I'm not going to teach you how to do sun salutations, as you can find that information anywhere. Instead, I want to empower you to modify your sun salutations to work specifically for you and your body. By incorporating props such as blocks, you can enhance your practice, find optimal alignment, and support your unique needs. In this blog, we will explore how to modify your sun salutations (a) and make them more accessible, comfortable, and beneficial for your individual practice.
Modify Your Sun Salutation (A):
Sun salutations involve various poses that require optimal alignment. If you find it challenging to reach the floor comfortably or maintain proper alignment, blocks can be incredibly useful. Try these modifications and see what helps support your practice:
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) & 2. Extended Mountain (Utthita Tadasana): Find a comfortable stance with the feet, they do not need to to touch. everyone's hips are different, create space for them with a wider stance. Practice engaging the thigh and core muscles by placing a block between he thighs and squeezing lightly.
3. Forward Fold (Uttanasana): Place a block beneath your hands if you can't comfortably touch the floor. This modification allows you to maintain a straight spine as you fold and release pressure on the lower back.
4. Half Lift (Ardha Uttanasana): Utilize blocks under your hands to help create a flatter back and support a slight shift forward of your weight, to increase the stretch; keeping heels in contact with floor.
5. High Plank (Phalakasana): If your wrists or shoulders feel strained, place blocks under your hands to elevate your upper body. This modification reduces the amount of weight-bearing on your wrists and helps maintain proper alignment. Or, try releasing your knees to the mat to reduce the amount of weight in the shoulders, arms and wrists; use this to build strentgh gor gull plank.
6. Four-Limbed Staff (Chaturanga Dandasana): If lowering down into a full low plank is challenging, modify by lowering your knees to the floor before transitioning into the pose. This modification allows you to build strength gradually and maintain proper alignment throughout the movement.
7. Cobra (Bujanghasana): Be comfortable and lift to where it feels right for your body. This is me of those poses where the feeling is more important than the "look." Ensure your hands are stacked under the shoulders and try not only pushing down int the mat, but pressing forward as well - like a diagonal away from you and into the mat.
8. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): There are many ways to modify this pose to help support your body and your goals. If you are working toward your downward dog, try staying in tabletop and extend one leg back at a time; focusing on pressing into back heel and pressing into hands to develope shoulder strength. For tighter shoulders or hamstrings, try shortening your downward dog (bringing hands and feet closer together) or bringing a nice bend into the knees.
Customizing Your Sun Salutations:
Remember, your yoga practice is unique to you. Feel empowered to customize your sun salutations by modifying the pace, depth, or intensity of the poses to suit your needs. Here are a few suggestions:
-Slow It Down: Instead of rushing through the poses, slow down the flow to allow for deeper breaths and more conscious movement. Take your time to feel the sensations in each pose and enjoy the journey.
-Gentle Modifications: If you have specific physical limitations or injuries, modify poses to reduce strain or discomfort. For example, perform knee-down push-ups instead of full chaturangas or opt for a gentle variation of upward-facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) by keeping your thighs and hips on the floor.
-Restorative Sun Salutations: Consider incorporating restorative elements into your sun salutations. Use props like bolsters, blankets, or pillows to support your body in poses such as Child's Pose (Balasana) or Supine Bound Angle (Supta Kapotasana). This modification allows you to cultivate relaxation and release tension while still enjoying the benefits of the sequence.
Modifying your sun salutations with the use of blocks and personalized adjustments empowers you to create a practice that works for your body, alignment, and comfort. Remember, yoga is not about achieving the perfect pose but about honoring and supporting your unique journey. Embrace modifications, listen to your body, and find joy and fulfillment in your practice.
Explore the possibilities of modifying your sun salutations, and discover how these adjustments can enhance your alignment, stability, and overall experience on the mat. As you make these modifications, embrace the freedom to adapt your practice to suit your needs, honoring your body's wisdom and nurturing your well-being.
Happy modifying and may your sun salutations become a personalized and empowering part of your yoga journey!
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