Salutation Fest

Things are definitely changing . . . I currently have no home residence and our traditional student-teacher relationship has just completely morphed into a virtual space. The first thing that came to mind was to go back to the basics, something that is constant, consistent, that will help keep us grounded. That for me is my daily practice of sun salutations.

Sun salutations, or surya namaskar, is a combination of postures that have been strung together to create a smooth flow of the body and the breath as one. This sequence has anaerobic, aerobic and flexibility components which give the body a holistic workout. The best thing about sun salutations is they are safe to practice on your own even when just beginning.

Which brings me to the Salutation Fest!! I want to inspire each of you to do 12 sun salutations each day for the month of October. #SalutationFest This sequence is best practiced first thing in the morning just as you are waking up before you even get breakfast.

Video Link

I have created this video to help guide your home practice but you are more than welcome to practice any form of surya namaskar that is comfortable for you as there are many variations. The point is not to touch your toes every time (flexibility will develop over time), the point of the exercises is much closer related to finding the connection between the movements and the breath. Find what movements feel right for your body and breathe.


V ariations: Variation 1 - stand with feet 3-4 inches apart breathe into the belly. On an exhale take the hands together in a prayer position. On an inhalation take the hands around in up to touch, looking at the thumbs. On the exhalation fold forward bring the fingers outside the toes or behind the calves and bringing the nose close to the knees. Inhale to flatten the back come half way up lengthen the spine and exhale bring the nose back towards the knees. Take a loooong deep breath in as you come to standing raise the arms above the head. Exhale bringing the hands back to prayer position.

Variation 2 - Inhale reach the hands around and up to touch, looking at the thumbs. Exhale fold forwards bringing the hands to the ground next to the toes or behind the legs. Inhale flatten the back keeping the neck inline with the spine. Exhale nose to the knees stretching. Inhale taking the Right foot to the back of the mat keep the fingertips on the floor and look forward. Exhale take the left foot to the back and bend the knees the chest and the chin down to the floor. Inhale baby cobra, ground the hips and bring the chest forward keeping the belly grounded, engage the back muscles just to warm them up, keep the neck long. Exhale lift the hips into downward facing dog. Inhale bring the Right foot inside the Right fingertips, straighten the Right leg. Exhale bring the Left foot to the front of the mat and fold forward nose to the knees. Inhale bring the arms all the way around and up to touch. Exhale bring the hands to prayer position. Repeat the same on the Left side.

Variation 3 - Inhale reach the hands around and up to touch, looking at the thumbs. Exhale fold forwards bringing the hands to the ground next to the toes or behind the legs. Inhale flatten the back keeping the neck inline with the spine. Exhale nose to the knees stretching. Inhale taking the Right foot to the back of the mat keep the fingertips on the floor and look forward. Exhale take the left foot to the back and bend the elbows to 90 degrees lowering only half way to the ground. Press the toes backwards to come to the tops of the feet and straighten the arms for upward facing dog take a long deep inhalation. Exhale to lift the hips into downward facing dog. Inhale bring the Right foot inside the Right fingertips, straighten the Right leg. Exhale bring the Left foot to the front of the mat and fold forward nose to the knees. Inhale bring the arms all the way around and up to touch. Exhale bring the hands to prayer position. Repeat the same on the Left side.

Variation 4 - Inhale reach the hands around and up to touch, looking at the thumbs. Exhale fold forwards bringing the hands to the ground next to the toes or behind the legs. Inhale flatten the back keeping the neck inline with the spine. Exhale ground the hands onto the floor, bend the knees and jump backwards into plank position and bend the elbows to 90 degrees. Press the toes backwards to come to the tops of the feet and straighten the arms for upward facing dog take a long deep inhalation. Exhale to lift the hips into downward facing dog. Inhale gaze forward and slightly bend the knees to prepare and exhale completely as you jump forward and land with the feet inline with the fingers at the front of the mat. Inhale flatten the spine lift half way. Exhale completely as you fold forward and bring the nose towards the knees. Inhale raise the arms around and up to touch. Exhale bring the hands to heart center. Repeat this variation another 6 times.

Let's share our practice! Post on Instagram @discoverawareness #SalutationFest #LetsGetGrounded


 

Benefits of Sun Salutations 1. Stimulates heart health and circulation 2. Increases flexibility 3. Builds strength and muscle tone 4. Creates relaxation 5. Provokes mindfulness 6. Aids in digestion 7. Improves respiratory function 8. Promotes detoxification through digestion and respiration 9. Helps with weight loss


 

Mantra A mantra is a word or phrase used in repetition to create meditation and to inspire us to live our intentions.

This month, as I complete the Salutation Fest, I am focused on becoming grounded through the consistency of my practice.

My mantra for Salutation Fest is "I am grounded, I am consistent."

Take a few moments to find what mantra best describes your intention for Salutation Fest and repeat it to yourself as you breath through your 12 sun salutations each day.


 

Urdhvamukha Shvanasana Upward facing dog creates evenly distributed extension throughout the whole spine. Poses like this are critical for a healthy back, especially with so many of our daily stances and chores that induce the forward fold of the torso. When we are forward all day from sitting at our desks or driving for hours on end, we over-stretch our back muscles and weaken our abdominals. Back-bending poses like this counteract this problem as it automatically puts our abdominal organs in a better functioning position. Upward-facing dog is a heart opening pose and as we go through this month with the intention of consistency let's open our hearts to what that intention may lead to.


 




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