Here we are, counting the days to winter solstice. Well, at least I am. Because, after that darkest day, slowly, incrementally, our days will start to brighten and become longer. We just have to endure a little darkness first.
Really, the darkness is not so bad. It provides us with a natural place to rest and reflect, allowing us to explore our inner world more deeply and affording us the opportunity to emerge with new ideas. (So, now is a good time to start thinking about your new year’s resolutions!)
Even though we need this time of darkness, and some of us can even come to appreciate it, there are certainly days when we need a little more warmth and light. On those days, try these sun breaths to bring out the sun within:
- Begin at the top of your mat in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), gently pressing the four corners of your feet into the mat
- On an inhale, rooting the shoulder blades onto the back, sweep the arms up overhead, reaching through the fingertips
- On an exhale, keeping the shoulder blades rooted and leading with the heart, swan dive down to Uttanasana (Forward Bend)
- Inhale and let your heart open as you lift half-way to a flat back
- Exhale, fold back to Uttanasana
- Inhale, sweep the arms out to the side and back up overhead as you come to standing
- Exhale back to Tadasana
As you run through this sequence a few times, work on balancing between the heels and the balls of the feet. Be sure to keep the legs and lower abdomen strong and active to protect your hamstrings as you lift and fold. This sequence is the first part of the sun salutations series in hatha yoga.