The thing I love about Vinyasa yoga is that the movement tied to breath. My favorite classes start with a simple sun salutation, slowly adding postures and finally moving in to a true flow where you are moving from one asana to the next with your breath. Breathe out, chaturanga; breathe in, upward-facing dog; breathe out, downward-facing dog.
- To begin, you stand in mountain pose. I always take this opportunity as a time to pick a focal point to look at. Take a deep breath, steady yourself.
- Pressing hands together at heart center, bring your hands up over your head and look at your thumbs, inhale.
- Fold over your legs, tailbone up, hands next to feet. I like to open my arms wide as I fold over but I have also seen people keep their hands together, moving through heart center and straight to the ground. Exhale.
- Right foot back in to a lunge. Push right heel down, in to the ground. Lengthen spine and inhale. On the next round, you will even out by putting your left foot back in this asana. Inhale
- Bring your left foot back to meet your right – plank position. Some instructions say to hold your breath but depending on how slowly you are going (if this is your first cycle, you should be going pretty slowly) I like to breathe out and in again.
- Lower knees, chin and chest to the floor, exhale. As you flow faster through the sequence, this is where chaturanga will come in.
- Sweep your chest forward to low cobra, inhale. As the sequence builds this will become cobra and upward facing dog.
- Lift tailbone and press back in to upward-facing dog, exhale.
- Bring right foot forward, to the inside of your right hand, low lunge, inhale.
- Bring your left foot forward to meet it, forward fold, exhale.
- Raise our arms up over head, come to stand with your hands together in prayer. Look up at your thumbs, inhale.
- Exhale your hands back down to heart center, looking at that same focal point you chose in the beginning of the sequence.
I love the flow of this sequence – the breath, the repetition, it allows for true meditation in movement. I have only ever taken one class where we did sun salutations in silence. I should give it a shot in the morning when I first wake up. Just me and the sun.