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In the very beginning of my yoga journey I photocopied the poses from The Iyengar Way. Then, I taped the images to my wall next to where I started my home practice. Having the poses on the wall was a convincing reminder to get on the mat and do the practice. I learned their sanskrit names and the alignment. As my practice advanced, I’d replace the poses I knew with the ones I did not.
The Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar series was the first photocopy on my wall. It also stayed the longest, as an invitation for me to get on my mat and get moving.
Move it or Lose it
Think of doing sun salutations daily for the rest of your life. You will be able to get up off the floor when you’re 90. Just do a few each day for the rest of your life. Start with 10 a day for a month. Your yoga practice may or may not grow from there… but you’ll still be able to ge tup off the floor when you’re old and grey …or older and whiter.
Sun Salutations Upon Arising
The morning routine is simple – wake up. Hydrate. Eliminate waste from your bladder, bowels, and sense organs. Move. The move part is the sun salutation. Don’t eat before you move or you will be less aware that day.
Set Yourself Up
Put your mat in the same spot each morning. Face the direction of the rising sun. Clear the space of clutter and your mind will be able to focus on the practice. Stand at the front of your mat, palms together. Invoke a spirit of gratitude for the time and space to practice.
Offer your practice for a higher good.
Inhale to open your body, exhale to close your body. Breathe deeply and through your nose
to open your innards to prana for the day.
Turn your focus to letting the breathe lead your movements. Follow the breathe like a surfer riding a wave. Without the wave … the surfer doesn’t get to ride. Move gracefully. Smile
from the inside out.
Jump for Joy
Meet my friend, Bruce Bowditch, artist and author of The Yoga Practice Guide
After you’ve mastered fluid movement add jumpings. Squeeze your hands and arms towards the midlines, and on an exhale spring your hips over your shoulders.
Mix it Up
Most students start their home practice with sun salutations. Next, you will add in standing
Most students start their home practice with sun salutations. Next, you will add in standing pose variations and handstands. Soon your 10 sun salutations becomes your well-rounded home practice. Get Bruce’s Practice Guide for more sequences to deepen your practice.
Asana images used by permission. Copyright Bruce Bowditch, Third Eye Press.