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40-Day Sun Salutation Challenge

June 26, 2017

I challenge you to bring a new perspective to your mat today. (If you'd like some group support and inspiration for a daily practice-one Sun Salutation a day-come find me on Facebook.)

 

The ultimate goal of yoga is to reduce and eventually eliminate suffering. Ancient yogis believed the Eight-Fold Path of Astanga Yoga was the best means to achieve this state of deep and infinite joy. Because the mind is the source of ALL frustration and hardship, if we can still the mind, we will enjoy emancipation.

This is yoga. 

 

Set this intention of intense concentration for your first Sun Salutation. This is the goal of your practice, not the external acquisition of the pose. Enter Tadasana and focus your mind exclusively on your breath; focus your gaze on the tip of the nose or your fingertips. This is difficult! The first breath might come easily, but commit in this manner for 5 long, deep, Ujjayi breaths and see where this takes you. Don't close your eyes. Be alert, be aware, be superconscious, not drifting or daydreaming.

 

Do each pose in a way that supports this goal, by modifying each posture to allow your breath to flow freely and your gaze to stay in tact. Be mindful of your transitions into and out of the asana, as this too is a part of the challenge.

 

In Downward Dog, bend the knees if you're stiff or nurturing your back; then stop fiddling, stop fidgeting, stop shifting. Be Still. For 5 breaths, set your gaze (drishti) on the space between your knees and your mind on the rhythm of your breath. After 5 breaths, return to the top of the mat, and hold Uttanasana for another 5 breaths. Concentrate. Centre your mind. This is the real challenge and the fundamental goal of yoga, NOT getting your heels to the floor in Dog Pose.

 

Try each posture in the sun salutation sequence in this way. Enter the asana as though starting a brief (5 breaths) meditation. And then mindfully move on. Take your workout inwards and notice the effect.

 

 

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