Seated Sun Salutations, Part Two

For this instructional video, we build upon what was demonstrated in January's Seated Sun Salutation video.  You can read that post and watch the video HERE.

As a quick refresher, Sun Salutations are traditionally practiced in the morning as a way to prepare your body and mind for the day ahead.  It's a practice that allows you to gently ease yourself into wakefulness by limbering up your spine. 

This practice isn't restricted to just the morning, however. You can do it anytime throughout the day to boost your energy.  The next time you feel exhausted or worn-out, before you reach for that additional cup of coffee, try practicing a round of sun salutations. 

Posture One:

The first of the three postures is crescent moon.  When practicing this posture, either keep both of your knees pointed forward or point one knee forward while the other is pointed out to the side.  When stretching, this is the side that you will lean towards. 

You are also have several options for how to position your arms, including:

  • Extending your arm up and straight
  • Form a bend at your elbow as you reach up and over
  • Place your hand to the back of your head or rest it on your shoulder and then reach your elbow up as you stretch over to the side

If you have both knees pointed forward, with your other arm, hold onto the side of the chair with your hand placed next to your thigh.  Or, you can place your hand on your hip.  If you have your knees in an "L" shape, you will place your forearm on your thigh.  Stay lifted and keep length in your torso as you stretch and avoiding collapsing into your arm.


Posture Two:

The second of the three postures is a seated twist. If twisting to your right, place your left hand on either leg while placing your right arm on the back of the chair. Your hand and arm placement should be determined by what works best for you.  Keep a tall posture through your spine and use your breathing to help deepen the twist, with slight assistance from your hands. 

Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. There can be a tendency for the hips to turn, lifting the feet.  Keeping your feet grounded assures stability.  

The twist is created through the upper torso.  There is no need to over twist and become a noodle.


Posture Three:

The third of the three postures is seated pigeon. 

Sit up tall with your knees forward.  For this stretch, if accessible for you, create a #4 shape by crossing one ankle over your opposite thigh.  You want your ankle joint more towards the outer side of your opposite leg.  Too much pressure is placed on the ankle joint if it’s more towards the inside of the leg.  You can stay sitting up with arms resting in your lap or you can fold over your legs to deepen this stretch.  

If crossing your ankle over your thigh is not accessible, there are other ways to create a #4 shape to achieve the same stretch.  Try leaning your torso to the back of the chair while straightening one leg with your heel touching the floor.  Next, bring your ankle across your opposite shin.  Notice the #4 shape. 

You may find that you can start to bend the straightened leg, bringing the foot flat to the floor, after a few moments or additional sessions of practicing this posture.


Suggestions for when practicing these, and other, postures.

  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor, directly under your knees, hips-width apart or wider.

  • Keep your back as upright as possible.  This will help with stability and breathflow.

  • Try to have an even inhale and exhale.

  • Make your inhales as full as you can and breathe all of the air out on your exhale.

  • There are multiple ways to enhance yoga postures, making the slightest adjustments can make a world of a difference for your body.  Use props, make adjustments, do what seems to work best for your body in this moment.  After all, you know you the best!

  • Each shape can be done with one breath per movement and repeated 3 or more times.  They can also be held for several breaths before moving to the next shape.  

  • You may discover something that works for you not mentioned, please share in the comments below.  

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Patrick Fisher