A few weeks ago in class, my yoga instructor Jessica said If you can do the Sun Salutations, you can do anything. The Ashtanga practice opens with ten of them: Five of Surya Namaskara A followed by five of Surya Namaskara B.
Like many a yoga pose, they appear deceptively easy. However, when I first started practicing I struggled with finding the stamina to complete the series, especially once we hit B and had to contend with Chair Pose. Only ten minutes into a ninety minute class and I'd already be drenched in sweat.
Nearly a year later and not only do I have the energy to do the full ten salutations, but I can roll over my toes from Upward Facing Dog into Downward Facing Dog. More recently I found that I am able to jump back from Half Standing Forward Bend into Plank. While I'm still working on lowering down into Chaturanga, every time I do a Sun Salutation, be it in Ashtanga class or at home, I am able to see progress as my body gets stronger and my practice goes deeper.
Have faith in what your body is telling you and it will never disappoint.
Recently I've begun starting my mornings with my own mini home practice by utilizing the Sun Salutations to their intent, as way of bowing to the sun and thanking it for the light and life it brings to the world. Without the sun, there would be no life on earth and it deserves to be respected and honored for what it offers us (yes, yes, this is my inner crunchy granola coming out).
Each morning I wake up, I feed the cats, then I roll my yoga mat out onto my bedroom floor and get to work. In the beginning I used to do it in a mirror, as a way to check my form, but quickly stopped. The mirror proved too distracting, an excuse to focus on outside perceptions, and ultimately took away from the true purpose of the asanas.
Ten to fifteen minute addition to my morning routine, yet somehow it manages to completely transform not only my entire day but my entire attitude. It's as if by opening my heart each morning and embracing the sun, I'm able to channel the light it gives. I'm not really sure how else to explain it.
Look at it this way: Ten Sun Salutations (followed by my daily plank) was the only warm-up I did before Saturday's 5K and I totally killed it. I realize correlation is not causation, but still. There it is.
Of course, I sometimes jokingly make fun of my friend Lisa whenever she talks about doing her own morning stretches. Guess I'm gonna have to stop doing that now, huh?
Speaking of yoga, don't forget that tomorrow is Virtual CurveFest, hosted by Anna at Curvy Yoga! It's going to be a fun, fabulous, and FREE day of body lovin' yoga so hopefully you'll register and join the rest of us!
Love from the ashes,