please check out my latest update to “We Are ONE” on the “page” side of my blog, to the right. every week i’ll upload a few more pages of this picture book for you.
wow, the “brains” behind wordpress have really messed me up! somehow they’ve changed the editing format and i can’t see what i’m typing, so bear with me if things are…weird. i’ll do my best, and shoot them an e-mail to tell them of their well-intentioned, but mis-placed latest updates!
i wanted to share today, the joy of stretching. simple hatha yoga changed my life, literally. yesterday i had the pleasure of introducing a new friend to sun salutes, and today i am with you, too. if you haven’t already tried this easy-to-do, yet life-changing method of stretching-along-with-breathing, i’m encouraging you, right here, right now, to try it.
this drawing is my version of a sun salute. i drew it to illustrate how one must imagine their own “private sun” above them, because i was teaching at the time to girls in prison. even if you’re in a cell, you can bow and honor the source of all life on Earth…the sun. here’s the 12 steps (poses, called “asanas”) of a sun salute, surya namaskar, a yoga vinyasa (series of flowing poses).
and here are simple, step-by-step directions, and PLEASE, enjoy yourself!
1. go very slowly. you will increase speed as you loosen up. first poses is standing with hands folded at your heart, breathe in and out, and steady your busy mind by focusing your eyes on one spot. thank you says your body, your heart, and your mind. end on an exhale.
2. inhale and lift your arms overhead, either to the side, like opening wings, or just up and over your head. keep your legs straight and only bend over backwards if you feel like it. that can come later. on this first round of the sun salute it’s good to stay in each of the 12 poses for several breaths. up to you, but don’t rush. eventually, you will coordinate the poses with your in and out breathing, but for now…just enjoy the stretch and stay with what your body tells you (huh?) it needs, like how many breaths do you want to stretch this particular way.
3. exhale and slowly arch your back and bend forward. let your head and neck completely relax. Hang there. Hang hang hang. let gravity do some work for a change. when you’re ready to go into the next pose, engage your abs so you protect your back.
4. inhale and take your right leg backwards into a full lunge. MOST IMPORTANT here is to make sure your left knee is directly over your left ankle. place fingertips of floor, torso goes downward, as your back gently bends upward. again, enjoy the stretch for several breaths at the beginning of your practice.
5. exhale and bring your left leg back along your right and make a high arch with your butt way up in the sky, into a “downward dog” pose. let your head go completely loose. don’t worry if your feet don’t completely go flat, that will happen eventually. point here is to PUSH away from the floor with your hands (shoulder-width apart) and up with your strong legs (hip-width apart) with your hands energetically engaged with the floor, the index fingers pointing straight ahead. enjoy your breath.
6. here you have a choice! ahhhh, choices. that which makes or breaks our lives. beginnings sink to your knees now, and slowly come forward onto your belly, not moving your arms, into a “small cobra.” more seasoned stretchers, you can, with your elbows CLOSE TO YOUR BODY 9otherwise you’ll compromise your rotator cuff, in shoulder joint), “swoop” your body in an arcing motion, from a bent-knee half-bow to… a beautiful, graceful “big cobra”…with arms more fully extended, but with your pelvic bones still on or nearly on the floor. enjoy your breath. eventually, this will all be accomplished on a single exhale. really.
7. inhale and enjoy the snake pose, bhujangasana, “the cobra.” keep your pelvic bones as close or on the floor as you can, while streching the lower back muscles, gentle!
8. exhale and push yourself back into the downward dog position. check your alignment (arms shoulder-width; feet hips-width, arms pushing, butt upward…so much to remember, but hey! you’re your OWN TEACHER!!!) EMPOWERMENT…it’s YOU! right within your own self.
9. inhale and bring your right leg forward into a lunge on the oother side. you may have to “help” your leg get up there at first, so just hop it along, but make sure your right knee is directly over that right ankle. thank you.
10. exhale and push yourself into a forward bend, and fell the difference. ommygod!! you are probably fainting from sheer pleasure at this point. i know i am with each first sun salute of the day. yummmmm.
11. inhale and please engage your abs before you stretch up and over your head with your arms straight, and palms eventually touching, into a small backbend, if you wish only. with ab muscles still engaged …
12. bring yourself from the little standing backbend into your original pose, the moutain, “tadasana.” With hands at your heart give great thanks to the sun (still above you, even if only in your mind!) and the life it shines upon this gorgeous blue garden planet of ours, which grows such delicious things as you, and all the food we need to sustain ourselves.
Repeat the above with your LEFT leg back, and bringing your left leg forward at end of the vinyasa.
By learning to empower your own self, using your body to strengthen your life, center your stormy emotions, and uplift your small-things centered mental faculties, your life will automatically expand. the teacher is within you. your body is a gift. keep it strong, clean, and agile, and you will be honoring the most important teacher–YOU!!–you’ll ever have. the Great Spirit lives within us all! really!
I hope you enjoy this little yoga lesson i’m sharing with you. occasionally i’ll give some tips. lordflea does love hatha yoga, the physical poses, so very much, that i want the entire world to know these ancient, but very effective moves that keep us fit, grateful, and calm (thanks to the breathing, the key to inner peace).
in the Light, lord flea singing our song of ONE