Cheat Sheet For Warrior III Pose

Warrior III

Warrior III Pose – Virabhadrasana III

(veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)

Warrior III pose

Virabhadra = the name of a fierce warrior, described as having a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet; wielding a thousand clubs; and wearing a tiger’s skin. (http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/warrior-iii-pose/)

Yoga has a few different versions of warrior pose and I’m sure there are others that I am unaware of.  I’m often asked how many poses there are in the yogic system and to be honest, I just don’t know and I doubt that anyone does either!  It gets even more confusing  if you follow a particular lineage and poses can be named differently dependent on that.  I think it’s important not to get too caught up in whether one particular teacher is right or wrong, rather to ensure you are practicing safely and within your own personal limits.

Benefits Of Warrior III

I love the warrior poses for many reasons but here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Stretches out the leg muscles
  • Brings awareness to and helps open up the hips
  • Strengthens the leg muscles which can help to support & rehabilitate a weak knee (using safe modifications)
  • Works the shoulder joints through varying ranges without load and has a strengthening effect through the shoulder girdle
  • Generates heat in the body even when held in a static position
  • Build it into a slow or fast sequence depending on goals.
  • Works the core muscles of the body much more effectively than any sit-up ever could
  • Improves proprioceptive awareness which means your balance is better
  • Warrior poses can be challenging, satisfying, empowering and energising!

Practicing Warrior III

When practicing warrior III start nice and easily with a chair nearby to help you balance. Stand with the toes of one foot resting on the floor behind you while arms are held up either side of your head.  Gradually tip forward in equal parts so that the arms stay in position.  The torso doesn’t bend forwards so that the spine stays neutral and lengthened.  Once in the pose, ground down into the standing heel and press out through the lifted one.  Careful not to twist the pelvis, instead try to keep it level.

If you can’t tip all the way forward that’s fine, you can start with a mini-tip forward instead with the foot only raised slightly and see how you go with that.  Check out the little video I recorded to help you along.   Please only follow along with this if you are one of my regular students or already have a regular yoga practice.  Please don’t attempt if you currently have any injuries or restrictions.  The best way to learn is always in person with a real life teacher :)

Warrior III Pose Modified With A Chair

Here is a little video I recorded for my students to continue practicing Warrior III at home. For the full article and explanation, please go here https://www.charleyoga.com.au/warrior-iii-pose/Please Note: I don't recommend following this video if you are new to yoga, have never practiced the pose or are injured or restricted. The best & safest way to learn is always through a real life teacher, in person!

Posted by Charleyoga on Sunday, 18 March 2018

Cheat Sheet for Warrior III

Here is a cheat sheet for remembering which warrior is which.  I came up with this when I was learning so  I didn’t forget and feel silly! (Even though I’m always telling you not to worry about looking silly!)

  • Warrior I – Looks like the number one, arms straight up
  • Warrior II – Comes after one (sorry, I got nothing else for this one, just use a process of elimination!)
  • Warrior III – 3 of your 4 limbs are off the ground – see, easy!
  • Humble Warrior – bowing forward humbly
  • Reverse Warrior – tip backwards ie reverse

I hope these little pointers helped you and I look forward to balancing with you again next time!

Charley Hickey

 

 

 

Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

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Fremantle Yoga Class Is Moving In 2017

Fremantle Yoga

It’s quite exciting to announce that the long running Wednesday 945am Fremantle yoga class is moving  in 2017.  After many years located at the East Fremantle Oval, it’s time to say goodbye! The lovely view out over the East Fremantle Oval will be missed but the newly refurbished Fremantle PCYC Progress Hall in Hilton awaits you all.  The photos  show what it looks like from the outside and the inside is very light and airy.  There is still heating and air-conditioning to keep everyone comfortable as well.

