Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Combine Effort & Ease

“Focus your attention on your breath. When your mind wanders, simply return your awareness to the inhalation and exhalation. You don’t need to empty your mind or have perfect attention. It is the act of noticing mental distractions and bringing the attention back to the breath that lends the mind steadiness (sthira) and ease (sukha).”

How do we keep ourselves physically challenged yet safe?

For yogis, this involves two key words – “sthira” and “sukha”.  In sanskrit, sthira means strong, stable, steady in focus for mind and body. The ideal counterweight is sukha or that feeling of ease, relaxation and serenity – no matter how strenuous the pose may be. Once you are able to keep the concepts of sthira and sukha in balance, your practice will be at its utmost and your risk for injury greatly reduced.

Surya Namaskar  

This is a dynamic and stimulating set of poses that are designed to awaken and create heat. The diagram below will remind you of how the poses flow together. You can choose to incorporate all or some of these poses into your sequence. Traditionally, surya namaskar or sun salutation is repeated 12 times, however, you should decide for yourself how many rounds you’d like to undertake.

Chandra Namaskar

The evening or end of the day is a quintessential time for relaxing and using yoga to unwind. The Chandra Namaskar or moon salutation is a soothing way to ease into the night. Like the sun salutation, the moon salutation is a series of postures that are linked with the breath. Less active and more receptive, this particular set of postures should bring about a feeling of release.

Based on the sun salutation above, here are my variations:

  1. Substitute downward dog with table.
  2. Substitute chaturanga/cobra with child’s pose.
  3. Soften urdhva hastasana by simply lifting the hands in prayer position.
  4. Spend more time in lunge and lift the arms above the head (crescent pose).
  5. Slow down the whole sequence by taking two breaths each in crescent, table, and child’s poses.

Cultivate & surrender!

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