Salute to the Sun

Salute to the Sun

Yoga works by bringing about balance – balance between the left and right sides, balance between mind and body, between up and down, left and right. One of the ways this is done classically inmost forms of yoga is through a sequence of movements called Surya Namaskara or Salute to the Sun.Salute to the Sun

Salute to the Sun is a very invigorating practice, which brings a lot of energy and increases circulation. Practising Salute to the Sun on a regular basis stretches your entire body, helps to build upper body strength and tone all the organs in your body. It is particularly beneficial to practice early in the morning.

Safety note: if you are new to this practice, we recommend that you do basic neck, lower back, sciatic and shoulder releases first.

Download printable Salute to the Sun Info Sheet with full instructions on how to practice.

Half shoulder stand

Balance your hormones and thyroid with this yoga pose

 

Half Shoulder Stand

Safety notes:

We recommend doing the releases before you attempt to do Half or Full Shoulder Stand (and this is how we teach this in class). To release the body for Half/Full Shoulder Stand, you need to release neck, upper back, mid and lower back, sciatic and psoasInjury or tightness in the neck will greatly impede the ability to do this posture.

  • To begin: Start sitting with your legs out long in front and arms over the legs (parallel). Breathe out and lean forward from the waist, breathe in lean back, tucking the chin in. Go back and forth like this. If you have just started you could stick with this option….

Rolling forwards

  •  If it’s easy, then start to go further back – rolling onto your back, straightening the legs, then bending the legs to roll forward.  You can roll back and forth like this a few times…

Rolling backwardsStraightening legs

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Peaceful pose: If it is still easy, then roll further – going all the way onto your back with your feet going over your head, even straighten the legs out there. Perhaps, you could catch hold under your hips (or you can rest your arms alongside your body) and hold and breathe (peaceful pose).

Peaceful pose

  • Half shoulder stand: Or you can slowly lift your legs up into the air into the half shoulder stand posture (supporting your hips with your hands), hold and breathe.

Half shoulder stand

  • Full shoulder stand: Or maybe come to full shoulder stand with the legs straight up at a right angle to the floor. Maybe you could hold the posture for a few seconds, while breathing…. At any time it becomes a strain, bend the legs, lower the feet toward the head, lower the hips down on the floor and use the hands on the floor to support you.

Full shoulder stand

Benefits of Half Shoulder Stand:

  •  Balances hormonal system. It is particularly good for the thyroid gland and pituitary gland.
  • Helps to realign the abdominal organs – preventing and correcting prolapse.
  • Great for the circulation and the lymphatic system.
  • Since it’s an inverted posture it brings a lot of blood to the brain, helping with memory and concentration and it improves the workings of the pituitary gland – the master endocrine gland.

 

extensors2

Suffering from tight sciatic and aching lower back? We have a solution.

We have more students coming to class suffering from tight lower back and sciatic more than from any other condition. Releasing lower back and sciatic is one of the main focuses of each Yogahealth class. 

The sciatic nerve runs from L4 in the lumbar spine, separates and goes through the back of each buttock, down the back of each leg, separates at the knee and goes all the way down to your little toe and big toe. It’s the longest nerve in the human body. When it gets tight, we get back pain and even pain down the back of the leg – sciatica. The following release is the main sciatic and lower back release we do in class.

Lower back and sciatic release

  • Basic sciatic release: From semi supine (feet flat on the floor, knees bent), slide the left hand behind the back of your head and bring the right hand behind the right knee. As you breathe out, lift your head and straighten your leg up in the air, inhaling back down. Go up and down a few times… You could use the right hand not just to straighten the leg but also to draw the leg in towards you at the same time so that the stretch goes not only through the back of the leg but also through the buttock and lower back – that is where your sciatic nerve travels from.  You can turn the toes back towards you to maximize the stretch through the heel, rotate the ankle…..

extensors

  • PNF (proprioceptive muscular facilitation) sciatic release: Catch hold behind the right leg with both hands, tuck the chin in, roll the head forward (leave the head on the floor, if your neck is delicate) and push the knee down towards the floor, keeping the leg straight, as you resist the movement with the hand. Hold the posture with breath of fire (panting like breathing through the nostrils) for 5 seconds. Rest down for a moment….. Then repeat again.

extensors2

  • Calibration: Slide your legs long on the floor and see if one leg feels flatter or longer than the other side, which is the sign of a release of the sciatic nerve…..
  • Repeat the movements on the other side.

Benefits:

  • Stretching sciatic stimulates the digestive and immune systems.
  • When your sciatic is tight, generally the mind is noisy, which is why it is great to do this late at night. 
Piriformis release

Tight sciatic? Release your piriformis.

Piriformis Release

 

  • Lying on the floor, have your knees in semi-supine (feet flat on the floor, knees bent). Hook the right ankle over the left knee with the right knee hanging to the side. Have the left foot closer to the midline of the body. Bring the right hand behind the head and rest the left arm down.
  • Press the right ankle into the knee. Hold for a few seconds and breathe. Release and then press again. Do that a few times. Feel how the buttocks tighten when you press the ankle onto the knee.

Piriformis release

  • Catch hold of the right foot with the left hand. As you breathe out draw the head and the right foot towards each other. As you breathe in, rest back down. Go up and down a few times….Piriformis2
  • As you lift the head and draw the right foot in, you can also straighten the left leg up towards the ceiling….
  • If you would like to take this further,then catch hold behind the straight leg with both hands and hold the posture with Breath of Fire (panting like breathing through the nostrils)…
  • Swap sides.Piriformis release

 

Benefits: Tight piriformis muscle can aggravate any sciatic deficiencies. Piriformis is a small muscle found in the buttock that connects the sacrum to the thigh bone. In one out of five people sciatic nerve passes through this muscle, so even if the sciatic nerve is released, the piriformis is tight, and some sciatic pain is still experienced down the back of the leg.