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Cobra Warrior Goddess Flow to soothe Anxiety
and more healing movements for you and your little one
Happy Spring 🌸,
For this edit I picked three common Vata imbalances, namely:
Inability to focus
Anxiety & Nervousness
+ how to literally move out of these feelings and sensations using movement. Because Ayurveda and Yoga are sister sciences, I couldn’t help myself but work with Yoga Poses for this one. There’s no need to be a pro, nor to do a whole sequence, as these poses are a warm-up in themselves. My best advice though is to follow a couple of Yoga Classes, either locally or with Glo (that is the App I use myself and I am not even affiliated), before you start weaving together your own, or your little one’s, practice.
Oh, and as insinuated, these poses can be practised by anyone from 1 year of age until 101 and beyond.
To jump straight into it, scroll down until illustrations are popping up. But if you’re not in a rush, you’re welcome to hang around on this page for the whole thing. Thank you for reading me 💕.
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I am writing this whilst sitting in a wide lotus pose, with my right side stretched and my left side contracted because I just can’t help myself but lean into the right. My head, as a result, tilts to the left. It’s my second nature. If I don’t approach my posture with discipline, my spine moves in crooked ways. It doesn’t like to sit straight.
The spine, in Ayurveda, is linked to the nervous system. When someone (like me) is very flexible, has asymmetry in their spine, spinal stress or simply prefers movement and bendy shapes over sitting straight, there is a big chance that this person has a Vata Dosha. Maybe not in every aspect of their life, but the Vata Dosha is there.
*Quick refresher: Vata combines the Space and the Air element. The Dosha equals flexibility, bubbliness, creativity and the ability to make quick connections. Vata people like to move a lot: with their bodies, social environment and area of focus alike.
**When there is too much Vata, positive traits may replace themselves with the inability to focus, forgetfulness, a clouded mind or hyperactivity, cracking joints, anxiety, bloating and broken nights.
The good news is that Vata does not have to develop into that second set of traits. But, if it does, it simply means that the elements that make Vata (Space and Air), have accumulated. There is a simple way out, and counterbalance is the answer. The elements that oppose Air and Space are Earth and Water. You will also need a little bit of fire.
We can counterbalance by working with food, aroma, music, meditation, breath, touch and even a scrapbook. But for today the focus will be on movement.
Antidotes change with the season
Why movement? Because, as we speak, we are finding ourselves just in between late winter and early spring. This is the time of year that Kapha is on the rise. Kapha is a cosy, smooth, heavy Dosha that deepens bonds and brings fertility and sensuality. It’s also known to cause sluggishness (as well as congestion and allergies). Movement is a great antidote for the latter Kapha qualities.
So, without further ado, here are three ways to bring more Earth, Water and Fire into your body (and mind), using movement. The Yoga poses below are especially good for when there is an inability to focus, anxiety or a bloated tummy.
3 Vata imbalances + their healing movements
for you and your young 💖
Vata is very similar to young people and grown-ups alike. Although, if you’re planning to use the poses for yourself, you’ll probably want to do a longer sesh than the one you’d propose for your child. You can also skip right to the bottom of the page to find simple changes you can make to any Yoga Class you’re planning to take, as to make the class fit for your Vata Dosha (or Vata Day… We don’t always feel the same).
Disclaimer: If you haven’t tried Yoga before, it’s my best advice to follow a few local Yoga Classes before starting to build your own. Or, you can go on Yoga Glo (I am not affiliated, but believe they are the best online practice out there at a very affordable price) and try several classes at level 1. I love Ivorie Jenkins and Stephanie Snyder. Jo Tastula has mama + baby classes.
No. 1: Inability to Focus, Tree Pose
When your thoughts seem to race one thousand miles an hour and staying present is a challenge, try the tree pose. It doesn’t require much of a warming up, and you can try it in stages to get to your peek pose. I’d suggest always doing this pose with your hands in prayer at the heart. As soon as you raise your arms over your head, as instructed in some classes, you’re expanding your space element again. Which leads to more Vata.
Your little one can start with the lifting leg at the ankle, and slowly work their way up to the inner thigh. You can do it with her. Once you have your perfect tree, you can stay in the pose as long as you like.
There are a few things to focus on:
Your breath: breathing should be deep. When you notice a shallow breath, take a step back by lowering the lifting leg or by taking a break.
The toes of your standing leg should spread out for a steady stance. The kneecap needs to draw up for more leg control. Your thigh muscles should be drawn inwards, towards the centre of your body. This helps your hips to stay aligned.
