In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned beginning your morning activity with several rounds of what yogis call the Sun Salutation. There are many variations of these movements meant to salute the sun and invigorate the body – getting you ready to meet the day.
Each round of Sun Salutation begins and ends with joined hands – palms together, thumbs touching the heart, fingers pointing outward. Even if you aren’t spiritual, you have to admit it’s a nice touch for something we are calling exercise.
I suggest doing this 10-minute block of activity immediately after you wake. Okay, if you have to have your coffee first, go ahead. I admit I don’t drink coffee so this is probably way too easy for me to promote without morning java.
There's some disagreement among authorities over the origins of Sun Salutation. Some say the sequence is at least 2,500 years old and it was a ritual prostration to the dawn, replete with mantras, offerings of flowers and rice, and libations of water. Others believe that Sun Salutation was invented by the Raja of Aundh (1909-1947). Some say he popularized the sequence as a simple physical exercise to help round out the development of an individual. He introduced it in schools as a form of education and encouraged everyone to be physically fit by performing this set of exercises every day.
I’ve scoured YouTube in hopes of finding just the right video for every level. I couldn’t find a version which really emphasizes the basics without other drama. Many are down right embarrassing and I don’t feel led to pass them on. You can, of course, search for yourself.
For the technically adventurous, there are apps like 101 Yoga Poses you can purchase for your Iphone or IPad that include two versions of Sun Salutation. It’s only 99¢. If these aren't viable options, check out the pictures meant to get you started.
As most yoga instructors will tell you, “listen to your body when deciding which one to choose." Remember, you can always find a class in town where you can learn this sequence correctly, go home and practice it daily. Last time I counted, there at least 11 places just in Athens to find yoga.
Last option: Meet on the grassy knoll at Friendship Presbyterian Church (8531 Macon Highway across from Athens Academy) this Friday to salute the sunrise at 6:33 am. It's the best place around to watch the sun rise. Bring a towel or a mat.