Looking for a great way to start the day? Try Sun Salutations. Greet the day with this 5-minute body-strengthener and mind-release:
- Start by standing in Mountain pose (Tadasana), arms by your side, palms facing forward and spine long and tall. Your feet will be parallel to each other and beneath your hips.
- Bring your hands to prayer at your heart, and set an intention for your practice and your day.
- Inhale – Raise your arms to the sky, palms still facing forward and move into a standing backbend, hips still over your feet and pushing through your upper back to look up towards the sky. You will feel a gentle stretch in your lumbar, thoracic spine, and up through your neck.
- Exhale – Swan dive forward to touch your shins (or toes). Releasing your lower back in a gentle forward bend. If your hamstrings are tight or you feel the need to slightly bend your knees, do so.
- Inhale – Push up from your heart, looking out over the tip of your nose with a flat back. Your torso will be at a ninety degree angle from your lower body. Your hands will rest on your shins, knees, or thighs, arms remaining long and straight.
- Exhale – Jump your feet back and walk your hands forward into Plank. Your entire body will be active, your navel pushing in and up into the spine, seat tucked. Your palms should be pressing into the earth through your shoulders and the balls of your feet through your legs. Your gaze will be soft, your neck in line with your back.
- Inhale- Lower your body slowly to the ground (like a pushup, but slower), until your chest, torso, and legs come to rest on the floor. This is Chatturanga.
- Exhale – With your hands still beneath your shoulders, push your chest up and forward to look at the sky in Cobra.
- Inhale – Lower into Crocodile posture, placing your arms together above your head, lying flat on your belly. Extend your arms and legs away from your body feeling the stretch.
- Exhale – Rock your body back into childs pose, arms long away from your body. Then move your arms alongside your body for an opposite stretch.
- Take a few breaths here – Lower your heels toward the ground and stretch your seat toward the sky into Downward-facing Dog, feeling your belly become soft. Push your tailbone up even higher with arms long and active, pressing your navel in and up into your spine. When you are deep into the pose, your face and jaw will begin to relax and you will feel a much deeper breath into your lungs and belly. To deepen your pose, bend your knees, root back through th thighs and send your seat higher, pressing into your shoulders and aligning your ears between your upper arms.
- When you are ready, walk your hands and feet in, and slowly roll back up to standing, bringing your palms together at the center of your heart.
- Repeat 6-12 times.
- When you have completed your salutations, come to a seated position (Sukhasana) and take a few deep belly breaths.
- End with your hands in prayer at your heart, bow to yourself and anyone that may be practicing with you. Thank yourself for your practice. Namaste.
Tip: If you are practicing with your child, invite them to breathe with you. Now is a great time for Flower Breathing. At home, we follow our Flower Breathing with Bumble Bee Breath (Instead of OM, repeat HUM together three times – 1) eyes open, 2) eyes closed, 3) eyes closed and ears covered. Talk about where you feel your Bee Breath within your body). Close your practice with hands at your heart. Namaste.
Consider taking a moment or two to spend focused on your child at this point. During Sun Salutations, your child may have enjoyed watching you move through each pose, but was unable to keep up with your pace. You can choose to do Sun Salutations with them (Kira Willey has a phenomenal children’s song: “Dance for the Sun”) or just focus on one pose you practiced today. Most babies and children love practicing Downward-facing Dog with Mama or Dad!
Reflection: What feelings come up after practicing Sun Salutations, Surya Namaskars? How does your body feel after this practice?
If you are interested in learning more about Yoga or about classes offered by Mamoga Wellness, please visit www.BeKindandUnwind.com.