Fremantle Yoga at PCYC

Fremantle Yoga

The reason it’s exciting for us, and a little nostalgic, is that I taught my first ever yoga class in this very hall in 2003.  Back then it was a drafty old hall run by Fremantle Council and in dire need of renovations.  Some of you that came to that first class still attend today.   This  is quite astounding and something I never expected when I first began.  I remember teaching that first class with such clarity.  I was terrified but trying hard to hide it!  Being a yoga teacher is very different to just practicing yoga which is all I had done up until that point.  I kept reminding myself to breath which definitely helped me to get through it!  Thank goodness I did or I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Moving With The Changes

Change can be difficult, especially when something is a regular part of our weekly routine.  There will be a new route to take, somewhere different to park and new surroundings to get familiar with.  Parking is easy here and there is a nice coffee shop within walking distance.  It won’t be surprising if some students end up driving to East Fremantle by mistake over the first couple of terms!  This might all seem annoying yet it is also an opportunity to practice mindfulness.  We are often on autopilot and change can be a great way of reigniting our practice of mindfulness.

Fremantle Yoga New Address

Fremantle PCYC – Progress Hall, 34 Paget Street, Hilton (MAP)

Go in the main entrance toward reception and the Progress Hall is to the left.

See you there!

Charley Hickey

Am I Compatible With Half Shoulder Stand?

Half Shoulder StandAuthor: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

Half shoulder stand is a great pose but how do you know if it’s safe for you to practice it? When it gets towards the end of the term I feel comfortably familiar with any new students.   At this point we usually experiment a little with half shoulder stand (ardha sarvangasana) and some other modified variations.

I’ve purposely excluded a picture of half shoulder stand and instead have chosen shoulder bridge (setu bandha sarvangasana) and legs up the wall pose (viparita karani).  The reason is I’m always so conscious of us seeing a yoga pose and thinking “oh, I might quickly see if I can do that one”.  Often, in our head, we visualise ourselves in the pose or have done it before so think its ok.  The fact is,  it can be dangerous and the potential for injury is high with inverted postures.  This is particularly so when we aren’t properly warmed up.

Practicing Half Shoulder Stand

The milder variations I have included in the pictures are great and much safer for most people.  I should also note that I’m a yoga therapist and therefore often teaching students who are carrying old injuries so my viewpoint may be a little different to yours!  When we practice half shoulder stand in class, it’s always done with a full warming up sequence and then a warming down afterwards.  It’s so important to follow logical sequencing when practicing poses like this.  There also many reasons why you shouldn’t attempt the half shoulder stand.  A good yoga teacher will never mind if you decline to practice a particular pose.   We are usually proud of you for listening to your own body (after all, we’re always telling you this right?!)

Safety in Half Shoulder Stand

My students know that I never teach headstand or full shoulder stand in a group class.  Even one on one, I can count on one hand the amount of students I’ve taught these poses too.   Over the years, I’ve loved practicing them myself yet my body still says “no” sometimes.  If you tick any of these boxes below then I feel you just shouldn’t practice the half shoulder stand.  It isn’t worth the risk and other poses can give similar benefits in a safer way.

  • Neck injury (old or current)
  • Neck or shoulder pain
  • Eye injury, recent eye surgery or any other eye condition (check with your teacher)
  • Feeling dizzy or unwell
  • Menstruating heavily
  • Don’t feel like it
  • Don’t feel safe, strong or stable enough….
  • Any other reason you just don’t want to!

I will continue to teach half shoulder stand like this as it’s nice to provide the opportunity for those students who are able to do it.  Some students love it (including me!) and would feel duped out of giving it a go if I never taught it.  However, I’ll always provide other options for those who are unable for any of the above reasons.

Happy inverting : )

Charley Hickey

 

 

 

If you’d like to learn yoga in a safe environment, especially if you are new to things,  you can view our timetable here and read more about us here

A New Way To Think About Flexibility And Yoga

Yoga And Flexibility

Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

“What will happen if I take a few days off?”  As a small business owner this is the dilemma I’ve mentally tortured myself with many times.

I’m returning to work tomorrow after an unplanned full week off from teaching which prompted me to write this.  (It’s nothing serious so please don’t worry!)

In the past, I used to easily talk myself out of having time off.   In part this was due to my absolute lack of flexibility.   I didn’t want to change things outside of my familiar schedule.  This extended to not wanting to change anyone else’s schedules either, for example the teachers that work for me.  There was also the worry of my students having to have a different teacher.  This lack of flexibility has always caught up with me in the end. Sometimes causing mini-burnouts which I’m sure sound all too familiar to anyone that lives in this century!

