two items. It's even harder to follow this rule when it comes to commitments - it's hard to say "no" and often times you'll find yourself juggling a million commitments at one time. This approach, although it keeps you busy, does not allow you any time just "being." For every new activity we take on, we must leave a few behind.

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

The asana (physical) yoga practice helps us create space in our bodies and minds. These little changes on the mat create a larger transformation off the mat. And yes, these changes require an open mind, for you might not know what will be released while on the mat - maybe during pigeon pose, triangle pose (trikonasana) and especially while forward bending (paschimottanasana). Areas of tension need to be let go of before actual change can occur. It's also important to mention that there are days when we feel like we have moved back a few steps. But once we have awareness, we can never truly move backwards. This awareness opens doors for us to meet new people, create new opportunities and enjoy new experiences.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

There is a great mindful mediation technique that allows for a release of old thoughts. Lay down in savasana (corpse pose) and turn your focus inward. Breathe through the body, starting with the toes and ending up at the crown of the head, releasing each area. Every time a thought enters your mind, even if it's negative, acknowledge it, accept it and then release it. If you begin to think about how you messed up at work or how you are never going to get that promotion, acknowledge the thought, accept how you are feeling but then release it and move on. If you mind wanders to your ex-boyfriend and you begin to think about how you may never find love again, acknowledge the thought, accept how you are feeling but then release the thought and move on. The more we are hard on ourselves and try and change the way we are feeling, the harder it becomes to really move forward. We become fixated.

You will be surprised at how many new opportunities come your way once you let go of old thoughts that are only dragging you down making you live in the past. And remember, it's in the space that we find during the moments when we are alone that real change happens.

Jill Snowden is the BounceBack Yoga Expert. She is a yoga instructor, founder of restore + flow at The James Corbett Spa and a member of Yoga Alliance. She is a graduate of the Laughing Lotus College of Yoga. Jill's signature restore + flow class was featured on YogaCity as one of New York's best yoga classes.

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