For many reasons I begin with this version of a Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar, each day – 5 times in a quiet, pretty and clean space in my home – even if it is the only physical practice I get to receive that day. With kids, it often is and it has become enough.
The Breath: It connects me very clearly with the rhythm of my breath and enables me to be accountable for moving consciously into that rhythm. Each movement of the body is on an in or out breath. I can feel how my breath supports the execution of the postures and allows for space to unfold. My mind can be drawn inwards to the quality of the breath and softness, tenderness and attention is cultivated. In the morning, this is so helpful before all the external stimulants begin to fight to take over.
The Body: The body moves into backbends and forward bends, the spine develops suppleness, the side, front and back of the body lengthens, body inverts. It is balancing and grounding, energizing and soothing all at the same time.
The Heart: I awake with an intention to be drawn into the qualities I find important and these physical movements are a morning prayer of gratitude for me. A teaching I always remember from Jack Kornfield is that when we begin each day grateful – even if we are going through heartache and suffering – it enables us to connect with feelings of innate joy and contentedness no matter what. Through the power of repetition, we begin to abide in these qualities over time.
We can find these ways each day to retreat inward and practice being connected to the source – symbolic of the sun – that will deliver us answers by peeling away the complexity. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, give permission to stop and have a look and congratulate ourselves on having a go at this thing called life. Allowing the hard work of gripping to do something or be somebody else settle into the comfiness of being led by our own inner guide. This is the beauty of the yoga practice for me.
Contributor Amanda Harding is the owner of Prema Yoga located at 236 Carroll St. in Brooklyn, where she teaches weekly Vinyasa flow classes as well as private/corporate clients across NYC & Los Angeles through her company, Karuna NYC. She is the creator of a program ‘Yoga on Set’ which provides weekly yoga sessions to the cast and crews of NY based film and television shoots. Currently one of Lululemon’s Brooklyn Ambassadors, she has been featured in Vogue, Origin Magazine and holds yearly sold out retreats to such locales as Tulum, Costa Rica, the Berkshires, Australia and more.