Beltane is a festival on May 1st celebrating abundance, fertility, and infinite potential. The word Beltane is a mix of Celtic and Gaelic, translating roughly to “Bright Fire.” Beltane honors the magical time between the height of spring and the beginning of summer. As a yoga teacher that celebrates Beltane, I was inspired to write a post for anyone who wants to connect to this beautiful time of year through yoga!
Yoga amazingly adapts many different circumstances, times of the year included. Here are some yoga practices to connect to the spirit of Beltane:
1) Sun Salutations / Surya Namaskar
Beltane is very much connected to the Sun. The Sun nourishes all life on the fertile earth. We are at a point in the Wheel of the Year where life is continuously blossoming all around us, thanks to the Sun. Practicing Sun Salutations celebrates the Sun, warms up the entire body, and prepares the body for deeper poses.
2) High Crescent Lunge / Ashta Chandrasana
One of my favorite standing poses. Ashta Chandrasana is great for energizing and activating the body while working on balance. It's also a subtle heart opener with the spine in extension, making it an excellent counterpose for deskasana - the pose we sit in at a desk ;)
3) Cow Face Pose Variation / Gomukhasana
Has your body been holding left over tension from the restful winter months? In winter, our bodies tend to be more still. We may have spent more time sitting where our backs were in flexion and our hips and shoulders became tight. Cow Face is an intense asana, but an excellent remedy for bringing life back into the hips, shoulders, and spine. This variation is beginner-friendly but still wonderful for the body. Breathe in deep, renewing breaths in this pose and let that spring/summer energy in!
4) Wild Thing / Camatkarasana
Wild Thing is a heart opener that challenges our balance while shifting our perspective up to new possibilities. On an energetic level, Wild Thing opens the Heart Chakra. An open heart is key to giving and receiving abundance, and Beltane is all about abundance. If you’re new to Wild Thing, I recommend practicing with a knee down to start.
4.) Breath of Fire / Kapalabhati
Sleepy? Unmotivated? Maybe it’s almost summer outside, but you’re still feeling like a sleepy bear coming out of hibernation. Skip the extra caffeine and try Breath of Fire. This pranayama practice will energize you while oxygenating your blood.
Sit or lie down with the spine straight. Good posture is key.
Take a full breath in and out.
Take a deep inhale into your belly.
From your belly, take forceful exhales and passive inhales through the nose. You can try this slower at first and then work up the pace. This may remind you of a dog panting. Practice and see how you feel!
5) Outdoor Meditation
The good weather we’re getting won’t last, so now is the time for outdoor meditation. A great way to connect to Beltane (and the Wheel of the Year in general) is to spend time outside. Outdoor meditation brings connection to the natural world around us and the internal world within us. Plus, there’s nothing better than opening your eyes after meditating and being surrounded by the beauty of nature.
I hope you love these practices and that they inspire your Beltane celebration. Practice with care and modify them as needed. I hope you all have a blessed Beltane!