More recently, I’ve learnt to ask a newly phrased question instead. “What will happen if I don’t take a few days off?”.  This is a much more sensible and useful question.  It reminds me of times where my body has been sending me clear signals to take time out yet my lack of flexibility has impacted my ability to make a sensible decision.   So often we are giving others advice to slow down and take a rest when needed but it’s much harder to turn that mirror onto ourselves and really see what is needed.

Flexibility And Yoga

It’s my belief that flexibility in yoga is much more about flexibility of mind then flexibility of body.  Being flexible of mind  helps us to get through life shouldering much less stress when things don’t go to plan.  It sounds much like how a regular yoga practice can help us.  The flexibility that you might achieve over time in your physical body through the practice of yoga is great but really just a by-product of yoga rather than one of the goals.

Here is a definition of the word flexible in that physical context:

Flexible (adjective); capable of bending easily without breaking.

However, here is a definition in the context that I believe to be the most relevant in yoga:

Flexible (adjective); ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances

Synonyms –  accommodating, adaptable, amenable, willing to compromise, cooperative, tolerant, forgiving, easy-going.

These words all seem to me like universally useful additions to our personality traits.  Perhaps over time this could allow life to flow along in a  more fluid way thus adding to our overall happiness.   By comparison, being able to touch our toes in terms of physical flexibility seems less meaningful to me in terms of overall well-being and happiness.  Does being able to touch your toes help you and others as much as being flexible and adaptable to changes in your life?

How do you combine flexibility and yoga? Is it more useful to be flexible or flexible?

Charley Hickey

 

 

 

For a hands on learning experience of yoga and flexibility you are welcome to join us for a term of yoga to help improve your “flexibility” whichever way you like!  You can view our timetable here and read more about how we specialise in helping you start your yoga practice especially if you lack flexibility here

Can Yoga Therapy Help Cancer Survivors?

Yoga Therapy Cancer SurvivorsAuthor: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

You can read a bit more about yoga therapy and how it differs from general group yoga classes here

People seek out yoga therapy for all kinds of reasons, that’s true.  However, I’m sure other yoga therapists would agree that cancer is a common one.  We see people in all stages including first diagnosis, during treatment and afterwards.  It’s important to seek out a suitably qualified yoga therapist or yoga teacher.  Preferably one who has additional training or experience dealing with clients going through cancer.  A search on the Australian Association of Yoga Therapists or Yoga Australia website is a good starting point.  If a teacher has been recommended to you, you could simply ask for their experience and training in the area of cancer wellness.  Good yoga therapists do not at all mind these types of questions, in fact, I’d say we expect it!

I am very fortunate that one of my mentor’s during my yoga therapy studies was locally based Naturopath, Yoga Therapist & Teacher Trainer, Chandrika Gibson ND MWell (Owner at Surya Health www.suryahealth.com.au ) .  I would class her as Perth’s leading expert on merging the fields of yoga and cancer wellness.  She works tirelessly in each of these fields whilst also finding time to train yoga therapists through the Living Yoga Therapy Program (www.livingyogatherapy.com)

I feel confident that it’s possible for those diagnosed with cancer to practice yoga at any stage of their diagnosis.  For many, private yoga therapy sessions are best to begin with.  This helps to assess which practices might be suitable.  This can then be adapted as treatment progresses or symptoms change.  For others an initial consultation can be useful to assess their ability to join in at a group class.  Group classes are often possible and have the added benefit of sangha; a community of like-minded individuals, even if they don’t all have cancer.

Here is a first hand account kindly provided by one of my lovely yoga therapy clients Liana.   Her story is one of moving on after her cancer treatment and how yoga therapy helped her to do that.

Yoga Therapy – A Cancer Survivors Story

“I came to yoga therapy after two years of heavy treatment for two different conditions, including breast cancer. The treatment had left me cured, but weak and with a host of physical problems.

Previously I had done many years of yoga and wished to come back to a practice. A yoga therapist is both skilled in yoga and also trained in the assessing of individual’s health needs: this sounded like the perfect option for me.

Yoga therapy was something I actively sought out as it met my current needs. I have also had great assistance from both mainstream and alternative therapies.

I wished to have an accurate assessment of what I could safely accomplish in my current state of health. I was looking for a gentle, safe practice I could begin at home. The practice that was designed for me was exactly right and very beneficial.

The biggest gain from my yoga therapy session was a renewed trust in my body and how to safely extend my physical activities.”

