dear hip tranquil chick . . .

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Q: what poses do you recommend to deal with grief or other intense emotions?

A: Ahhhh, another fabulous question. I’ve heard from quite a few of you recently that the new spring season is encouraging all sorts of emotional spring cleaning. I find working with hip poses (my absolute FAVORITE piece of the vinyasa pie) to be sooo therapeutic. All of us have “those” days when we experience a big loss or disappointment and just getting out of bed can be a struggle. Look no further than your yoga mat for emotional release. One of my favorite sequences is below:

1. Begin in child’s pose (balasana) with big toes together and knees open, drop the belly and chest in between your knees, connect with your breath and soften into this soothing pose.

2. Slowly rise to table pose, begin making circles with the torso by taking the hips to the right, flowing forward into cobra (bhujangasana), and taking the hips to the left and back to child’s. Repeat a few times and work out all the kinks.

3. Return to table pose, curl your toes under and lift your hips to downward facing dog (adho muka svanasana), an inverted “V.”

4. Inhale and lift your right leg to a down dog split.

5. Exhale and place your right foot in between your hands to a lunge, gently rock back and forth as you awaken the hips.

6. Drop your left knee, and pull your hips back as you straighten the right leg to half splits (ardha hanumanasana).

7. Return to your lunge and step back with the right leg to downward facing dog (adho muka svanasana).

8. Gently place the right knee in between your hands for pigeon pose (eka pada rajakapotasana), fold forward gently and breathe. Slowly bring the hands back to your body as your torso lifts.

9. Sweep the left leg around, placing the left foot to the outside of the right knee for a seated twist (ardha matsyendrasana). Extend the right arm up and place the right elbow onto your left knee as you gaze lovingly over your left shoulder. Inhale as you extend, and exhale as you twist deeper. Return to the center and feel the difference between both sides.

10. Place your left shin on top of your right shin, and gently fold forward into double pigeon (dwi pada rajakapotasana).

11. Return to table pose circles, and repeat the series on your left side.

12. End in yogic squat (malasana). Close your eyes, tune into your 3-part breath, and savor a sense of release washing over the body.