In praise of Sun Salutations

It took me about 3 years to finally feel comfortable doing Sun Salutations.  I would squint and puzzle and squish my face through the series a few times and then plop back into the hot springs. I’d struggle with synchronizing my breath and figuring out whether I should breathe in or out as I stepped back and how long I should stay in Downward Facing Dog.

Then it “clicked” for me one morning, and it became my new addiction. What a remarkable feeling, bending forward and backward, upside down and right side up.

Then I learned the drshti for each pose, and how to jump back, and then I found the bandhas through the glorious repetition and flow. When I learned that there were mantram for each of the “stations” in the cycle, I was over the moon! There’s no part of my mind or body that this wonderful series doesn’t wring and wash out, and leave better than before.

Whether you put a plank before or after your dog, throw your warrior in for “B” versus “A”, go slow or fast, the beauty of the series is that once engaged, the flow will teach you where and how to go, will lead your breath in the right direction and your mind into peaceful water. The series can be fast or slow, exercise or meditation – or both, few or many, sinewy or rigorous – infinitely modifiable, portable and indescribably subtle.

My favorite place for Sun salutations is on a particular mesa overlooking the hoodoos outside Chaco Canyon, with my YogaPaws on and no one else in sight – and out there you can see a long, long way.  That’s just about tied with the plateau above Angel Peak  behind the Orwellian sounding “Land Farm”  – another story.

The YogaPaws turn a good core workout into an amazing experience of solid, centered energy and reveal how much work the yoga mat regularly does in yoga poses. It’s a revelation.

So now you know where I’m off to for the next for week or so. There’s another post queued up, and it’s a good one – a link to my new favorite meditation. I’ve gotta go get me some Sun Salutations right now – then you’ll find me somewhere lost among the hoodoos. No phone, no computer, no talking. Just walking, yoga and land. Ahhhhhh.

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