Exercises- Sun Salutation

  1. Start by standing with your feet hip width apart, in a space where you have around a meter of available floor around you.  
  2. Lift your head up towards the ceiling, bring your shoulder blades towards one another and down on your back, and lengthen your lower back. You may feel a tightening of the abdominal muscles. 

We’re going to try a few versions of this. Here is one version. 

  1. Inhale through your nose as you reach your arms to the sides and up, over your head.  If you do not have space next to you, reach your arms forward and up.
  2. As you exhale, lower your hands in front of you, down by your sides.
  3. Repeat this 5-10 times.
  4. Return to stand and take 5 long breaths in and out through your nose.  Observe the rhythm of your breath and your heart beating. You might notice that your body feels different from before you began the exercise.

Okay, we will now make some adaptations for a second version of this exercise. 

  1. Again, inhale as you reach your arms up over your head.
  2. Exhale as you bend your knees and fold over your legs.
  3. Inhale as you place your hands on your shins and make your back flat as you reach your head towards the wall in front of you.
  4. Exhale as you fold back over your legs so the top of your head points towards the ground
  5. Inhale as you come up to stand, keeping your back flat and reaching your arms to the side and up over your head. 
  6. Exhale as you lower your hands back down by your sides.
  7. Repeat this 5 times. 

Remember to breathe, and try to align your breaths with the various movements. 

  1. Return to stand and take 5 long breaths in and out.  Observe the rhythm of your breath and your heart beating.  You might notice that your body feels different from before you began the exercise.

Great, well done. And finally, we will now try a third version of this exercise. 

  1. Inhale as you reach your arms up over your head.
  2. Exhale as you bend your knees and fold over your legs.
  3. Inhale as you place your hands on your shins and make your back flat as you reach your head towards the wall in front of you.
  4. Exhale as you fold over your legs. Bend your knees and place your hands on the ground.
  5. Inhale as you walk your hands forward so you make a long line from the top of your head to your heels–a “plank” shape.  Make sure your knees are straight and your hands are under your shoulders.
  6. Exhale as you bend your elbows, lowering all of the way down onto the ground. You can lower your knees down first for additional support. Untuck your toes so the top of your feet are on the ground.
  7. Inhale as you place your hands under your shoulders with your elbows pointing back to your legs.  Without using your arm muscles, lift your chest and head off of the ground coming into a small back bend.
  8. Exhale as you lower your head back down to the ground and tuck your toes.
  9. Inhale as you push your hands and feet down into the ground, while activating your abdominal muscles to come back into your plank shape.
  10. Exhale as you walk your hands back to your feet coming into a forward fold.
  11. Inhale as you place your hands on your shins and make your back flat.
  12. Exhale as you release your head down coming into a forward fold.
  13. Inhale as you reach your arms out to the side and come up to stand, keeping your spine flat.
  14. Exhale as you lower your arms down by your sides.
  15. Repeat 5 times or however many times you want.
  16. Return to stand and take 5 long breaths in and out, through the nose.  Observe the rhythm of your breath and heart beating.  You might notice that your body feels different from before you began the modified sun salutation.

 

Conclusion

 

And we’re done. This exercise has quite a few movements, activating various muscle groups and helping you breathe deeper and deliberately. The repetition is important as you build up your interoception skills and learn how to tune your breath to your body. You can use this exercise when feeling down, tired, stiff, sad, or as a daily exercise to energize and move your body throughout the day.