TOPIC – YOGA
Exercise for Your Whole Body: Sun Salutation (12 Steps)
Everyone knows by now that yoga is good for you. It stretches muscles and tones, but also relaxes us body and mind. Opens our chakras, energy centres and our heart. So, what better way than to start and end our day with some gentle yoga moves, to enhance overall well-being.
One of my favourite sequences is that of the Sun Salutation.
Salutations to the sun (a greeting or acknowledgement to this wonder) represent one of the all-around yoga exercises. It works the whole body, for an overall stretch. To soothe stiffness and to wake up your body in the morning, do it once or twice as a minimum daily. You can of course repeat more times than that and I sometimes find about six rounds really wakes up both my body and mind and yet also leaves a very calming after effect and I am ready to greet the day.
At night, repeating the exercises multiple times will help you relax and it certainly helps me to drift off. Insomniacs or those with other sleep disorders often find that six to twelve repetitions are enough to get to sleep more easily. Why not give it a go.
Below is a step by step guide to the Sun Salutation.
1. Place your palms together and thumbs against your chest while standing with your feet slightly apart.
2. While inhaling deeply, raise your hands over your head, gently bend backwards as far as you can- don't overdo it- and tighten your buttocks. Hold for three seconds.
3. While keeping your knees straight, exhale slowly and slowly bend toward the floor until your fingertips touch the floor outside of your feet. In case you can't touch the floor, get as close as you can.) Tuck your head in toward your knees.
4. Inhale steadily and slowly, bend your knees, and place your fingertips outside your toes on the floor (if they are not already there). As far as you are able, slide your right foot back, while your right knee is elevated an inch or two (a lunge position). Lift your head as high as possible and gently arch your back.
5. Before exhaling again, now slide your left foot back until it is beside the right one, and with your weight supported on your palms and toes, straighten both legs so that your body forms a flat plane. Your stomach should be drawn in toward the spine.
6. Slowly exhale, bend both knees to the floor, bend with your hips in the air, lower your chest and forehead to the floor.
7. Taking a deep breath inhalation, look up and bend your head back gently, raising it, followed by your upper chest, and then your lower chest. From the navel down, your lower body should be on the floor, and your elbows should be slightly bent. Maintain this position for three to five seconds.
8. Exhaling slowly, lift your hips to the point where your feet are flat on the floor, your arms must be straight, and your legs should be straight. You will now be in an inverted V shape.
9. Taking a deep breath, step forward with your right foot as in position 4. Let your foot rest flat on the ground between your fingertips. Your left leg should be almost straight behind you, with the knee slightly elevated off the ground. Raise your head, look up, and arch your back.
10. As you exhale, place your left foot next to your right one. Straighten your legs and trying to keep your fingertips on the floor, try to touch your head to your knees as in position 3.
11. Slowly inhale, curl the body back up, raise your arms up and stretch back as in position 2. Don't forget to tighten your buttocks. Hold for three seconds.
12. Slowly exhale, lowering your arms to your sides. Relax. Repeat the series.
I hope you enjoyed the practise and that you will make it part of your daily routine. If you struggled a little, it will get easier and easier as you go, I promise, you will be getting more flexible and more confident, just keep going with it and it will not be long before you are bending like a pretzel, true yogi style☺