We all know that Yoga can be great for your mind and body but getting started can be difficult if movement is not something that you do often. The Dancing Herbalist wants to help get everyone moving and starting with this series is a great beginners way to get moving or for people who are already movers, adding a new mode of movement into your daily life. Simple Yoga patterns like a Sun Salutation can be great for both stretching and strengthening exercise, making it an ideal daily practice for any individual.
Two weeks ago we introduced you to the Sun Breathe. I highly recommend you check that out and practice that for a few weeks before beginning onto the Sun Salutation if you are new to Yoga. When you are ready to practice a Sun Salutation remember that if you are a beginner mover you may want some props to help you with a Sun Salutation the as you build up your strength and flexibility. You may want Yoga blocks, a mat, and a chair or two. These can all be helpful to support your balance if you think you might fall. It is always nice to have a chair close to you the first time you try a movement in case you lose your balance. You do not want to injure yourself. Safety first.
Lay out your mat and make sure you have enough space around you and that your chair is close by. Adjust your chair’s position as you need. Stand at the front of your mat and begin like with the Sun Breathe. Breathe in and relax your body. Stand with your feet a few inches apart, relax your knees, drop your shoulders down and gently backwards, and bring your hands to your heart center, palms pressed together in front of your chest. Breathe here for a moment and when you are ready, on an out breath, reach your arms up over your head, rotating your palms to face forward. Lengthen your neck upwards and allow for a slight backward bend in your upper shoulders for the heart opening position, or backwards bend. Do not drop your head backwards but think up and pushing your chest up to the sky.
Breathe out and swan dive forward, turn your palms outward and bring your arms down towards the ground, bending your body at your waist, trying to keep a flat back for a forward fold. You may want to put your chair in front of you for this. Make sure your knees are gently bent and not locked straight. Relax your head down and breathe for a few breaths. Relax your weight towards the ground and into the chair if you are using one for support.
Bend your knees more and allow your hands to come to the ground. Step your right leg backwards to the bottom of your mat. This is for your lunge position. Adjust your body as you need, using your chair for support. Aim to have your front foot (left) right under your chest with your knee right above your ankle, meaning toes are more forward than your knee. The first few times you do this lunge keep your hands on your chair or on the floor and right knee on the floor. As you get stronger begin to balance with your hands on your front knee and slowly begin to raise your knee off the floor. This may take a few weeks of daily practice to progress to this point. When you can balance, be sure to lift your chest up and look proudly ahead. Always be looking forward and not at the ground. If you look down you will go down. Look where you want to head!
Stop back in a few days to see part 2 and continue your Sun Salutation learning.
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.