become a yoga instructorBy Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 250 

The holiday season can be joyous, exciting and even ebullient. It can also be stressful, overwhelming and exhausting. The demands on our time, energy and attention, not to mention our wallets, can leave us feeling anxious and unbalanced. Maintaining a regular practice of Yoga asanas, breathing exercises and periods of meditation can help to ameliorate the more stressful aspects of the holiday season while accentuating the positive and uplifting aspects of celebrating the return of the light during the darkest time of the year.

There are many different Yoga poses that help to create a sense of balance and centering when we are feeling off balance. As one might predict, many of these centering Yoga asanas fall into the category of balancing postures. Poses such as Tree Pose, Eagle Pose and Crow Pose will demand your presence and attention and will help to immediately center you. The traditional Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar is also a great way to begin your Yoga practice, warm-up your entire body and re-center yourself both physically and emotionally. One of the core components of the Sun Salutation is the breath. Linking your breath with your movements is a very powerful way of grounding your attention in the present moment and establishing a strong awareness of your center.

Before beginning your practice of the Sun Salutation, bring your hands in front of your heart in Anjali Mudra. This mudra will focus your energy on your heart chakra and connect you with the wisdom that resides there. Take a few deep breaths and check-in with yourself to see how you are feeling in this exact moment. Do not be attached to analyzing your thoughts or emotional state, just be aware of how you are feeling. Remember to breathe in deeply and to exhale fully. Practicing a few rounds of complete Yogic breathing will quickly calm down an overactive nervous system as you begin your practice.

To practice the beginning movements of the Sun Salutation, stand at the front of your mat in Mountain Pose. Take a few deep breaths. With your next inhale, slowly raise your arms to the sides of your torso and up over your head. The next time you exhale, place your hands in prayer position and bring them down the front of your torso through your heart chakra to your hips. It is important to link your breath with your movements. In this way, you are replicating the very expansion and contraction of the universe as you align your body the gravitational poles of the earth. Feel the extension of your reach and feel the grounding of your energy into the earth as you bring your arms back down to your sides. Practice the beginning movements of the Sun Salutation 5-10 times. When you are finished, bring your hands back to Anjali Mudra and pause to feel the aliveness in the very center of your being.

© Copyright 2015 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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