Thanks so much to Liana for allowing us to share her experiences. I hope it encourages others who are in a similar situation to give yoga or yoga therapy a try.

Charley Hickey

What Is Yoga Nidra And Why Should You Practice It?

Yoga Nidra

Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

What is Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra is often referred to as “yogic sleep”.  This can be a little misleading as the idea is not to actually sleep but to enter a state where you can emerge feeling refreshed as you would from sleep.

It’s a much better alternative to taking naps, especially if you are an insomniac (I speak from experience!).  Naps aren’t all bad but if you’re trying to get into a healthy sleep routine then it can be counterproductive to nap during the day when you should be awake.

How to Practice Yoga Nidra

You can use yoga nidra instead and if you’ve ever been to a yoga class, chances are you’ve already practiced it.  Usually you will lie in Shavasana (corpse pose) on your back with the legs extended and arms relaxed by your sides or a supported version if you suffer from pain in a particular area of your body.  Please ask your teacher for guidance on this one.

The teacher will then systematically guide you to different parts of the body one at a time.  You simply bring each part into your awareness as it is mentioned and move onto the next when prompted.  An audio download or cd can be used to practice at home.  The idea is that once confidence is built, guidance is no longer needed and you can practice it on your own.  Yoga nidra induces a relaxed state said to be similar to alpha sleep (stage 1 & 2 of the sleep cycle).

Research & Yoga Nidra

Research has found that Yoga Nidra has been shown to improve stress and anxiety levels and helps in building up the coping ability.  As yoga nidra relaxes the physical as well as the mental stresses, it relaxes the whole central nervous system (Kumar, 2008).  This means that it illicits the relaxation response or parasympathetic nervous system which relaxes the body and aids sleep.

It really is a fantastic practice to learn and master.  It’s a practice I often use myself on those nights where my mind is racing and I’m having trouble quietening it down.

References

Kumar, K. (2008).  A study on the impact on stress and anxiety through Yoga nidra.  Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 7(3), 401-404.

 

If you live in the southern suburbs of Perth and are keen to try out some yoga nidra, we often practice in class.  We are located in Applecross, Fremantle & Bateman & you can view our timetable here

 

How To Master Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

Eagle Pose Garudasana

Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

This week in class we’ve practiced Eagle pose or Garudasana.  It’s a tricky pose to master and is a fairly challenging balance. Garudasana brings the limbs  into the midline of the body and requires internal focus to maintain balance. It also generates a fair bit of warmth in the body as many of the static standing poses do.  This is often a surprising side effect if you are new to yoga.  It is a good example of how we don’t have to go repeatedly through large ranges of movement to generate heat and strengthen the body.  This is what makes yoga so great for anyone unable to do high impact activities due to injury, illness or any other reason.

I broke it up a little for you to make it easier to learn.  We practiced the arms first, from a seated position so you didn’t have to contend with balancing at the same time.  Then we did the legs and then put them together for those of you that wanted to have a go.  Remember that as with all poses, our body always finds its own way of doing it so maybe yours didn’t look quite like in the picture!  That’s ok though!

Modifications For Garudasana

For some of you with dodgy knees, it’s a good idea to do the milder variation of the legs.  This is where you have the big toe of the crossed over leg still resting on the floor to the side.  Over time, this pose is actually a great strengthener for the legs which is beneficial for your knees.  However, initially it’s important not to put the knee into a position that is too precarious if it’s already sore or lacking stability.

Same with the shoulders, if they are really restricted, don’t yank yourself into the arm position.  Instead, find a way of doing it that is manageable for you.   What you often find is  a “sweet spot” just between the shoulder blades or a little off to one side that’s intensely stretching.  You can then pause and enjoy some deep breaths.  This will stretch into the soft tissues around the back of the shoulders as the lungs expand and  stretch from the inside out.

If it interests you to read more, here is a link to a nice article detailing the South East Asian mythology behind “Garuda”.  Garuda is the mythical bird this pose is named for.  Included are some more detailed tips for practicing the pose.  https://yogainternational.com/article/view/garudasana-eagle-pose

Charley Hickey

 

 

 

You can learn more about our classes in Applecross, Fremantle and Bateman here and make a booking here.  If you don’t live nearby, we know lots of warm yoga teachers to refer you onto, just email us here and we’ll try to help you!

