Salute Your Sun!
Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Who’s ready for a little honesty? Creating this first real Get it! post has me feeling very vulnerable. I am not a professional by any means. My forward folds look more like half folds, I’m probably misaligned in many of these pictures - what you’re getting here isn’t perfection. But that’s the point of me doing this. I’m a beginner, just starting off on my journey and sharing what I find along the way with you all. I welcome feedback from any one that may have some - I just ask that if you’re going to criticize, you make it constructive. That’s fair, right?
That being said, I thought it’d be appropriate to start this section off with a Sun Salutation - the best way to greet the day! As a part of my journey, I’d like to begin learning the Sanskrit names - so the Sun Salutation is also referred to as Surya Namaskar - Surya, sun and Namaskar, salutation or worship. This 12 posture flow is one of the best for the development of the mind, body, and the soul. The Sun Salutation benefits basically all of the systems of the body, from circulatory, to respiratory, to the nervous system and nearly everything in between!
Start in Mountain Pose, or Tadasana. Stand with your feet together, your spine straight, and your hands together at your heart center. Mountain Pose is an active pose that improves your posture and balance - it also sharpens your focus and calms the mind.
From Mountain, raise your arms over your head and back, press your pubic bone forward, tighten the buttocks, open your chest and -INHALE- This is Raised Arms Pose, or Hasta Uttanasana. This pose is great for toning the organs of the abdomen (you mean I have to tone the stuff UNDER my abs, too?!) and aids in digestion. Here’s to a quick and healthy “morning routine”, am I right?
At this point, your lower back is probably screaming, “Whyyyy?!” so we take this into a forward fold. With an -EXHALE- bend forward with your hips, keeping a flat back and your tailbone up, and place your hands next to your feet - if you can! This is personally one of my weakest poses, and I find that putting a block between my knees can help keep everything in line. Forward fold can also be referred to as Uttanasana and it’s great for waking up your hamstrings (in my case, like dumping a cold bucket of water on me, not wafting the scent of bacon or softly singing me a song) and soothing the mind.
Once you’re sufficiently folded, it’s time to step your right foot back to lunge as you -INHALE- lengthening your spine and pressing back the heel of your back foot. Aww yeah, feel that stretch? This lunge is referred to as Anjaneyasana and its great for stretching your thighs and groin.
That lunge is a perfect prep for Kumbahakasana, or plank pose. Kumbhak means breath retention, so when you bring your left foot back to meet your right, you’re going to -HOLD BREATH- keeping your spine long. Plank is the devil and I see no benefit to it….ok, ok, only half joking. Although my spindly arms can’t keep me up long, plank is great for strengthening your arms, wrists, spine, and mental faculties. If you can make it through planking, you can make it through anything.
You’ve held that breath in long enough now, so as you -EXHALE- drag your knees, chin, and chest to the floor. -INHALE- and sweep forward into Cobra Pose, or Bhujangasana. Some people choose to bend their elbows, while others choose to straighten their arms completely and deepen that lower back stretch. Cobra is known to decrease stiffness in the lower back and invigorate your heart. As a bonus, it also alleviates menstrual irregularities and elevates your mood - sign me up, sista.
On your next -EXHALE- lift your tailbone into Downward Dog Pose. Press those hips back and push off of your finger tips to alleviate any wrist pain you may be feeling. Adho Mukha Svanasana is a well known pose that calms the brain while relieving stress and depression. It also energizes the body - it’s no surprise this one is named after dogs, who doesn’t feel this way when they see any puppy anywhere?!
-INHALE- and bring your right foot forward to lunge, or Anjaneyasana. The consequent “Ugh!” sound emitted is normal, but not necessary. I find that staring at the ground about a foot in front of my hands/feet helps me maintain that “calm face” yogis often strive for - if I’m looking forward I strain my neck and facial muscles and nothing cute or calm is happening there.
Step forward with your left food and -EXHALE- into Uttanasana, or back into our Forward Fold. Are your hamstrings awake? Then we’ve found the perfect time to -INHALE- and lengthen our spine to reach up and back into that Hasta Uttanasana. Press your pelvis forward and open your chest to really feel that Raised Arms Pose.
With your final -EXHALE- realease your arms and lower back and finish up side one in Mountain Pose, with your hands together at heart center.
That, my friends, is our Surya Namaskar - or one side of a Sun Salutation. It is best practice to repeat this flow on your left side as well. Dependent upon how long you choose to hold each pose, this could be the quick little energizing flow you start each day with!
My soul honors your soul.
I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides.
I honor the light, love, truth, beauty, and peace within you,
because it is also within me.
In sharing these things, we are united, we are the same,
we are one.
Leggings and top were both purchased online at Forever 21 on clearance