There will be no classes on the following dates 6 Thurs, 10 Mon, 13 Thurs and 17 Mon August 2015.
Last Thursday we practiced a very special Surya Namaskrara (Sun Sequence) for those that wanted the opportunity of being able to continue their yoga practice during this period of no classes.
This sequence is a well-known and most people will be aware of it in some shape or form. Its versatility makes it an ideal sequence to learn for all abilities. It is a true all-rounder! Physically, it works all the major muscles groups and joints, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists. It strengthens the core muscles and enhances spine flexibility resulting in a stronger back. Stimulates and balances all systems including reproductive, circulatory, respiratory, digestive and influences endocrine glands. Focusing on breath during this sequence calms, increases mental clarity and brings fresh oxygenated blood to the brain. Perfect to do as the sun is rising early in the day or when setting, added bonus if outside – but good at anytime of the day just make sure the stomach is empty for full benefits. Using the vision/presence of the sun as an ever-giving source of light and energy, infusing the body with healing and vitality.
SURYA NAMASKARA – KEY MOVES
- BACKWARD/FORWARD BEND
- RUNNER WITH TWIST (RIGHT LEG BACK)
- RUNNER (left leg back)
REPEAT STARTING WITH LEFT LEG BACK – one round completed.
Start by standing in tadasana and taking the time to settle and prepare. When ready engage your core muscles bringing the hands together in prayer hand mudra in front of the chest. Breathing in take your hands up and complete with a gentle backbend, on an out breath release into a flowing forward bend. In soft flowing moves return to backward bend, repeat 3 times. Remembering to engage your core muscles and relax the shoulders. Complete the move with a forward bend, placing hands either side of the feet.
Take the right foot back into runner, engaging core muscles straightening the torso, facing forward – settle the body. Placing the left hand on the bent front knee, place the right arm behind the lower back with the palm facing outwards. (see photo below) Take a breath in and extend the spine, on out breath twist to the right making the sure the knee does collapse to the side and stays facing forward. (Ensure knee is over the ankle). Return to the front placing right hand on to the left knee. Release the left arm and place along the lower back with palm facing outwards. Extend the spine on breath in and when releasing the breath twist to the left. Hold for a couple of breaths. Return on exhalation. Bring your hands down to either side of the feet bending forwards.
Taking weight on to your hands, take the left leg back to form the plank. (Body and legs in a straight line) Slowly lower your body to the mat. Rest for a few breaths.
Refresh the core muscles and lift the upper body into either cobra/sphinx pose. Ensuring navel in connected to the mat and extend the spine without engaging the buttock muscles. Release back down on to the mat.
Rest for a while in Makarasana (crocodile) lying flat on the mat, forehead resting on your hands, legs separated with heals falling inwards. Breath deeply. Release and relax during this moment of stillness.
Curling your toes under ready for movement, push the weight up and back towards thighs as the knees lift off the mat. (You may want to move feet slightly forwards) Allow the hips to raise, lift up on to the toes of the feet. Taking the focus into the extension of the spine, allow the heals to release to the mat. Hold for a couple of breaths. Take a moment to prepare to bring the right leg forward into runner.
Put both hands on the knee and take time to settle the torso into its upright position. Leave the right hand on the right knee, releasing the left hand around the lower back, palm facing outwards. Take a breath in, extend the spine and twist to the left, hold for a couple of breathes. Release the twist repeating to the other side with left hand on right knee, right arm along the lower back, palm facing outwards. Twist to the right. After a couple of breaths release the twist and return to the front.
Bending forwards and placing hands either side of the foot, bring the left leg forward into forward bend. Take a moment to enjoy this inversion. Refresh core muscles and start to slowly rebuild the spine to standing, keep the flow moving by taking the arms above into a soft backward bend. Repeat twice more. Eventually bringing the arms down into prayer hand mudra in front of the heart. Take a moment to scan the body and note any changes or sensations.
Then repeat by taking the left leg back into runner to complete one round.
Do as many rounds as you desire or simply concentrate on each move, taking your time just to honour sequence and your time. Put on some beautiful music and enjoy loosing yourself within the music and movement.
(see the placement of the arm behind the back, ready for the twist)
So many benefits with this posture:
1. Forward and backward bend – strengthening the back and flexing the spine, make sure you engage your core/abdominal muscles to protect the lower back.
2. Runner – giving a lovely stretch to psoas muscles situated deep within the anterior hip joint and lower spine – it is the only muscle that connects the upper extremity to the lower … ( Jo Ann Staugaard-Jones) 2012:10)
3. The twist will help squeeze the digestive system – keeping it regular.
4. Cobra/Sphinx – strengthens the back, extends the spine and tones the digestive/abdominal area.
5. Makarasana – balancing the endocrine system and emotions. It allows all the systems and spine to settle and relax.
6. Adhomukha Svanasana (Dog) – replenishes vitality. works all the major muscles and joints and allows the body to let go of the past.
7. Tadasana – allowing the body to calm and bring a sense of well-being after completing the sequence. Cherish this moment and take time to absorb its gifts.
CLASSES RESUME ON THURSDAY 20 AUGUST AT 6.30PM UNTIL 7.45PM. MONDAY CLASSES WILL CONTINUE DURING THE MONTH OF AUGUST AT 6.30PM ‘OUTSIDE’ AT NAWORTH HOUSE, GREEN HAMMERTON, YORK.