Spring Equinox and How It Affects Yoga

 Spring Equinox and How It Affects Yoga

Spring Equinox and How It Affects Yoga

What is Spring Equinox?

We all know that Spring Equinox is a magical time but there's a lot of mystery surrounding questions about Spring Equinox and how it affects yoga.   

Spring Equinox is one of the four major turning points that occur every year when the day and the night are the same length.  It always happens on either March 20 or March 21 when the sun moves across the celestial equator.   When this occurs, it marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

The word "equinox" derives from the Latin root words aequus (meaning equal) and nox (meaning night).  During the equinox, the axis of the earth reaches a specific location which positions the sun center is directly over the equator.  This means the sun is shining straight on the equator which means that the day and night are equal lengths internationally.  Over the following three months, the sun is going to move to a higher position gradually which will mean that we have longer days than nights. The Spring will last through June 20 or 21 when Summer Solstice comes.  

The Spring Equinox, sometimes known as the Vernal Equinox, is also known as the start of the zodiac year.  During Spring Equinox, we move from Pisces season into Aries season.  This is when the sun starts its trip through the 12 Zodiac signs once again.  This can be a special time for those of us who find meaning and significance in astrology.  

How Does Spring Equinox Affect Me?

Spring Equinox is a period of new beginnings and rebirth.  We are coming out of Winter, which is a time of hibernation, turning in and restoration.  The sun begins to warm the earth in places that have been cold and our souls seem to warm with the weather.  Trees and grass that have been dead all winter suddenly begin to renew with fresh life.  Prana (energy) is increasing all around us and there is a sense of rejuvenation and coming to life.  We hear the birds chirping with a bit more joy because even they feel hormonal changes that come with the Spring. 

For many people, Spring Equinox invites new beginnings.  It's a time to release all that is stagnant and empty in our lives and to embrace new concepts, relationships and opportunities.  There are physical and energetic changes that come with this change in Season that are experienced a little differently for everyone.  Spring brings renewed hope and new life with a big dose of freshness.  It's a definite time of transition as we leave the cold Winter behind and move into the warmth of Spring. 

Physical Renewal of Spring Equinox and How it Affects Yoga

The physical renewal that happens during Spring equinox can be very energizing.  I find that I'm able to breathe a little more deeply and stand a little taller.  My yoga practice is usually renewed with a fresh perspective during Spring Equinox, and I find myself with more energy on the mat.  Spring equinox yoga usually includes more Sun Salutations for me, with as many fun variations that I can dream.  The forward folds of Winter are replaced with gentle heart openers and more standing poses with cactus arm variations.

My physical body begins to crave different foods when Spring Equinox occurs.  The longing for warm soups and hot tea start to slow and I find myself eating all things green.  Fruits and smoothies become my desserts while salads and raw veggies work to increase my prana.  I start to ice my homemade chai rather than serving it while it's steamy.  Everything I put into my body feels a little lighter and more fresh, and it seems to bring me more life force energy.  

Energetic Renewal of Spring Equinox and How it Affects Yoga

Spring cleaning has always been a thing, and for good reason. There is a natural tendency to clean out dusty or cluttered physical spaces in our homes, cars and places of work.  In yoga philosophy, this is all part of Saucha.  We follow the 8-limb path of yoga from the Yoga Sutras.  The second of the 8 limbs is the Niyamas, or personal observances.  Saucha is our first Niyama and it involves cleanliness or purity.  Spring Equinox is the perfect time to focus on Saucha, not just of our physical spaces but also energetically.

Winter is a season of Svadhyaya (self-study) and a time for introspection.  During Spring Equinox, we find balance between the two seasons.  Spring is the season of air and as we are moving into the Spring, we want to honor and embrace all of our reflections from the Winter period while looking forward to this time of growth and change.  

Spring Equinox for Yoga Teachers

Spring Equinox also serves as a time of inspiration that brings a burst of creativity.  I find myself writing new yoga sequences spontaneously and creating new workshops.  For me, it's a time to find new continuing education opportunities and grow my own yoga practice.  I've spent the Winter observing and reflecting and have recognized the things that aren't working for me in my yoga practice and as a yoga teacher.  As the Spring arrives, I find myself ready to purge all of these things that are no longer serving me.  

