Guest Author - Tracy Webb
Modern life seems to be taking its toll with all the demands that we face on a daily basis, making it difficult to find time for you. The results of living in such a way may manifest as stress, depression, over eating, and lethargy.
Yoga is a wonderful way to relax and still the mind. The ideal time to practice this routine is in the morning as it helps you start the day positively, and wakes the body up ready for the day ahead. The sequence I recommend for fifteen minutes is Salute To The Sun and the Anulom Vilom breathing exercise.
The Salute To The Sun enlivens and invigorates the body, giving all the muscles a deep stretch. Anulom Vilom calms the mind and relaxes the breath into its natural rhythm. What better way to start the day.
There are twelve positions in The Salute To The Sun which I will briefly describe for you here:
Start with feet together and arms by your side and breathe normally.
Bring hands up to prayer position in the center of the chest.
While inhaling raise release prayer position and bring both hands up over the head and slightly lean back.
Hold for approximately 5 seconds.
Fold forward and bring your head as close to your knees as possible while reaching down and touching the floor, feet, ankles, knees or calves. Hold for about 2 breaths.
Inhaling take the left leg back keeping the foot vertical, waist downwards and chest stretched forward.
Hold for about 2 breaths.
While exhaling, take the right leg back next to the left one. Keeping hands flat on the floor, push the hips up and the head down. (Downward Facing Dog).
Hold for at least 2 breaths.
On an inhale, bring the body parallel to the ground, place the knees, chest and forehead on the floor and push the pelvis up. Breathe normally for a couple of breaths.
Push yourself up until your elbows are straight, the chest is fully stretched and the neck is bent slightly backwards.
The knees remain fully on the floor and the toes are vertical. Remain like this for a couple for breaths.
Push yourself up until you are in Downward Facing Dog again.
Inhale and bring the left leg forward keeping the right leg stretched. Stay here for a couple of breaths.
Bring the right leg back to the left leg and stand straight with head close to the knees and hands on the floor or wherever you are able to reach comfortably. Hold for at least 2 breaths.
Slowly release the positions and come up to standing with hands above the head.
Lean back slightly for about 5 seconds.
Bring the hands into prayer position then back by your side.
Lay in Shavasan for at least a minute.
Apart from stretching every part of your body this posture boosts the circulation, lengthens the spine, and bathes all the organs in fresh blood. The overall impact is regenerative, and healing to the mind, body, and spirit.
After completing The Salute To The Sun, either sit cross-legged on the floor or on a chair ready to do the breathing exercise. Start by taking a few deep conscious breathes to settle you.
Close the right nostril with your right thumb.
Inhale slowly through the left nostril.
Close the left nostril with your ring finger and exhale slowly out of the right nostril.
Inhale slowly through the right nostril.
Close the right nostril with your thumb and exhale slowly through the left nostril.
Repeat the whole cycle 10 times.
If you have a spare 15 minutes I would urge you to use it to practice the above. The benefits you may receive could be trans-formative. If its not possible to fit in both, I would suggest starting the day with Anulom Vilom. This will assist in starting you off with a calm, and peaceful mind.
Hopefully, through the addition of one or both of the above, you may notice that you are more able to respond to the day and situations that arise rather than react to them.
For more variations of Sun Salutation, The Yoga Bible is really useful, and offers a simplified version.