How Do I Find My Elusive Toes In My Yoga Practice?

Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

A common question I get asked by students when they have been coming to class for a little while is “When will I be able to touch my toes?”.  I often hear it too from students enquiring about classes.  They are worried about coming to yoga because they can’t  touch their toes.  It concerns me that somewhere along the line; this has become a perceived standalone measure of fitness, flexibility and/or health when it really isn’t.

I think it’s something that has been propagated by toe touching as a common assessment tool.  As yoga therapists (and many other modalities too), when we are assessing, we are rarely measuring against a pre-determined bench mark .  So touching the toes doesn’t mean we’ve completed the assessment well or reached the highest standard.  The measurement is used simply to assess a person now compared to later after we’ve done some practice.  That change can then help us to see if what we are doing is working along with other measures.

I will often ask a client to bend forwards as if to touch their toes for several reasons.  Those reasons are rarely to see if they can actually touch them!  One reason is I like to see how you move when you do a forward bend.  Another is to work out whether it appears that your restriction is in a particular area.  Or to find out if you have any pain or discomfort and where that pain might be.   It’s actually more about how it feels then how it looks.   Soo please, take the pressure off yourself to touch your toes!  If it doesn’t happen EVER then that is fine!  If it does happen for you and you’ve made a change in your body somewhere along the line and that’s what you wanted then that is great too!

What you could do instead is ask yourself some much more constructive questions like:

  •  “Why do I want to touch my toes?” (This one could lead to quite a depth of self inquiry!)
  • “Can I already feel a stretch?”
  • “Where is it pulling exactly?”
  • “If I bend my knees a little, is that easier?”
  • “That feels tighter today than last week, I wonder why that is?”

This curious attitude of self enquiry is what yoga is all about, much more so than touching your toes. Most of us can’t touch our toes right away before warming up .   The picture on the right is a much truer representation of how most of us look trying to forward fold.  Focus instead on how it feels, you really can’t go wrong then!

If you’re in the “not able to touch my toes” category, you are most welcome in our classes!  You can learn more about our classes in Applecross, Fremantle and Bateman here and make a booking here.  If you don’t live nearby, we know lots of  yoga teachers to refer you onto, just email us here and we’ll try to help you!

The “Warm Yoga Movement” are you in it?

Hot Yoga Warm YogaAuthor: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

Yes, it’s a bit of a play on words a usual! If you don’t know me personally, you may be thinking this is another ranting BLOG by someone who hates hot yoga when really it isn’t.  However, it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while to write about.

Do You Teach Hot Yoga?

Usually, the first thing I get asked by students, friends and even strangers is “what kind of yoga do you teach?” It’s an interesting question and one that almost doesn’t have an answer.   At the end of the day, we all teach “yoga”.  However, I do often get asked if I teach that hot yoga.  I think it’s because this is a particular style that in recent years has had lots of media attention and has its lovers and haters.  So, I’ve started answering with “No, I teach warm yoga actually” This is partly because I’m a self confessed smart-ass and can’t help myself but it’s also true!

Teaching Warm Yoga

I teach warm yoga and this is why…. When you turn up to my yoga class I try to be friendly and nice even if you are having a grumpy day yourself. If it’s your first class and you seem a little nervous I might introduce you to a regular student who I know will help you feel at ease.  I will ask your name and try to remember it for next time.

I’ll ask you about your health and give you options during class because I want you to make friends with yourself not harm yourself.  I’ll dim the lights so they’re not shining in your eyes.  Try to ensure you are not too hot or too cold (warm perhaps?!).  I give you permission to leave if you are overwhelmed, quietly cry if you are upset.  Be overweight, stiff, old, cranky or anything else that you happen to be.

It’s All About YOU, Not Me

I’ll give you opportunities to be gentle with yourself and opportunities to challenge yourself.  You will decide each time which options you would like to take depending on how you feel, not me!  I’ll always be here to help you  if you need it though, you can wave at me anytime.  I won’t put you up the front or down the back depending on your ability. I don’t adjust you every five minutes to get you into better “alignment”.  However,  I’ll always let you know if you’re doing something that looks dangerous.

