Yoga is one of the best movements for stress. It is low impact, works well with getting the blood flow going, and is excellent when establishing a level of flexibility and peace. This sun salutation movement is a wonderful way to start your morning.
1. Mountain pose: Start by bringing your feet and legs together, spread your toes. Make sure your heels are rooted and firm your legs. Then, roll your shoulders back and down and spread and lift your chest.
2. Extended Mountain pose: Inhale through your nose and raise your arms up to the side, palms facing upwards. Extend your arms above your head with your hands in prayer position.
3. Swan dive to forward bend, be sure to bend your knees especially if you have tight hamstrings. This will protect the back: Exhale through your nose. Open your arms wide and bend at your waist to a standing forward bend. Your hands should touch the floor if you can or if not, the front of the ankles.
4. Standing lunge: Inhale through your nose and place your hands next to your feet on the floor and step one foot back into a lunge. Keep the front knee directly over the ankle and keep the back leg firm. Now, exhale and bring the other foot back to form the downward-facing dog position.
5. Downward-facing dog: Spread your fingers and press your palms into the mat, they should be shoulder width apart. Now, lift your hips up towards the sky, lengthening your spine. Gently straighten your legs, pressing your heels down into your mat as far as you can go
6. Plank pose: Inhale and take your shoulders forward directly over your wrists, extending well with your arms to form plank position. Keep your thighs strong and firm, your feet flexed and your belly drawn in.
7. Knees-chest-chin pose: Exhale and bend your knees to the floor and then lower your chest and chin to the floor. Keep your chest open and your elbows close to the side of your ribcage.
8. Cobra: Inhale and raise your upper body to the cobra pose. Roll your shoulders back and extend the shoulder blades down and press them in towards the chest. Your chest should be lifted and open and elbows should stay close to the body. Make sure to lift up your knee caps and firm your thighs. Your legs and feet should be well extended. As a variation, you can also do an upward dog.
9.Extended child's pose to dog's pose: Exhale and tuck in your toes while bending your knees and pushing back to the extended child's position. If possible, in the same breath move directly back to downward-facing dog. Pull the belly up and towards the back of the spine.
10.Standing lunge: Now this is where we repeat in reverse the first three postures that start the sun salutation. Inhale, bring your one foot forward in between your hands to the lunge position. Now, exhale, and bring the back foot forward to join the front foot so that your feet are together. Hands on the floor or ankles
11. Reverse swan dive transition: With knees slightly bent, inhale and lift your arms up to the side with your palms face upward to the sky. Now extend the arms above your head in prayer position.
12. Mountain pose: Exhale to return to Mountain Pose to complete the Sun salutation.
Click Here for video demonstration of these movements
A few tips :
- take your time you time while doing the movements don't rush through the poses
- breathe through the exercises; breathing is what facilitates body in and through the movement
- An easy way to apply this is to allow all upward movements to be coupled with the motion of inhalation and all downward movements to be coupled withexhalation. For example - raising your arms overhead and stretching up is coupled with your inhalation and hinging forward and down (as in touching your toes) is coupled with your exhalation.
- don't give up on these movements, they take time but they are so worth it!