- Exercise & Fitness
Yoga For Beginners: Sun Salutation
Begin With Breath
Yoga is more than just stretching and balancing. It is a way of life. Yoga embraces the whole person, to lead you on a path of well being, physically, mentally, and spiritually. You do not need to embrace a specific religion to enjoy the benefits of yoga. The spirit of yoga welcomes all. What you do need is a desire to grow, and a desire to love yourself beyond where you are today. Yoga is appropriate for all age and skill levels, it's benefits are far reaching.
This series of hubs is written for people who have not yet explored yoga, but would like to. It will cover not only some basic poses for beginners, but the philosophy behind yoga. If you want to be more flexible, read on. If you want more balance, then continue.
The most important part of a yoga practice is breathing. Becoming aware of the breath is the basis for all poses. Before you begin this or any yoga practice, take a few moments to quiet your mind and focus on your breath.
Breathe deeply and check in with your body. Listen to your breath. Notice how you feel, physically and emotionally. Allow yourself to notice and observe your body, your breath and your emotions.
Before you begin your practice, continue breathing deeply for a few more moments. Allow your mind to connect to your body. Now, you are in a place to begin.
When learning yoga, learning poses typically come before practicing philosophy. It is important to find out that you can do a pose. The struggle with self to overcome fear, hesitation and embarrassment will lead you on a path of growth and increased body awareness.
We all start at the beginning. Not knowing any yoga poses. Not understanding the seemingly complex thought system embraced by the enlightened gurus. At the beginning, we learn. We begin our yoga practice exactly where we are today. We don't worry about where we were yesterday, or where we want to be tomorrow. Today, we begin where we are. We breathe deeply and begin.
As we learn simple poses, our mind slowly overcomes the ego who tears us down at every opportunity. Our true self learns that we are strong, capable, and smart. As we work through each pose, our true self is lifted. There is no perfect pose in yoga. The perfection is found in the practice. The practice of breathing, connecting the mind, body and soul, and the practice of moving through the poses leads us to find perfection in each moment. We forget about being "perfect" and we meet ourselves exactly where we are.
The boost in confidence that follows creates a desire to improve our lives in other areas, and this juncture is where yoga philosophy comes in. The philosophy embraces breath, connection and life. It leads us to a higher place of acceptance and confidence, as we learn that where we are is exactly where we need to be.
Sun Salutation Yoga Basics
Sun Salutation Step-by-Step
The Sun Salutation provides an excellent opportunity to learn basic yoga moves. Done in the morning, it is an excellent way to begin your day. As you stand in mountain pose, be grateful for the rising sun, for the blessings in your life, and for the breath of life you possess. That is the beginning of yoga philosophy.
1. Mountain: Begin by standing in Mountain pose, feet about hip width apart, hands either by your sides or in prayer position. Take several deep breaths. As you breathe, your feet press into the earth, and your head lifts up to the sky. You feel strong, stable and balanced.
2. Hands up: On your next inhale, in one sweeping movement, raise your arms up overhead and gently arch back as far as feels comfortable and safe. Take a moment to express gratitude for the blessings in your life.
3. Head to knees As you exhale, bend forward, bending the knees if necessary, and bring your hands to rest beside your feet. Keeping knees as bent as feels comfortable, feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings and low back.
4. Lunge: Inhale and step the right leg back. Arms reach overhead as you come into a gentle lunge. If it feels more comfortable, you can keep the right knee on the ground.
5. Plank: Exhale and step the left leg back, coming into plank position. Hold the position and inhale. You can also choose kneeling plank, coming onto both knees.
6. Stick: Exhale and lower yourself as if coming down from a push-up. Only your hands and feet should touch the floor. If it feels more comfortable, you can lower the entire body to the ground,
7. Upward Dog: Inhale and stretch forward and up, bending at the waist, and lifting your chest and shoulders off the ground. Use your arms to lift your torso, but only bend back as far as feels comfortable and safe. Lift your legs up so that only the tops of your feet and your hands touch the floor. It's okay to keep your arms bent at the elbow, if this feels more comfortable.
8. Downward dog: Exhaling, lift from the hips and push back and up. Press your palms and your feet into the mat, as you extend your legs. Keep the knees bent as far as feels comfortable. Gently press the heels toward the earth and lift the hips toward the sky, while opening the fingers wide like starfish.
9. Lunge: Inhale and step the right foot forward, coming back to a lunge. The arms lift overhead.
10. Head to knees: Exhale, bring the left foot forward and step into head-to-knee position, keeping the knees as bent as feels comfortable.
11. Hands up: Inhale and rise slowly while keeping arms extended .
12. Mountain: Exhale, and in a slow, sweeping motion, lower your arms to the sides. End by bringing your hands up into prayer position. Repeat the sequence, stepping with the left leg.