Affirmation: Salutations to the Sun, to the awakening light within, and to the expansion of higher consciousness and higher thinking!
Your body is indeed your spirit's vehicle and there are no auto-starts for these fine tuned machines. The following is a little introduction to The Alaskan Yogi's cardio, also known as Surya Namaskar, or The Sun Salutation. Remember your yoga ABC's and have fun with it!
A. Make sure your body is in ALIGNMENT. Engage your core muscles. Draw your belly in and up and your tailbone down. Press into all four corners of your feet. Stabilize and center your head between your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide. Place your shoulders over your wrists and hands and your hips over your knees.
B. Focus on your BREATH. Inhale on the upward movements and exhale on the downward movements.
C. CONSCIOUSNESS is key. If it hurts don't force it. Be CONSCIOUS of your ALIGNMENT and your BREATH. Be CONSCIOUS of how warm or cold your are. Be kind to your vehicle.
"The Sun Salutation is a graceful sequence of twelve positions performed as one continuous exercise. Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing. Practiced daily, preferably at the beginning of your regular practice, it will bring great flexibility to your spine and joints and trim your waist. It limbers up the whole body in preparation for the Asanas (postures)." Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers
- Strengthens and awakens the body
- Calms the mind and emotional instability
- Challenges major muscles, lubricates joints and ligaments
- Improves posture, flexibility and balance
- Strengthens cardiovascular system by oxygenating blood
- Tones digestive system
- Stimulates lymphatic system
- Controlled breathing supports respiratory health which calms nervous system and has a balancing effect on the endocrine system.
- Relieves tension, stress and anxiety
- Stand erect with feet together and hands in the prayer position in front of your chest. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Exhale.
- Inhaling, stretch your arms up and arch back from the waist, pushing the hips out, legs straight. Relax your neck.
- Exhaling, fold forward, and press your palms down, fingertips in line with toes - bend your knees if necessary.
- Inhaling, bring the left (or right) leg back and place the knee on the floor. Arch back and look up, lifting your chin.
- Retaining the breath, bring the other leg back and support your weight on hands and toes.
- Exhaling, lower your knees, then your chest and then your forehead, keeping your hips up and your toes curled under.
- Inhaling, lower your hips, point your toes and bend back. Keep legs together and shoulders down. Look up and back.
- Exhaling, curl your toes under, raise your hips and pivot into an inverted "V"shape. Try to push your heels and head down and keep your shoulders back.
- Inhaling, step forward and place the left (or right) foot between your hands. Rest the other knee on the floor and look up, as in position 4.
- Exhaling, bring the other leg forward and bend down from the waist, keeping your palms as in position 3.
- Inhaling, stretch your arms forward, then up and back over your head and bend back slowly from the waist, as in position 1.
- Exhaling, gently come back to an upright position and bring your arms down by your sides.