The Salute to the Sun is probably the most famous sequence of yoga postures. In Sanskrit it is called SURYA NAMASKARA and this practice has been handed down from the enlightened sages of the Vedic Age.
In ancient times the sun was worshipped as the life giving force. Though I don’t worship the sun myself, after 3 weeks of rain it did feel like a blessing this morning when I awoke and saw the sun light flooding into my bedroom.
The versatility of this range of movements make it one of the most useful methods of making your body healthy, vigorous and active. The group of postures can be performed slowly or quickly and are a very effective way of loosening up, stretching, massaging and toning all of the joints, muscles and internal organs of the body.
At my Manton classes we have been learning a simplified version with a variety of modifications to enable all levels of fitness to benefit from this practice.
If you want to start feeling better than ever why not give yoga a try? Unlike most get-fit campaigns or diets yoga focuses on well-being and making you feel good rather than all sweaty and denying you of your favourite things. There is a growing body of scientific research to show that yoga is beneficial for many complaints and even the NHS is beginning to take the practice seriously. See their web page http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/yoga.aspx which states “Yoga is now commonplace in leisure centres, health clubs, schools, hospitals and surgeries.”
A typical yoga class will be split into 3 sections – focus and warm up, posture practice and finally breath work and relaxation. The focus and warm up part helps you to concentrate your mind on what you are doing and warm up the joints and muscles of the body in preparation for the posture work – like warrior or tree pose which I’m sure you will associate yoga with.
The postures will be taught to you for specific benefits – you may be working with the warrior poses to build strength in your limbs or you may practice ‘salute to the sun’ which is a flow of postures one into another. Some poses twist the torso and spine to flush the internal organs with fresh blood and ease out any tension in the spine. Other poses are balances which require 100% focus and concentration. Some poses will rejuvenate and invigorate and others will settle the body ready for relaxation. It will depend on your teacher, the time of day and goals of your practice.
Finally the breathing and relaxation section of the class will assist you to bring your body and mind to stillness and clear it of stress. This allows the body to function as it was originally designed to – from the very cellular level renewing and detoxifying in the way nature intended. The relaxed body will then be carefully awakened with some deep breaths to ensure that you are ok to leave the class – back to complete awareness, not drowsy but alive with renewed energy and vigour.
How does this make you slim, calm and sexy? The posture work elongates the muscles and defines the torso and limbs. The relaxation reduces stress, reduces wrinkles and makes you calm. Now you have a slinky body and have stopped shouting at the kids, you look attractive and feel happy about yourself – et voilà – bring on the passion!
British Wheel of Yoga Instructor, Deborah King runs classes in Manton Village Hall on Monday mornings 10 – 11 and Tuesday evenings 6 -7. Classes are strictly limited – please book your place in advance on 07973508547 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been so cold today I had to do a bit of a quick warm up in the office. The cat was not happy but I persisted in my ‘Salute to the (not seen much around here lately) Sun’. A quick 5 minutes later and my blood was warm enough to get my brain and fingers working. There is a rather lovely version on Youtube with exotic music – nice!