Salute to the Sun – A revitalising yoga practice
Over the past few months we have seen and experienced vast change. During the months of Spring came turbulence, our rhythms shifting drastically, some for the good, some for the worse. This pause that has been thrust upon us has meant that we have literally had to stop and change course. Change the way we interact with others, change the way we work and change our approach to life as a whole.
At the start of lockdown I felt very confused about nearly everything. I couldn’t think straight and found myself launching into new plans and projects almost instantly. I felt a need to fill time, to feel productive with my day to day even though as a parent I couldn’t have done anymore. Over time, however I started to feel more comfortable with this slower pace of living, and every morning I would step outside and sit with the wonder of nature. Meditating to bird song, merging with the sky, mindfully walking around our garden to see what else I soak up for inspiration. And there each day was the Sun, rising in such a beautiful way. I hadn’t felt so inspired in such a long time and started to enjoy my time with my family more and more as the pressure eased a little.
Now, we are in June, the first month of summer and I already feel as though we have passed through this season. Do we have more to come? I find myself asking. The Sun has lifted me so much, each and every day. I have never felt such a reverence towards its ability to lift and nurture us in so many ways.
This time inspired me to record a short yoga practice centring around the Sun Salutation sequence or Surya Namaskar in sanskrit. It is a very beautiful practice to explore and a wonderful way to tap into our inner source of power, energy and consciousness in direct relationship to those qualities of the Sun. In the month of June we will move towards the Summer Solstice, so I offer this practice to you as a celebration of the Sun and ask that you connect yourselves further towards your own inner source of light, warmth, clarity and power. And, as we move forwards with new rhythms once more perhaps there is some joy to be found by connecting our outer and inner worlds in this way.
A practice in honour of the sun
Sun salutations form a moving meditation and act as a worship in praise of the Sun and of our own inner Sun.
“You are saluting the outside sun for providing life to the planet, and your internal sun for providing consciousness,” Richard Rosen
When you take this practice reflect upon the qualities of the Sun, such as its wonderful ability to nourish the Earth, to nurture us and nourish us all, to provide light, to enable us to see clearly and to provide a great source of heat, warmth and comfort.
Connect the Sun that is outside to the Sun that exists within you.
Tune into the sounds, to my voice, the guidance that is provided but equally to your inner voice. Often you may feel the need to take an extra breath here or there, you may need to rest a little longer or move more quickly once you become familiar with the sequence. You may want to pause the sequence and continue to take a few more rounds on your own in silence. It is a practice designed to be explored and taken slowly.
Maintain a sense of your chosen quality to rest at your heart space as you make your way through the practice. Notice how you feel at the start of the practice, during and at the end. Pay attention to shifts in energy, focus and over all wellbeing. Sun salutations are designed to invigorate and strengthen the entire system and are a wonderful way to start your day.
Surya Namaskar is a wonderful way to become aware of the pulses of energy and power of flow that is in your system from each moment to the next. When you complete the practice be with your breath for a few moments and let your chosen quality of the sun resonate with you.
Upon completion continue to resonate with the qualities of the Sun and reflect upon your experience. Sequences such as this can be massively uplifting physically, energetically, emotionally and mentally.
Please use support where you need to and as always only move within a range that is useful to you and that doesn’t compromise your balance of effort and ease. Over time I hope to add modifications for this practice and break down further ways for us to access similar energising qualities. These sequences are suitable for beginners through to experienced practitioners. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes to move, rest and to reflect.
*You don’t need to practice Sun Salutations in order to honour the Sun, you could equally sit and resonate with these qualities as you tune into your breath. Observing and reflecting upon the connections between inner and outer light in a more subtle and meditative way.
“Just a hint of thunder clouds
in the evening sky.
On summer mountains,
the faint disk of the moon –
night just beginning.”