We are delighted to welcome a new contributor to Happy Magazine today. Ruth Delahunty is a 200hr Yoga Alliance certified teacher and author of Yogaru.ie, a yoga lifestyle website. She will be joining us regularly with some therapeutic yoga sequences which you can do at home. She is starting today with a simple but empowering Sun Salutation.
|Click to enlarge // Print this sequence out or display it on your computer/iPad to guide you through your home practice|
February marks the start of Spring and even though we can’t see it, nature is busy getting ready to make its appearance. There is nothing more admirable than seeing the first brave green daffodil break through the soil and reach for the sun. Practicing the Sun Salutation sequence is the perfect way to honour these new starts and bring yourself in line with nature.
Sun Salutations build heat; increase circulation; build focus and concentration; are energising; stretch and strengthen your whole body; aid digestion, build the immune system, and benefit all the internal organs. When practised in the morning it wakes up the system and gets you ready for the day ahead. Practised in the evening it helps you relax and be ready for a good night’s sleep. Little and often is preferable to one long session a week, simply repeating the flow for about 10 to 15 minutes will give you all the benefits of yoga.
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The repetitive and meditative quality of the movements in the Sun Salutations are deeply calming for the mind and body, reducing stress and anxiety, balancing emotions, and increasing mental clarity. Moving slowly through each pose encourages a calm and even breath which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and restore). Pausing in one or two of the poses for a few deep breaths will help to bring you to the present moment, the only experience that is real is ‘now’.
Start in Tadasana/Mountain with your feet hip distance apart. Press into your feet and feel the unshakable ground beneath you. Reach up tall through the spine to the tip of your crown. Close your eyes and take a deep slow breath, feel your chest and abdomen expand. Slowly exhale the complete breath and pause before your next slow breath. Repeat this for as long as feels comfortable until you are ready to start your Sun Salutations. After 10 to 15 mins (or longer if you’d like!) lie down on your back in Savasana/Corpse Pose. It can be nice to place a blanket over you to send the signal to your nervous system that you are here, you are safe, you are supported. Let your whole body melt into the ground.