I’ve been practising yoga for the majority of my adult life. I’ve had my affairs with the many forms of yoga such as Bikrham, Kundalini and Ashtanga, but what I will forever depend on is that all encompassing body-breath-mind delight of my favourite sequence; the Sun Salutation.
I learned about this sweat-enducing sequence while working at a primary school in South America. I was in the staff room moaning about my weight and the lack of a gym, when a fellow teacher suggested I try Yoga. Mind you, this was in the ‘olden days’ in a developing country, we had no Internet, nor did she have a Yoga book. What she did have was an assortment of photo copies in a binder. She let me borrow it and suggested I start out with the Sun Salutations, to wake up in the morning and do 10 rounds. That’s all.
That first day was hard, I had no idea what I was doing, my breathing was sporadic and my Chatarangas looked like a failed, bootcamp push-up. Once I found my rhythm and felt the pain in my newly awakened back and thigh muscles the next morning, I wondered why I hadn’t tried this years before.
The Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, is offered in the majority of standard yoga classes. There are many variations on the theme but they all offer a whole body experience that warms all the limbs, gets the heart rate elevated and offers opportunity for the breath to work in time with the movement of the physical body. Some say that Sun Salutations have been practised by yogis for approximately 2,500 years, but most are of the opinion that the sequence was introduced into the physical yoga protocol in the early 1900s. Regardless of when it was ‘invented’, I’m grateful to have a sequence that will work for me whenever and wherever, that uses every body part and seamlessly links the breath to movement.
What was your first yoga experience? Leave a comment below and tell us all about it.