This time of year invites us to take on new classes and encourages us to stop spending our time on classes that are not working for us.  It's a time to clean up our yoga teaching cues and tweak the ways we communicate with our students to improve their learning experiences.  This is the perfect time to start a new series of yoga classes or to begin planning outdoor yoga events.  It just feels right to look at our business plans and make small changes to better meet our needs near Spring Equinox.

Spring Equinox Yoga Sequence

During the Spring, our breath quality has improved and we are naturally more energized.  Heart openers feel great coming into this season.  Here is a quick Spring yoga sequence that I enjoy practicing:

Heart Opener With Two Blocks

Yoga Heart Opener With Blocks

Option to keep the legs straight or come into Supta Baddha Konasana legs

yoga heart opener with blocks

Knees to Chest 

Roll off of the blocks and come back onto the back.  Hug the knees into the chest to release the spine before rolling up to a seated position.

yoga knees to chest

Easy Pose (Sukhasana) With Cactus Arms

In this variation of easy pose, we open up into cactus arms and focus on the breath.  It's the perfect time to breathe in some fresh Spring air and invite new opportunities.

easy pose sukhasana with cactus arms

Seated Lateral Bend

Take a gentle side bend in each direction and try to notice the space along the side body as you breathe into it.

Gentle Seated Twist

Next we move into a gentle seated twist in both directions, squeezing out all that no longer serves us to make space for what is new and fresh.

Gentle Seated Twist


Enjoy a few cat/cow movements for spinal mobility.


Find your balance and engage your core as you come into sunbird on each side.

Modified Side Plank With Heart Opener Variation

There are lots of options in this posture.  You can bring a block under the hand if needed. 

Modified Side Plank With Heart Opener Side Variation

Low Lunge With Blocks

Use blocks to support you as you move into low lunge.

Low Lunge With Cactus Arms

Open the heart and take a big sip of air with cactus arms in low lunge.

Low Lunge With Cactus Arms

High Lunge With Cactus Arms

Tuck the back toe and rise into high lunge.  Use the blocks for support or bring the hands to the thigh for support if needed.
High lunge with cactus arms

Warrior I With Heart Opener Variation

Spin the back foot flat as you reach the arms behind the back and interlace the fingers.  Turn the gaze up.

Warrior I With Heart Opener Variation

Warrior II

Open up into Warrior II, with an option to flip the palms up to the sky for a chest opening sensation

Warrior II

Reverse Warrior With Wrist Hold

Flip the front palm to the sky and lean back as you reverse your warrior.  Try grabbing on to the front wrist with the back hand for a deeper opening.

Reverse Warrior With Wrist Hold

Triangle Pose With Block

Consider using a block to support you in triangle and think about moving into this new season with a sense of support, giving yourself whatever you need.

triangle with a block

Bound Triangle With a Block

Roll the top shoulder and chest open as you reach the top arm behind the back for a deeper heart opener.  Breathe into the heart as you imagine that you could inhale all the new possibilities the season brings.

bound triangle with a block


As you make your way down to the floor, nestle into pigeon pose and release the legs while keeping the heart open and the chest upright
Pigeon Pose Spring

Twisting Pigeon

Gently twist towards the bent knee and imagine that you are releasing all that you don't need during this time of transition.

Twisting Pigeon Spring Yoga

Seated Side Bend With One Leg Extended (Revolved Head to Knee Pose Variation)

From pigeon, shift to face the long edge of the mat and inhale to lengthen the spine as you bring the foot of the bent leg into the inner thigh of the extended leg.  On an exhale, take a gentle side bend over the extended leg.  

Gate Pose With Heart Opener Variation

From this variation of revolved head to knee pose, bring the hand of the top arm about a foot behind the hip as you shift onto the front shin and the back foot lifting the hips and extend the arm overhead to open the chest.  The gaze is up and back. 

Gate Pose Variation With Heart Opener

Reclined Twist

Come onto the back, hug the knees into the chest and take a gentle twist in each direction.

Reclined Twist


And finally.... Savasana.



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