Sun Salutations

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.

Namaste.

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