Hit the Mat and Don Your Costume
Masks and uncomfortable costumes are not necessary to incorporate Halloween into your yoga practice. Costumes are not always visible to the naked eye; the different roles that you play in your daily life are essentially types of masks. Although yoga practice removes all these superficial costumes and allows an inward focus, you can mentally assume new costumes through different asanas (poses) and meditation on what qualities these positions embody. In the spirit of Halloween, don a spiritual costume and add new asanas to your routine. As you hold each pose, meditate on what you become and how it connects to yourself as you transform into creatures of the land, sea and air.
Become as powerful as a lion in Simhasana, one of the few asanas that stretches the face and exercises the vocal cords. Even if you look like you belong in a straight jacket, this pose is beneficial for releasing stress and anger. Simhasana can translate in two different manners – lion pose and the powerful one pose. So, as you wear the costume of the lion, let go of negative feelings and find the power within.
1. Kneel on the mat and cross one foot over the other. Rest your perineum on the top heel.
2. Elongate the spine and press your hands with fingers spread like claws onto your knees.
3. Focus your eyes between your brows, inhale through the nose and audibly exhale as if roaring. As you “roar,” fully extend your tongue toward your chin.
4. Roar 3 to 4 times, then repeat with your ankles crossed in reverse.
Journey into the sea with Matsyasana. Feel the cool water engulf you and abandon yourself to the sensation. Don’t worry about coming up for air just yet since this relaxing asana opens the chest and stimulates the respiratory system, enabling you to metaphorically breathe with ease. Try this in water outside of practice, and it is rumored that you will float like a fish.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Lift your pelvis up and place hands palms down beneath your buttocks. Lower your pelvis and extend your legs.
2. Inhale and use your forearms and legs to lift your chest and head into a bend. Press your shoulder blades together. The crown of your head should touch the mat, but do not use the head to lift, as this could put undue strain on your neck. Breathe naturally for 20 to 30 seconds.
3. Exhale and lower your back to the floor.
Ascend out of the water, past the earth and into the sky as an eagle. Garudasana is an intermediate pose and may be beyond a beginner’s capability, so if you become uncomfortable, stop. If you have trouble balancing, you can use a wall to support your back. This asana will help to achieve physical and emotional balance while strengthening the ankles and calves.
1. Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), standing with your feet shoulder length apart and arms at your side. Feel your feet ground you.
2. Bend your knees slightly, lift your left leg over your right thigh and hook your left foot on the back of your right calf.
3. Stretch your arms out in front of you, widening the space between your shoulder blades. Cross your right arm over the left and rest your right elbow inside the crook of your right arm.
4. Cross your forearms and press your palms together in front of your face. Breathe naturally and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Release back into Tadasana and repeat in reverse.