Ever felt yourself going through the motions of a yoga pose without focus or purpose? I think most yogis who’ve been practicing for a while have this experience, at least sometimes.
Several years ago, I found myself rushing through the Sun Salutation, praying for the series to end so I could move on to asanas I enjoyed more. I hated the way the pose strained my wrist and left me breathless, and it seemed to take forever to get through five or six of them. But since appreciating whatever you’re doing is a key spiritual teaching, I knew I had to do something to change my perspective.
Hoping to discover an interesting variation, or maybe a discussion that would reinvigorate this vinyasa, I decided to search “sun salutation” on my computer. What I found was so much better than I expected. Several sites suggested visualizations to use during each stage of the series. Although no one recommendation appealed to me, by adapting ideas from a variety of sites, then adding some of my own, I created a visualization that made my heart sing. Since then I have adored this flowing series, and I get so much out of performing it.
Sun Salutations: From tiring to inspiring
When I had the main character in my new spiritual women’s novel take up yoga, it seemed only right that I should have her discover this great visualization. Below is what she does on her yoga teacher’s recommendation. Try it the next time you’re doing Sun Salutation and see if it breathes new life into your practice, too.
Position 1: Palms together at my chest. I connect with the loving energy inside my heart.
Position 2: Stretching my arms out, up, and back. I envision the warmth of the sun and indeed the entire universe dancing on my face.
Position 3: Folding forward toward the ground. I expand my appreciation to all of Mother Earth.
Position 4: Left leg back, left knee on the floor, back arched, arms stretching up. I remember that even when I feel low, I’m always connected to my higher self.
Position 5: Both legs back, arms straight in Plank. I get in touch with the inner strength that never leaves me.
Position 6: Lowering knees, chest and chin to the ground. I remember to be humble around other people, since they, too, are extensions of the universal energy.
Position 7: Pelvis to the floor, chest rises up into Cobra Pose. I extend my sense of oneness to all the animals in the world.
Position 8: I make the upside-down V that is Downward Dog. I can’t remember what my teacher said about this one, so I just give the universe a quick, friendly wave of my butt.
Position 9: Left leg forward, right knee on the floor, back arched, arms stretching up. I start to rise up to my full potential.
Position 10: Folding forward as in position 3. I remember to pause to gather my inner resources before taking action.
Position 11: Stretching up and back. I open to the full universal energy once more.
Position 12: Palms together at my chest. I realize this higher power always resides inside me.