Yoga: Sun Salutation III
Welcome to the third installment of our Sun Salutation vinyasa! I hope that you have been able to practice the asanas from week one and week two, but if you’re just joining us now, it’s not too late to catch up!
Last week we ended with Downward Facing Dog. From that position, lower yourself back into Plank, feeling the stretch in the back of your legs and the strength building in your arms and shoulders. Breathe deeply and steady yourself, body and mind. Now we can begin to learn a few new poses!
From Plank, lift one foot off of the ground and swing it forward, planting it between your hands. Be mindful here to keep your knee stacked directly over your ankle. Your hands can stay where they are to help you balance, but the majority of your weight should be supported by your forward leg. Keep your other leg straight and strong, stretching out behind you. Remain here for a few breaths while you feel the gentle stretch in your groin.
When you are sturdy and relaxed in Runner’s Lunge, pick your hands up and raise them towards the sky. This is Crescent Lunge. Keep your legs strong and steady- this pose may challenge your balance! While keeping yourself rooted, lengthen your spine and engage your core. Crescent Lunge can help alleviate sciatic nerve pain, improve stability, and strengthen your legs.
To move into Warrior I, simply take the heel of your leg that is extended behind you and rotate it to rest your whole foot on the ground. This easy movement opens your hips to improve flexibility and relieve tightness in your groin, which can be extremely beneficial to anyone who is seated most of the day while working.
After a few breaths in Warrior I, open your chest by extending one arm out in front of you and the other out behind you. Relax your shoulders and try to keep your arms parallel to the ground as you hold this pose- Warrior II. By this time, you’ll likely be feeling the burn in your legs! Focus your energy on maintaining a strong base, and with each breath bring in determination and exhale any discomfort you might be experiencing. Warrior II helps build stamina and concentration, and also improves circulation.
Now, take your forward pointing hand and reach up and back over your head. Let your other hand rest gently on your straightened leg and enjoy the stretch throughout your back and side. This asana is known as Reverse Warrior, and is wonderful for improving the flexibility of your spine.
From here, you may work your way back through each pose, moving fluidly. Tip your arms forward for Warrior II, then swing them gracefully overhead for Warrior I. Pick up your heel to return to Crescent Lunge. Now you may lower your arms and rest your hands on each side of your foot in Runner’s Lunge. Repeat each of these postures with your other leg forward in order to balance your body.
These asanas may challenge your strength, stamina, and balance. Please take each pose at your own pace and comfort level, remembering to breathe deeply and think positively. I’ve heard yoga described as a way to find comfort in uncomfortable positions, so please remember the strength that your mind can provide as your body becomes accustomed to each pose. Keep practicing, and I’ll see you next week to finish up our Sun Salutation Vinyasa!