Look out for hip alignment
Use your core muscles for more stability.
When you’re helping your child, it’s best to limit it to just two vocal points. Tell them to spread their toes and take deep breaths. You can hold their hips to ensure good alignment. Chances are they will intuitively use their leg muscles correctly when their hips are held in place.
P.S.: Always practice each pose on both sides.
No. 2: Anxiety and Nervousness, cobra warrior goddess sequence
Vata rules the nervous system. As a result, anyone with Vata in their Doshic Make-up will have the tendency to feel nervous or anxious sometimes. For little ones, these feelings often aren’t part of their go-to vocabulary, and it may take a few years to distinguish bodily sensations such as nausea, or pain in their tummy from emotionally induced sensations. Although nervousness may be easier to spot (and easier to express as it feels a lot like being afraid), anxiety can be a quiet, lingering one. Things to look out for are:
Trouble falling asleep, or waking up with bad dreams
Frequently using the bathroom
Cold, sweaty palms
Bringing up worries or negative thoughts a lot
Not eating well
Regular complaints about a funny tummy (especially when it happens at random times during the day, rather than, say, 30 minutes up to an hour after a meal or before passing bowel movements).
Fidgety or tense body language (i.e.: pulling own hair, picking lips, biting fingernails)
Although practising deep breaths (and alternate nostril breathing for bigger little ones and grown-ups) is a key practice for both of these feelings, the poses below are helpful, too. They don’t need much preparation, and they can be repeated in an intuitive flow to turn them into a short, dynamic sequence. Although grown-ups can best stay in each position for 5 - 10 breaths, younger ones can take as many breaths as is comfortable (just one breath for a toddler/preschooler, and then slowly work up to three breaths until they are ten years of age, after which you can continue to increase the count).
Up: a sequence of a child pose, moving into a half cobra pose and back to child pose. Can be repeated five up to twelve times. The half cobra can be extended into a full cobra with straight arms. Always make sure the tops of your feet stay on the ground, and have your legs engaged. The strength should come from your low back. To try if this is the case, you can do the pose without the help of your arms.
Down: Warrior I, Warrior II and Goddess Pose. I suggest starting with Mountain Pose (you know, that pose where you simply stand straight, with your toes spread out, strong legs and your palms facing forwards. Then, flow into Warrior I. Stay for as many breaths as age-appropriate (grown-ups can stay for as long as five minutes, although I do think that this sequence is best when kept mobile). Next, flow into Warrior II. Same story with the breathing. Then, you flow into a Goddes Pose. Really enjoy that low back stretch, because the Air Element tends to accumulate around the pelvis. So these stretches are truly yummy. If you want, you can bring your seat down to the floor for a Malasa (much more about that here). Now, you can choose. Either move on to the side from the goddess pose (so Warrior II and then Warrior I) or start over again from Mountain Pose for the sequence on your other side.
No. 3: Bloated tummy, supine pigeon
A bloated tummy is almost inescapable with a Vata Dosha. It’s the Air Element at play, which restricts the space in your body’s organs and spaces that aren’t always full, such as your bowels. This leads to friction, indigestion and pain. A low-back massage can be very effective in getting things moving again. Since an extra set of hands is not always available it’s a valuable skill to learn how you can treat your own back to massage, using movement. In the example below, I presume you’re using a floor for spine alignment. When you or your child has got the hang of alignment, you can do the same poses whilst sitting on a mat. In this case, the torso will be bending over the legs, with the legs stretched out, rather than the other way around.
The poses are best done in the sequence below, staying five deep breaths or up to five minutes in each pose. Fiy: at the top, you see a supine pigeon (left and right). Below you see a “knees to chest”. It’s important to keep your feet flexed in the supine pigeon.
Simple set of adaptions to make your Yoga classes best for your Dosha
Move through each sequence like you’re moving through warm water. Slowly and with awareness.
When you can, press your palms into the “earth” (or the floor) below you. For example, in poses where you’re sat on the floor or lying down. When standing, ground your big toe well into the earth.
Move from your “hara” to relieve your low back. Hara is your power centre, which is located between your navel and pubic bone.
Forward folds are good for you but don’t hang in there for more than three to five breaths. Rather than lengthy ones, you can choose to do more reps. Child pose makes for an exception: hang out there as long as you need.
Avoid inversions and the type of yoga that flies. You need to ground, rather than spend more time upside-down or in the air.
Signing off 🌹,