stopping celebrex

Here Comes the Sun: Surya Namaskar (2 of 2)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...




That most familiar of asana sequences, Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is as rich in symbolic and mythic overtones as it is in physical benefits. Part 2 of this article in Yoga Journal magazine teaches the asana sequence of Surya Namaskar and offers tips to deepen your yoga experience.

Here Comes the Sun

By Richard Rosen

The eight basic postures, in order of performance, are Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Lunge, Plank Pose, Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose), and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose).

The transition from posture to posture is facilitated by either an inhalation or an exhalation. As you move through the sequence, watch your breath closely. Slow your pace or stop and rest entirely if your breathing becomes labored or shuts down altogether. Always breathe through your nose, not your mouth: Nasal breathing filters and warms incoming air and slows your breathing down, thereby lending the sequence a meditative quality and reducing the risk of hyperventilation.

To perform the sequence, start in Tadasana, with your hands together at your heart. Inhale and lift your arms overhead to Urdhva Hastasana, then exhale while lowering the arms down and fold your torso into Uttanasana. Then inhale, arch your torso into a slight backbend with the fingertips or palms pressed to the floor or blocks, and exhale while bringing your left foot back into a lunge. Inhale forward to Plank, then exhale and lower yourself into Chaturanga Dandasana. On an inhalation, arch your torso up as you straighten your arms into Upward Dog. Exhale back to Downward Dog; step the left foot forward on an inhalation into Lunge. Swing the right leg forward to Uttanasana on an exhalation, then lift your torso and reach your arms overhead on an inhalation to Urdhva Hastasana. Finally, lower your arms on an exhalation and return to your starting point, Tadasana.

Remember, this is only a half-round; you’ll need to repeat the sequence, switching left to right and right to left to complete a full round. If you’re just starting out, it might help to work on the poses individually before you put them together. (Visit www.YogaJournal.com for more how-to information.)

Many of the variations of Sun Salutation begin in Tadasana with the sacred hand gesture mentioned earlier. Most students know it as Anjali Mudra (Reverence Seal), but—in honor of the ancient yogis—I like to call it by one of its other names, Hridaya Mudra (Heart Seal). Touch your palms and fingers together in front of your chest and rest your thumbs lightly on your sternum, with the sides of the thumbs pressing lightly on the bone about two-thirds of the way down. Be sure to broaden your palms and press them against each other evenly, so your dominant hand doesn’t overpower its nondominant mate. The pressing and spreading of the palms helps to firm the scapulas against, and spread them across, your back torso.

Since the sequence is, in essence, a humble adoration of the light and insight of the self, it’s essential to practice Sun Salutation in a spirit of devotion and with your awareness turned always inward toward the heart. Make each movement as mindful and precise as possible, especially as you near the end of your rounds, when fatigue can lead to sloppiness.

Deepening the Practice

The sequence itself is fairly straightforward, but beginning students often stumble in two parts of it. The first of these is Chaturanga Dandasana: Lowering from Plank, students who lack sufficient strength in the arms, legs, and lower belly commonly wind up in a heap on the floor. The short-term solution is simply to bend the knees to the floor just after Plank, then lower the torso down so that the chest and chin (but not the belly) lightly rest on the floor.

The second sticky part is in stepping the foot forward from Downward-Facing Dog back into Lunge. Many beginners are unable to take the full step smoothly and lightly; typically, they thump their foot heavily on the floor about halfway to the hands, then struggle to wriggle it the rest of the way forward. This is a consequence both of tight groins and a weak belly. The short-term solution is to bend the knees to the floor right after Downward Dog, step the foot forward between the hands, then straighten the back knee into Lunge.

Success with Sun Salutation, as with all aspects of yoga practice, depends on commitment and regularity. An everyday practice would be best, but you might at first aim for four times a week. If possible, don’t skip more than a couple of days in a row, or you might end up back at square one.

Traditionally, Sun Salutation is best performed outdoors, facing east-the location of the rising sun, a symbol of the dawn of consciousness and jnana. This might be a perfect wake-up routine in India, where it’s usually warm outside, but it’s probably not feasible in Michigan in late December. Nowadays, Sun Salutation is used mostly as a preliminary warm-up for an asana session. I do 10 to 12 rounds at the start of every practice—or after a few hip and groin openers—and a few more on each equinox and solstice to acknowledge the change in the light. On days when only a quickie practice is possible, an intense 10-minute Sun Salutation and five minutes spent in Savasana (Corpse Pose) will do you just fine.

Launch your practice slowly with three to five rounds, gradually building up to 10 or 15. If this seems like a lot, remember that the traditional number of rounds is 108, which may take you more than a few weeks to work up to. You can pace the sequence briskly to generate heat and cleanse the body-mind, or more moderately to create a moving meditation.

If you’re looking for a more vigorous Sun Salutation, consider the approach of the vinyasa traditions such as K. Pattabhi Jois-style Ashtanga Yoga, which uses a jumping version of Sun Salutation to link the individual poses in their fixed series.

Variations of Sun Salutation are legion, and because of the sequence’s malleability, it’s easy enough to cook up a few of your own. For instance, you can make things more challenging by adding one or more poses: Insert Utkatasana (Chair Pose) after Urdhva Hastasana, or from Lunge, keeping your hands on the floor, straighten the forward leg to a modified Parsvottanasana (Side Stretch Pose). Let your imagination run wild and have fun.

Richard Rosen is a Yoga Journal contributing editor.

Source: http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/928

530 views

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 3:11 am and is filed under Articles.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Comment

What is Sunlightenment?

This website is dedicated to the free discemination of information on the healing powers of the Sun and the spiritual practices of Sun Gazing and Surya (Sun) Yoga. All information is given in the spirit of the Sun, whom shares its Light and Love without restriction. May all of humanity benefit from the enlightening energy of the Sun and the wisdom of all beings who share in this service of Sun Yoga.


Subscribe to this blog

Subscribe to this blog