Summer Salutations: Poses to Honor the Sun and Stay Cool

Lena Schmidt

Warmer days make for lazy yogis. Whether you’re vacationing or working through the season, sometimes a regular yoga practice falls by the wayside in the summer months.

As you move into the final months of the summer season, you should honor the light and life-giving force of the sun. Egyptians, Indians, Romans, Greeks, Aztecs, and cultures on every continent have worshiped the sun for thousands of years. Yogis around the world practice Sun Salutations to stretch, strengthen, and promote flexibility in the body. The tradition of saluting the sun also invites practitioners to cultivate a sense of gratitude for the sun, life, their own breath and body, and all that is. Whether you practice Vinyasa flow regularly or are in need of a mid-summer pickup, this series of poses offers something for everyone.

Below you’ll find three sequences, all variations of traditional Surya Namaskars, dedicated to finding fluidity and peace in your body and mind. Sun Salutations are designed to warm the body, especially as the movements are coordinated with vigorous breath. The following sequences, however, offer variations that keep you closer to the earth and feature longer forward folds intended to keep the body cooler and the mind at ease.

1. Modified Surya Namaskar (A)

Enjoy this sequence to ease back into your practice, move the spine slowly, and honor the earth as well as the sun.

  • Begin standing with feet hips width apart (Tadasana). Enjoy a few breaths to center, ground, and cultivate an intention.
  • Inhale and reach your arms up overhead (Urdva Hastasana).
  • Exhale and fold forward over your legs. Allow your arms and head to hang heavy (Uttanasana).
  • Inhale and lift up halfway to a long, strong spine. Bring your hands to your shins, the earth, or blocks for support (Ardha Uttanasana).
  • Exhale, fold forward, and step back to Plank Pose (Phalankasana).
  • Inhale and bring your knees to the earth (modified Plank Pose).
  • Exhale, bend your elbows, and lower your chest and chin to the ground (Ashtanga Namaskara).
  • Inhale and slide through onto your belly to a low chest opener (Bhujangasana).
  • Exhale, then push back to hands and knees and all the way back to Child’s Pose (Balasana).
  • Rest in Child’s Pose for three deep breaths.
  • Push up to your hands and knees, tuck your toes under, and lift your hips high for Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana).
  • Take several steps forward to …read more
    Source: Deepak Chopra
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