Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sun Salutation - Surya Namaskar

Ann Barros is a senior Iyengar yoga instructor with over 30 years teaching experience, including 5 years at UCSC, where she introduced the Iyengar tradition to the Santa Cruz, California community. She has led over 40 successful Yoga In Bali tours. She has led workshops both domestically in California and Colorado, and internationally in Singapore, Jamaica, Greece, Mexico, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and China, as well as as her beloved Bali, which has become her second home. Ann first studied with BKS Iyengar in India in 1976 who personally guided her into curing her own scoliosis. She is certified by the Iyengar Yoga Institute of S.F. since 1980, and later that year after studying again in India, first came to Bali.

After 30 years of teaching, Ann's eyes are well trained Ann's teaching approach is compassionate, yet challenging, with emphasis on precise and careful alignment of the joints for the greatest freedom: strength and flexibility, balance in the body, quieting of the mind, and a soaring of the spirit.
Her strong dance background and B.A. in dance from U.C.S.C. combined with her love of art, music, yoga and Hinduism has culminated in her creating a wonderfully balanced life-style and tour program. Those who participate in her special Bali Yoga tours and recent Asia Programs develop a solid foundation and understanding of the poses. Ann gratefully acknowledges her teacher, Shri BKS Iyengar. Ann has led successful Yoga in Bali tours continuously since 1985.  As of 2006, she now operates her own studio in the Iyengar tradition in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia; and offers teacher training programs and workshops.

The Sun Salutation series includes 10 – 12 basic poses put together into a flowing vinyasa. These basic poses form a complete full body warm-up, stretching the major muscles of the back, arms and legs while encouraging full range of motion in the joints. The series should be broken down and practiced one pose at a time for beginners to understand the important alignment details of each pose and how to best protect the neck and lumbar spine from “over-arching”. Once the fundamentals of each pose are comfortable and familiar, then proceed to the full sun salutation series bring awareness to the breath in each. In this way, this practice may become cardiovascular. The benefits are many: increased blood circulation to all muscles, nerves, and joints, weight-bearing strength in the arms and legs and stimulation of the endocrine, lymphatic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

1.) TADASANA  - The Mountain Pose begins with the awareness of the feet. How the weight is spread wide throughout the whole foot. Bring the feet together until the mound of the big toes touch. Feel the weight in a tripod base – Mound of big toe / Mound of little toe / and the heel. Widen the toes apart. Lift the inner arches of the feet – this brings awareness all the way up the legs. Slightly tuck the pelvis, so that the pubic bone moves forward. Lift the front and back waist evenly. Allow the shoulders and arms to drop freely. Create a small backbend from the sternum and collarbone. Allow the inner shoulders to soften down from the ears. Bring the hands together into Namaste – prayer position, and then open the arms out to the sides. Exhale
2.) TADASANA w/ arms Overhead – In Tadasana, Bring the arms out to the sides and then overhead on a deep inhalation breath. Let the upper body lift and lift the head up slightly to look up between the hands. Relax the inner shoulders down from the ears even as the arms are lifting so as to keep the neck long. There is a slight backbend at the very top of the spine – but take care that the lower back is not over-arching. Tuck the pelvis, bringing the pubic bone forward to protect the lower back. Keep the lower body grounded in Tadasana. Inhale
3.) UTTANASNA – Forward Bend - On exhalation breath, reaching forward through the arms, hinge at the hip joints, and bend toward the floor. Place the hands (or fingertips) on the floor. Let the head drop, relax the neck, and still keep the kneecaps lifting as you surrender the weight of the upper body over the legs. Exhale

4.) BACK LUNGE TO PLANK POSE – Place both hands on the floor on either side of the feet and bend the knees. Then stretch the right leg back, tucking under the toes on the floor behind you. Extend the right leg, making sure that the right knee is actively lifting. Do this action on an inhalation breath. Then stretch the left leg back to meet the right foot. Hold the body in     one straight line, from the back of the head, buttocks to the heels. This action is done as you hold the inhalation. Inhale - Held breath
5.) CHATURANGA DANDASANA – Staff or Rod Pose -With a deep exhalation breath, lower the body – in one straight line – toward the floor. It is very important here to keep the back straight, and not allow any drop of the pelvis. Keeping the elbows bent, squeeze the outer ribs with the elbows to help keep the weight of the torso up from the floor. Contract the buttocks firmly to protect the lower back from over-arching. Press out the heels behind you actively with the toes tucked under and keep the knees actively lifting. Ideally, the pose is done holding the body 1in (2-3cm) up from the floor. For beginners, only lower the body as far as you can keep the back straight. Exhale

6.) URDVHA MUKA SVANASANA - Upward Facing Dog Pose- Press down with the hands against the floor to lift the upper body up to vertical with the chest opening and shoulders rolling back. Keeping the chin just parallel to the floor, allow the neck to lengthen – there is no benefit to throwing the head back if it results in compression of the cervical spine. Just look straight forward . Contracting the buttocks strongly will help to protect the lower back. Keep the knees actively lifting up from the floor. Inhale

7.) ADHO MUKA SVANASANA - Downward Facing Dog Pose- - With both hands pressing down to the floor, lift the pelvis up to the sky. Lift the sitting bones up vertically as much as you possibly can! Stretch open the backs of the knees, keeping the kneecaps lifting. For beginners to receive the maximum stretch to the Spine, the heels may need to be slightly up from the floor. Ideally in Downward Dog Pose, the Spine is lengthening fully, the knees are straight, and the heels are moving down to the floor. However, priority must be given to the spine - therefore, the heels may need to be supported with a rolled up mat under the heels. Until the hamstring, calves, and achilles tendons allow the heels to release down to the floor. Lift the weight of the pelvis by lengthening and stretching the strong muscles of the back. Let the head drop freely, relax the neck, relax the eyes and all the soft tissue of the face. Remember also to soften the inner shoulders away from the ears, so that the neck is not “over-working”. Exhale

8.) FORWARD LUNGE -  From Dog Pose, bring the right foot forward on the floor directly between the hands at the same time bending the left knee until the left shine bone is vertical. The left thigh is now parallel to the floor. Again remember to keep the right kneecap actively lifting up from the floor so to receive a thorough quadriceps and groin stretch. Let the pelvis and chest rest over the bent left knee. Let the head drop. Just keep the neck neutral, there is no need to left the head causing unnecessary strain in the neck. Inhale

9.) UTTANASNA - Forward Bend - On exhalation breath, bring the left foot forward, then straighten both knees and bend at the hip joints releasing the weight of the upper body forward over the legs. Let the hands (or fingertips) rest on the floor. Let the head drop, relax the neck, and still keep the kneecaps lifting as you surrender the weight of the upper body over the legs. Exhale

10.) FORWARD LIFT TO TADASANA – from Uttanasana, Lift both arms straight up and overhead. Lengthen the Spine as you stretch the whole back coming up to standing in Tadasana. Remember, even in Uttanasana, to relax the inner shoulders away from the ears to keep the neck long. Keep the inner shoulders softening down from the ears all the way as you come up to standing again in Tadasana. Stay grounded and firm in the lower body with action and awareness in the knees, the feet parallel, and the pelvis slightly tucking once arriving back in Tadasnana. Inhale

Lower the arms back down to the sides of the body to come back to the neutral and beginning position – Tadasana. Exhale

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