The sound of summer rain is my accompaniment as I write this post today. It's pouring down and the rain is forecast to last all day...which makes it the perfect day to do... a few rounds of Salute to the Sun! In this version you visualise the warmth of the Sun both outside and within the body, which leaves you with a warm glow and feeling radiant...even if it's still raining outside!
Salute to the Sun (Surya Namaskar)
1 Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), hands in prayer position (Namaste). In your mind’s eye picture the Sun rising in the sky. Now picture a warm, glowing sun at your solar plexus; radiating warmth and light; and keep this image in mind as you perform the Sun Salute.
2 From Mountain Pose raise your arms out to the sides and up above your head, come down into a Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana).
3 Bend the knees and arch the back, and then come back down into the forward bend.
4 Step the legs back, one at a time, into Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana): whole body in one long line.
5 From Plank Pose swivel to one side into Side Plank (Vasisthasana). Repeat on the other side. For a gentler practice: miss out Side Plank, go straight to (6).
6 Come back into Plank Pose and drop the knees to the floor, sitting back into Child’s Pose (Balasana): rest here for a few breaths.
7 From Child’s pose come into Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
8 From Upward-Facing Dog turn toes under and swing back into a Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Stay for a few breaths in the pose.
9 From Downward-Facing Dog Pose bring your right foot forward into Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana).
10 Bring the other foot forward coming into a Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana). Bend the knees and arch the back.
11 Come back into the Forward Bend (Uttanasana) and stay for a few breaths. Then sweep the arms out to the sides and up above the head, coming back up to standing.
12 Bring the hands back into the prayer position (Namaste) and rest here for a few breaths. As you rest, picture in your mind’s eye, the Sun rising in the sky. And then picture a warm, glowing sun at your solar plexus; radiating warmth and light; and keep this image in mind as you perform another round of the Salute to the Sun.
If you have time do a few more rounds of Salute to the Sun. If you want to lengthen the practice you could follow it with the Relaxing Summer Yoga Practice, described in my last blog post. Take this warm, sunny glow into your next activity and into the rest of your day!
Here is a super, simple, short, and very relaxing yoga practice for you to do at home. It would be a great way to wake up in the morning, or perfect for winding down in the evening.
1 Cat Pose (Marjaryasana) into Child’s Pose (Balasana): Come onto the all-fours. Exhale: lower the bottom to the heels and the head to the floor to Child’s Pose. Inhale: come back up to the all-fours. Repeat 6 times. As you inhale silently say: Perfect happiness: exhale: Contentment.
2 Supine Twist (Jathara Parivrtti): Lie on your back, knees bent, feet together, arms out to the sides at shoulder height, palms facing down. Bring both knees onto your chest. Exhale: lower both knees down towards the floor on the left. Inhale: return to centre. Repeat 6 each side, alternating sides
3 Then drop your knees to the left; place your left hand on your top, right thigh; gently persuading your legs down towards the floor. Turn your right palm up and keeping your arm in contact with the floor, raise your arm up towards your right ear. Stay here for a few breaths. And then repeat on the other side.
4 Knee-to-chest pose (Apanasana) into Leg Raises: Bring both knees onto your chest. Inhale: Straighten your legs to the vertical, heels towards the ceiling; taking your arms out to the side, just below shoulder height, palms facing up. Exhale: bring knees back to chest (Apanasana). Repeat 6 times.
5 Happiness and Contentment Meditation: Find a comfortable sitting or lying position. Become aware of the natural flow of your breath. As you inhale silently say: Perfect happiness. As you exhale silently say: Contentment. Every time you notice that you mind has wandered off, gently bring yourself back to focusing on the flow of the breath and the meditation phrase. When you feel ready, let go of the phrases, notice how you are feeling now. Have a good stretch and carry on with your day.
The above yoga practice has been adapted from the Summer to Autumn Yoga Practice in my book Yoga Through the Year: A Seasonal Approach to Your Practice.
This occasional blog is designed to share my yoga class handouts, resources, and tips with my yoga classes.