Yoga Cleansing Routine from April Martucci
Celebrate the start of summer with this cleansing routine created by April Martucci, founder of FireDragonYoga™, a practice that is vigorous yet calming, athletic, and healing, all at once. FireDragonYoga™ is where east meets west. Participants are encouraged to explore unknown territories by pushing out of their comfort zone, but in a compassionate manner. This unique style of yoga involves technical aspects of anatomy and alignment combined with a thoughtful philosophical approach, making it a practice which is fully integrated: mind, body, and spirit.
Breathing exercise (pranayama) – Kabbalabati
Free yourself of toxins, impurities and left over debris from the winter season with this ‘kriya’ or cleansing technique as a way to start the summer season. Kabbalabati means ‘skull luster’ so it is as if you are shining your skull to squeaky clean. Besides ridding ourselves of actual impurities and stale gases, you can imagine that you’re pumping out emotional baggage and behaviors and thought patterns that don’t serve you anymore.
Sit on a yoga block or cushion in a comfortable cross-legged position or whatever position you can commit to in stillness. Fill up with breath – take a huge deep inhale filling up to your capacity, hold it for a second, then start to pump the breath out vigorously as if you are blowing it a tissue (keep a tissue nearby in case). Abdomen is snapping back and forth while the diaphragm moves in and up. Keep pumping for at least 50 counts. Repeat 3x.
Mantra for entering into the summer season
Before we enter into a new season, it’s a good idea to say goodbye to the previous chapter. Yoga reminds us that with every beginning there is an ending that precedes it. We celebrate endings. The Hindu deity who represents this is Lord Shiva.
Throughout the day, especially when things are not going your away, pause, take a deep full breath and say to yourself the mantra (which means mind protector), ‘om namah shivaya’. There is no exact translation for these words, but it is universally understood to mean, “we celebrate Lord Shiva who ends things in order to create,” or “I honor which I am capable of becoming.” Tapping into this mantra will help calm anxieties, allow letting go to occur and permit newness into our lives.
Strengthen the core for willpower (and bikini season!)
Navasana (boat pose) activates the spiritual center of willpower and personal strength. The pose also strengthens the core muscles like rectus abdomonis, illiopsoas, and the hip flexors.
Start seated on the floor with knees into the chest, toes touching the floor so that you are balancing on the sits bones. Hold on under the knees, keeping the chest open and upright. Raise legs into the air while continuing to remain on the sits bones. (Don’t collapse back – only raise the legs as high as you can without losing that connection of sits bones to the floor). Extend arms alongside the knees, framing the knees. Gaze at your toes. Take 5 deep full breathes. Repeat 5x.
April Martucci is a New Yorker with a singular understanding of movement and the connection between mind and body. Prior to becoming a full-time yogini, she danced with the Joffrey Ballet School, Eglevsky Ballet, and at the Martha Graham School. April graduated from the Swedish Institute of Massage Therapy and incorporates her experience from the Institute in her unique form of yoga and bodywork. April has taught a wide range of students from A-list celebrities to toddlers, artists, and high-profile professionals, including Harvey Keitel, Jessica Seinfeld, Mariel Hemingway, Lourdes Leon, Elizabeth Vargas, and Bethenny Frankel.
A faculty member at Kripalu Yoga & Meditation Center, she has been teaching globally for almost a decade, including at yoga conferences, international events, and over 60 retreats all over the world, including leading groups in Colombia, Miami, Mexico, Greece, Italy, Costa Rica to name a few. She draws from her movement and life experience, creating classes that are fun, dynamic, and challenging, both physically and mentally. April also created and leads a 200-hour Yoga Alliance recognized FireDragonYoga™ Teacher Training which incorporates several healing modalities in addition to yoga such as Reiki, Shiatsu, Thai massage, Qi Gong, and martial arts.
April teaches FireDragonYoga™ in New York at The Sports Club/LA-Upper East Side, Reebok Sports Club/NY, Life in Motion, and Preema Yoga Studio.