Sun Salutation, part 3

Be sure to learn the first part of the Sun Salutation and then the second before continuing on to the final part of learning how to do a Sun Salutation.

From downward dog, use your chair if you need balance support, and bring your right leg up between your hands for your second lunge, on the other leg than the first time. The rest of the Sun Salutation sequence is just a repetition of the beginning to balance the body as you come back to standing. Again, aim to have your front foot (right) directly under your chest with your knee right above your ankle, meaning toes are more forward than your knee. Keep your back leg as straight as possible but relax your knee to the ground if you need the additional support. Remember you also have your chair for balance. Look up and breathe, relaxing into the stretch.

Use momentum or the help of your chair to swing your back foot up to meet your front foot, keeping them a few inches apart. Straighten your legs for a forward bend. Relax your body down towards the ground or into your chair and breathe for a few moments. You are near the end.

Either use your chair or, if you are able, reach your arms out to the sides and raise your body upwards. Bring your arms back up over your head, palms forward for a gentle backwards bend. Breathe and relax your shoulders down. Reach your chest up.

Complete your first Sun Salutation by coming back up from your shoulders and head back to front and bringing your hands back down to your heart center. Allow a gentle smile to cross your face. Traditionally this is now half way through a Sun Salutation as it can be done twice to make sure that you initiate the lunges from each leg. Think first time right foot back then right foot forward. Second time left foot back then left foot forward. This is not always necessary if time is not allowed to you. As you become more comfortable with a Sun Salutation aim to do a cycle with initiating from each leg and then eventually get to doing up to 3-5 times initiating from each leg a day. This is best achieved when you begin to include systematic breathing with your movements.

The first few days to few weeks you practice this I recommend that you go slowly and spend a few breaths in each position. Even when you are more comfortable with the movements you may want to do one cycle slow still every day. As you become more comfortable with the postures and transitions between them you can begin to add more specific breathing patterns to your Sun Salutations. Follow this chart to know when to breathe in and out to best integrate your breathing with your movements.

A note on hands: In theory this entire movement sequence can be done with your hands and feet in one position and not moving once they touch the ground other than stepping the feet back. As you continue this practice keep this in mind and it will help you with your body alignment at each position.

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.

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