This is one of my favorite Yoga practices; Taking a sun breath. It is great to get you moving first thing in the morning as a way to greet the sun that does not require much movement. It is ideal for beginner movers that have low flexibility and that may be cautious about beginning Yoga. For new movers, this is best done with a chair for support the first few times until you feel comfortable that your body can support itself in this movement pattern.
If you have a Yoga mat that’s great! It is not necessary however. Stand at the front of your mat. If using a chair, place it facing you about 2 feet in front of you.
Breathe in and out. Relax your body.
Place your feet about 8 in away from each other (the width of a piece of paper). Make sure your toes are facing forward. Gently bend your knees to make sure your legs are not locked. Bring your hips to a neutral location by tipping them forward and backwards. Find a space between your most forward and most backward location. Lift your shoulders up and down a few times to release the tension in your shoulder. Proudly, lift your hand so your chin is parallel to the ground. This may feel uncomfortable the first few times you do it but feel proud to be who you are.
You are now ready to begin the Sun Breath.
Breathe in, keeping your shoulders relaxed, bring your hands to your heart, pressing your palms against each other in front of your chest. Breathe in and out a few breaths in this space, relaxing your body. Allow your eyes to close if you choose. On an in breathe, raise your hands upwards above your head, allowing your hands to separate. Lift your chin upwards rotate your palms to face forward and gently lift your chest upwards for a slight backwards bend.
Turn your palms away from each other and bring your arms out and down while breathing out. Allow your hands to move towards the ground (or chair) and bend your body at your hips. Relax your head down and breathe for a few breaths in this position. Make sure your knees are not locked and bend them slightly if needed to support your back.
When you are ready breathe in and put your hands on your knees. Flex your back from the relaxed curve to a flat back that is parallel to the ground. If your body is not this low, focus on tipping your hips forward and slightly arch your back by putting pressure into the chair with your hands, allow your stomach to drop down.
Breathe out and again relax down as much as you are able. Remember to not lock your knees. Breathe in and begin to arch your back, bring your arms out to the side and begin to raise your body upwards. Use the chair for support if needed. When your body is again upright, bring your arms again up over your head, pressing your palms together.
Complete your first sun breathe by opening your arms outwards, turn your palms away from each other and circle them down and back up to your heart center, palms together in front of your chest.
Practice 2-3 sun breaths every day to revitalize your body with fresh air, get your blood moving, and greet the day.
Please look forward to seeing our post next week on the next level of this Yoga practice: the Sun Salutation.
Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. The Dancing Herbalist posts on this blog every Thursday. For more of our posts, join us on Patreon. Jillian also presents regular live classes in The Dancing Herbalist’s home herbalist courses online. For more learning opportunities or to work one-on-one with Jillian with her wellness and herbal consultationsvisit The Dancing Herbalist.com.