This weekend I lead my first Sun Salutations Mala (Click here to find out more about Malas) . For a number of weeks I have been training and as I trained I started finding out more and more about my body AND especially my mind.
I must first of all say that the thought of doing even 10 sun salutes has always been met with a little apprehension. Whatever sequence you decide to apply and whatever variation you decide to take , performing the same movements for a number of times requires training, stamina and mental focus.The body gets tired , the mind gets bored .
Let's consider the Body first.
Sun salutations are comprised mainly of symmetrical postures (mountain, forward fold, downward facing dog, plank etc...). These give you a chance not only to observe the effects of load bearing postures on your main joints ( wrists and shoulders) but also to notice and correct habits that lead to pain in your wrists, elbows and shoulders, to notice side dominance ( which leg do you tend to step forward and back with the most ?) , to observe your commitment to engaging the bandhas ( all four of them!) and last but not least to remain present with your breath (is your Ujjay smooth and continuous ?).
You may also notice differences between left and right, maybe it's just your left wrist that pinches slightly or maybe your right hamstring struggles more to come to the front for the warrior 1 in a Sunsalute B. Whatever that difference may be the repetition of the same actions over and over again greatly highlights it so take good notice of them and make a plan to work on balancing them out maybe through a more Yin/ Restorative practice to complement your usual practice.
Finally Patanjali's Sutra2.46 requires a mention here.
This short sentence is often translated as "steadiness and ease" or as “posture (asana) [should be] stable (sthira) and comfortable (sukha),” but it is more literally translated as “resolutely abide in a good space.” In out high octane society it is a difficult concept for us to grasp, we are constantly asked to go higher ( or lower), to push harder, to go faster and the list goes on .
As I headed for the end of the Mala I "felt" exactly what Sthira-Sukham actually means. The body is warm and loose, you flow from posture to posture with no effort , no strain , you are comfortable in your down dog as well as your plank and your breath reflects that. Slightly magical ... It is at this point that something happens in your mind ... find out more about this aspect in Part 2 .
Thank you for stopping by and reading ...
Love and light