Daily Practice – Sun A

The best way to get begin the yoga practice is by starting where you are. If you have already planted a seed that you are doomed because touching the toes is impossible, YOU are in the right place. Yoga is state of mind. It keeps you honest! It is a movement of energy, supported by the breath to deepen a connection between body, mind, and heart. There are additional bonuses of increased flexibility, stress reduction, increased vitality and energy, toning muscles, etc. However, as we grow into aging with grace, it is important to make health a priority. Join me as the following pictures and audio guide help guide you through a basic beginning Sun Salutation sequence that can be done anywhere at anytime. Take this practice with you to the beach, park, your backyard or in your living room. Do this with your loved one(s), friends, children or alone. Try for five rounds with a focused awareness of breath, an open heart and mindful acceptance in each pose.

Mountain Pose

TADASANA (tah-DAS-anna)

2015-11-12_DSC0195_by_PaulCookmountain

Tadasana is the base of all standing postures. Hence the name of “mountain”, it requires strength of the legs while maintaining a neutral spine and pelvis. Imagine that your pelvis and hips are a soup bowl. If tilted forward towards the floor the soup spills out, if tilted back the soup spills on you. Try to keep alignment neutral in this pose so that other standing postures can build from your mountain base.

Begin with feet into the earth with even distribution across the inner and outer heels, big toe and pinky toe ball mounts, feeling an energetic lift of the arches. Carry this energy into the base of the legs, by extending legs and lifting kneecaps. Avoid “locking” the knees but feel the work of the shins hugging, knees aligned over toes. Keeping a neutral pelvis, lift the hip points upward, engaging the abdominal wall and lengthen the tailbone towards the back of the heels. Fill the back ribs up with an inhale breath and notice the rise and fall of the chest. On, the next inhale, lift the arms upward towards the sky with the triceps spinning towards the front of the room. Invite the spine to stay in a neutral position as you feel a grounding rebounding energy up in the legs and a supported lift of the waistline off the pelvis into the chest, shoulders and arms as arms rise up and over head. Take three full rounds of breath (inhale/exhale = 1 round).

Forward Fold

Uttanasana (OOT-tan-AHS-ahna)

Half-Way Lift

Ardha Uttanasana (ARE-dah OOT-tan-AHS-ahna)

High Plank

2015-11-12_DSC0201_by_PaulCookplank

High Plank pose brings me to life! Align hands beneath shoulders, capture straight arms (if hypermobile-place soft bend in elbows). Extend legs back and draw frontal hip points forward. Elongate tailbone to heels. Feel the earth being absorbed into the inner palms, thumb and index finger knuckles. Notice the energy created between the back of the palms and tips of toes as if reaching towards each other. Hug forearms together and spin inseams of biceps toward chest. Extend chest forward by lifting abdominal wall and widening collar bones.

Low Plank 

CHATURANGA (chaht-tour-ANG-ah)

2015-11-12_DSC0202_by_PaulCookchaturanga

 

Upward Facing Dog

URDHVA MUKHA SVANASANA (OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna)

2015-11-12_DSC0203_by_PaulCookupdog

Downward Facing Dog

ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (AH-doh MOO-kah shavah-NAHS-anna)

2015-11-12_DSC0206_by_PaulCookdowndog