I teach my regular class on Wednesday evenings – Plus Size Yoga at Blue Heron Wellness – so it is a good day to share my weekly sequence ideas. Note to class participants who read the blog – this isn’t necessarily what will show up in class. That would be boring and take the fun out of surprising you! Heh heh heh…
One of the sequences I love to teach in all of my classes is a simple abbreviated version of Sun Salution (Surya Namaskar) A. This version is appropriate for all levels of practitioners and is a great way to start to connect breath with movement and get a sense of how yoga can be a moving meditation. I have to give credit to Richard Freeman, an amazing astangi and teacher, for this idea. We broke up and broke down both Sun Salutation A and B at his workshop at the Yoga Journal Conference in New York in April, and it occurred to me that there was no reason why I couldn’t teach the most accessible parts of the sequence without worrying about step backs, chaturangas and so on.
2. Inhale and raise your arms above your head to Urdhva Hastasana (upward hands pose). Your palms can come together or be shoulder width apart. Make sure your shoulders haven’t decided to stick to your ears. Look up and see your palms.
3. Exhale and swan dive over your legs to utanasana (standing forward bend). Keep your back straight and extended for as long as possible. Your hands can come to the floor or to blocks if the floor is far away. It is better to keep your back straight and not come as far down than to round your back and hunch your shoulders even if it means you get closer to the floor.
4. Inhale and come to a flat back – re-extending the spine and bringing the hands to the shins if needed – and look up. If you lost your straight back in the forward bend, this is a good time to find it again.
5. Exhale and fold forward once again into utanasana.
6. Inhale and reverse your swan dive to come all the way up to stand and reach up to urdhva hastasana once again. Look up and see your palms.
7. Bring your hands to heart center in namaskar mudra (prayer palms) and pause.
Repeat 108 times – or however many times is speaking to you at the time. Enjoy!