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Monthly Inspiration: July 2015

Salute The Sun

By Lois Nesbitt

July in East Hampton brings long, warm, sunny days with (hopefully!) some time to enjoy the splendor around us. Nature is growing wild; corn and melons and zucchini abound—all the result of that generous light.

I’ve always loved that we start many yoga practices with Sun Salutations. Making that daily nod to the sun reminds us to be grateful for the many ways it nourishes our bodies and spirits. If you’re having a dark day, remember that even plants know to turn toward the light! Watch those sunflowers out in the fields this month, and you’ll see this in action as they daily turn their faces from east to west to follow the sun. Even cut flowers on your dining table will lean toward the nearest window!

The Sun Salutations, or Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, may have come down through history as vestiges of an ancient prayer-in-motion done every morning as the sun rose in the East. I once watched an Indian yogi demonstrate this theory, chanting an ancient prayer to the sun as he moved, with chataranga (lowering all the way to the ground) being a prostration to the sun. So feel free to devote you mind and heart as well as your body to these reverential sequences, and who knows? It might just lighten up your day!

On the practical level, the poses we move through in Sun Salutes: Tadasana (standing), utanasana (standing forward bend), chataranga dandasana, adho mukha svavasana and urdhva mukha svavasana (up dog and down dog), form the building blocks of many of the more advanced poses to come (handstands, full wheel, deep forward bends). Get it right here, and you’re on your way to a strong and healthy practice.  Skip a step, and you’re headed for a plateau.

And while the sun salutations usually serve as a warm up—beware! These are not “beginner” poses, and because they come early in the class, when you may not yet have warmed up or woken up, you could easily do more harm than good as you swing mindlessly through the salutes.  For that reason, this month we’ll be offering you lots of ways to refine your sun salutations, zooming in on common trouble spots and shedding light on how to move with more power and grace. Dealing with an injury? We’ll teach you how to modify. Ready to fly! You’ll learn the secret to “floating” rather than simply jumping forward and back.

And finally, we’ll be breathing breathing breathing, for the sun salutations teach us to synch up movement with breath. So along with our famous East End sunlight, you’ll be taking in this wonderful fresh sea air. Salutations to the light within you all!

Namaste,

Lois Nesbitt

KamaDeva Yoga, 15 Lumber Lane, 2nd Fl, East Hampton, NY 11937 Tel: 917.301.6919 Monthly Inspiration Archives