Friday, 4 September 2009

UnderRated: Sun Salutations

I had my first taste of Ashtanga yoga recently. I'd been doing the more gentle Hatha version for a while but had to miss my class because of other commitments and found the Ashtanga on the timetable for a different day.

For forty five minutes, I was continually moving from one pose to the next, starting with ten sun salutations and on through various positions designed to work the entire body. Each one gentle enough but the continual progress was so much more dynamic. At the end of the relaxation period which completed the class, I was refreshed, energised and yet completely relaxed at the same time. Fabulous!

As the weeks have gone on, I've found myself becoming more flexible, stronger, more toned, plus my posture is noticeably better.

I know that Helen Mirren keeps fit by doing four sun salutations every morning - looking at that lady's figure is good enough for me. I also know, from her appearance on Jonathan Ross's chatshow, that she was papped for this famous picture in a very secluded holiday spot. I apologise to her for reposting it but, come on Helen, you look wonderful. An inspiration to all of us more mature ladies.

I'm trying to salute the sun every morning!



Transylvanian Miss said...

I find sun salutations amazing, as part of our drama class we had to do two hours of yoga a week plus any extras we could fit in. Our instructor who was alos one of our lecturers on theatre practitioners was brill. Unfortunatly for me the summer came and I haven't done my yoga in a while and sun salutations are out pour moi due to repetitive strain injury in my wrists shoulders back and neck. It sucks. But now that you've mentioned it I'd really like to get back in to it! I hope you keep it up, the flexibility rewards are astounding :)
Your ever faithful reader

southerngirl said...

Every day Ms. Cake, nothing better!!!

Gorilla Bananas said...

Does it have to be the sun you salute or will a cloud work just as well? How about mooning at the moon?

Joanna Cake said...

TransMiss - Aw B, thank you x I assume it's downward dog that gives you the problem with your rsi injuries? You know that you can just go onto all fours and work on your breathing instead of up into dog? Ive been doing yoga for a couple of months now and there are lots of variations to sun salutations. One includes warrior, one stars with you in a squat with your arms forward rather than pointing up to the sky. There is also the earth sequence which is very gentle but very energising, involving the movement of breath in conjunction with hands and different bends. Also a really gentle sequence that is designed to help the joints which would be ideal for your rsi. The worst thing you can do is to stop moving the joints full stop because the lubrication stops. You need to try to eradicate the movement that caused the problem that caused the rsi but then you need to start repairing the damage. I have a shoulder injury that was partly due to posture and partly due to rsi. The yoga has almost fixed it even tho I continue to do the thing that caused the rsi. It's all about correct posture and joint alignment. Get yourself along to a class with a good teacher :)

SG - Im hoping to start going to a daily class for an hour over the next month. It has been instrumental in calming me down and helping me to become more 'mindful', although I still need a lot of work on the meditation side because my mind is very skittish rather than in the moment.

Mr B - There are definitely moon salutations :)

Transylvanian Miss said...

I will indeed I'm currently looking into it, I'll probably wait until some of this subsides and I've graduated and moved! Thank you for that though I'll look up some of the ones you mentioned anthing is sure to help! :D
Your ever faithful reader,

mrwriteon said...

This sounds like a wonderful thing to do. I hope, for you, that you continue with it since it sounds so life affirming, although you have an aspiring affirmation of life to begin with.

Helen Mirren? Sigh. She is divine and I want her even if she is taken. Oh right, so am I.

Joanna Cake said...

TransMiss - B, I will try to find out the name of the joint sequence later in the week.

MrW - Im doing my best to remain positive. The yoga teacher is always encouraging us to smile when we are in the most uncomfortable of positions. She says it's good for the facial muscles and the inner energy. I suspect my continual smile is the reason that I have managed to keep going for all this time :)

Ro said...

I've always had a bit of a yearning to do yoga. When I was younger and still vaguely flexible I never made the time (and was far too distracted by the whole getting-to-grips-with-life thing).

Now? Well, despite that video, most classes appear to be packed with women and although it marks me out as a bit of an insecure wimplet, I would rather make a fool of myself in front of a mixed group!

One day, maybe ...

In the meantime, I can but applaud your success - keep up the good work :-)