I won’t give you vague, flowery instructions that make no sens to a regular human being new to yoga! I won’t judge you if you are here simply to get in some rest time (sometimes sleep time!).  If you are here purely to tone your abs and don’t listen to a word I say about anything else, no drama.  It’s up to you; it’s your class once you are on your mat and you can take whatever you like from it.

I’m just here, doing my thing, grateful that you are here too and hoping that we can learn from one another.  Are you in the warm yoga movement?

Charley Hickey

 

 

 

If warm yoga sounds good,  you can learn more about our classes in Applecross, Fremantle and Bateman here and make a booking here.  If you don’t live nearby, we know lots of warm yoga teachers to refer you onto, just email us here and we’ll try to help you!

Salute To The Sun For Stiff Bodies

Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

We’ve been practicing salute to the sun or surya namaskar in class this week.  It’s a great sequence but can be tough for beginners, injured or ageing bodies, even the modified versions!  So don’t feel bad it challenged you  or you couldn’t get through it.  Although many classical styles of yoga teach it as a warm-up, I personally feel that it is something that needs to be warmed into which is what we usually do before attempting it in a group class.  Once you are familiar with it, it becomes easier (I promise!).  Some people are able to jump straight into the sequence without any problems and I’m not saying it’s wrong to do that, just not appropriate for everyone and not how I personally like to teach it.  Perhaps it is because I have such a passion for teaching yoga to bodies that are a bit more on the creaky side :)  You can read more below about the sequence and practicing it or here is a printable copy Salute to the Sun Handout if you prefer.

Salute to the Sun – Surya Namaskar

Whether you regularly practice yoga or not, you can enjoy the health benefits of Surya Namaskar – salute to the sun. Performed correctly, it is a completely safe set of yoga poses that will not cause strain or injury (ask your teacher for help beforehand if unsure).

You will experience health benefits by practicing just once daily, but you can also practice the series of poses as often as you like whenever you have time, make it realistic and perhaps start with one round and gradually build up to several once you feel comfortable to do so.  One round is once on each side, so remember to swap legs.

When practiced in the morning, Surya Namaskar relieves stiffness, energizes the body and refreshes the mind. During the day, it is rejuvenating, and at night, Surya Namaskar can help you relax and get a good night’s sleep.

There are numerous variations of the sequence from different yoga traditions and for differing abilities. The sequence below is a slightly modified version which should be suitable for most abilities including beginners.  If you have any concerns about your ability or if you’d like a modified version that is easier or more challenging, ask your instructor for guidance.

Benefits

  • Provides all of the key health benefits of yoga in a very succinct package
  • Workout for the muscles
  • Benefits the joints, ligaments & skeletal system
  • Improves posture, flexibility & balance
  • Stimulates & conditions bodily systems including digestive, nervous, lymphatic and respiratory systems.
  • Benefits endocrine system including thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, adrenal & reproductive glands
  • Relaxing and rejuvenating for mind and body
  • Aids concentration and focus
  • Excellent for managing stress and alleviating depression

The Sequence

salute to sun

In brackets is a suggested breathing sequence if you wish to follow it but as long as you are breathing mindfully that is the main thing. Following the picture, start at the top of the circle.

 

  1. Tadasana/mountain pose. Begin by standing comfortably in a grounded position with the knees unlocked.
  2. Prayer pose (Namaste) – breathe mindfully for a few breaths until you feel ready to continue
  3. Reach the arms up toward the ceiling (IN)
  4. Forward bend from the hips, drop the head down toward the knees and hands towards or touching the floor. Keep knees bent if needed, no need to push here. (OUT)
  5. Low lunge right foot back with back knee down and hands toward or on the floor. (IN)
  6. All fours position briefly then lower hips toward floor elbows pointing backward (OUT)
  7. Low Cobra – pushing through the hands to lift the head and chest (IN)
  8. Downward Facing Dog – push through the hands, lift buttocks toward ceiling and allow heels to drop down towards the floor (OUT)
  9. Low lunge (as #5) right foot forward with back knee down and hands toward or on the floor. (IN)
  10. Forward bend (as #4) from the hips, drop the head down toward the knees and hands towards or touching the floor. (OUT)
  11. Roll back up to standing Reach the arms up (as #3) toward the ceiling (IN)
  12. Tadasana/mountain pose (as #1)

References

http://hubpages.com/health/benefits-of-surya-namaskar