Build Strength and Increase Flexibility with 15 Minutes of Yoga per Day by Jessica Blanchard

Going back to the yoga tradition, we do not need to be in a yoga studio to practice yoga. If you are too busy to make classes, there is plenty of yoga you can do at home.

Can you spare 10-15 minutes per day?

“The practice of Surya Namaskara, or Sun Salutations has come down to us from the long distant past, and is capable of rendering human life heavenly and blissful. By means of it, people can become joyous, experience happiness and contentment and avoid succumbing to old age and death.” – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Yoga Mala. If you have ever attended a yoga class, then you are familiar with the word Namaste. But do you know Namaste meaning? Many people take Namaste only to be a traditional but respectful greeting practiced in India. However, it is much more than address hello or goodbye. Namaste is one of the six forms of pranama in the Hindi tradition.

The first means to spiritual health is to take care of there body, which is the “means to the pursuit of spiritual life.” (p. Yoga Mala, 34) Whether your goal is physical, mental or spiritual in nature, doing a daily practice of Sun Salutations can help you.

Sun Salutations are a way of paying homage to the Sun, the abundant source of energy and heat on earth. In many yogic texts, they were a way to worship the gods of the Sun. Practicing Sun Salutations you can use whatever intention you like. I use Sun Salutations as a way of giving thanks to the earth for providing us with our beautiful natural surroundings.

Sun Salutations incorporate the key aspects of a yoga practice – working with your breathing through rhythmic inhales and exhales, gazing points or dristhi, using bandhas, dhyana or concentration and simple yoga postures.  Do a few of these and you will be very warm. The spine is flexed and extended, especially counteracting the effects of long hours of sitting at a desk.

The Sun Salutations taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois as part of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Tradition are two in type. The first, Surya Namaskara A, has 9 steps or Vinyasas. The Vinyasa is a movement with breath. The inhales tend to be opening, incorporating gentle backbends where you take in what the universe has to offer, and maybe even open your heart. The exhales tend to be forward bends, roudning, closing and grounding. The balanced practice of inhaling and exhaling wiht the physical movements creates a dynamic, almost dance-like movement. Just a few of these, and you will feel stiffness melting away.

Want to practice at home? Here are videos of Sun Salutations A & B for you to use. While being able to practice at home is important, it will never take the place of coming to a class and getting one-on-one instruction from a teacher.  Do you live in or plan to visit New Orleans?  Stop in and see us at Balance Yoga & Wellness yoga studio.

Surya Namaskara A – Sun Salutation A – repest 3-5 times

Surya Namaskara B – Sun Salutation B – repeat 3-5 times

Do you have a home routine that you love?  Tell us about it!

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