Friday, March 15, 2013

Salute the Sun

Image from Women's Health online
The Yoga classes I've been taking the last few months don't do Sun Salutations. I think they're an integral part of practice, so always feel weird doing one without them. I know some teachers avoid it because they think it will bore the students, or perhaps they don't want to "waste" time on this standard warm up when they have other ideas in mind. Also, some teachers don't do it because it can be a struggle to encourage correct postures in this sequence. So they figure it's easier to skip it.

When I had the opportunity to teach classes, I started each one with 8 Sun Salutations. Four of Series A, and four of Series B. It was also optional to do additional Salutations between a vinyasa (if a practitioner wanted the extra upper-body workout). Yes, to some it may have been overkill, but it was just a part of my style. I always offered modifications in case someone wasn't able or interested, so I never felt badly for including them.

Figure A: Mountain Pose/Tadasana
Figure B: transitional pose
Figure C: Forward Fold/Uttanasana
Figure D: Half Lift/Ardha Uttanasana
Figure E: Plank
Figure F: Hi-to-Low Pushup/Chaturanga
Figure G: Upward-Facing Dog/Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Figure H: Downward-Facing Dog/Adho Mukha Svanasana
Figure I: Half Lift/Ardha Uttanasana
Figure J: Forward Fold/Uttanasana

Flowing through the poses, challenge yourself to inhale for one move and exhale for the next. A good rule to keep in mind is to exhale when your exert or twist. For example, as you fold forward, exhale as if the movement is pushing air out of the belly. Or while lowering down in Chaturanga, exhale as if the floor is pushing air out of the lungs. Conversely, inhales are for reaching or lifting, such as Half Lifts or Upward Dog.

When transitioning from Half Lift to Plank, you can either hop right back to your feet or walk. In the same exhale, lower the body in Chaturanga.

For more tips on Sun Salutations, visit the Women's Health article on this HERE.

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