Uttanatavasan: Leg Lifts
Uttanatavasan (pronounced ooh-TAHN-ah-tah-VAH-sahn), leg lifts, involve a steadypose. They prepare the body to make the more fluid movements of a vinyasa. Leg lifts strengthen your stomach, which in turn supports your lower back. The deeper your breathing during this movement, the easier and smoother your vinyasa will become. Leg lifts also help prepare your body for a headstand. Be careful not to let momentum swing your legs up during leg lifts. Keep your movements slow and complete to build your strength, touching the ground and pausing before each lift. Don’t separate your feet or bend your knees when you come down. If your back hurts, keep one knee bent, foot on the floor, but keep the other leg straight. If you have a sensitive back, bend the knee you are not lifting and keep that foot firmly on the ground. This will protect your lower back as you continue to strengthen it with leg lifts. Leg lifts build stomach and back muscles.
Surya Namaskara: Sun Salutation
The sun is the center of our solar system, and without its energy and warmth, we wouldn’t be able to exist on this planet. This vinyasa is a devotional. namaskara (pronounced SOOR-yah nah-mahs-KAHrah) offers thanks and greetings to the sun, and although it can be performed any time, it is particularly appropriate and wonderful when performed at sunrise, out-of-doors, facing east. Surya means “sun,” and namaskara literally means “taking a bow. The sun salutation energizes, strengthens, and tones all the major muscles and organs in the body.
Chandra Namaskara: Moon Salutation
This vinyasa restores vitality, strength, and flexibility to the entire body. It also improves digestion through the continual compression of the intestinal tract. Chandra means “moon,” and just as the sun salutation greets and honors the sun, so chandra-namaskara (pronounced SHAHN-drah-nahMAHS-kah-rah) greets and honors the moon. Try practicing this vinyasa outside on a clear evening when the moon is in full view. Serenity! Quite an energetic sequence of poses! The moon is a lunar/emotional/yin symbol. The strong physical movements in a moon salutation help to balance our emotional side with our physical side.
Create Your Own Flow
The sun and moon salutations are popular vinyasa because they combine a series of poses that so nicely balance each other (a backbend, then a forward bend, and so on). But you, too, can create your own series of postures. Just keep them balanced— forward with backward, exhale with inhale, upright with inverted, one side with the other side, an expansion with a contraction, and so on.
Warm Wonder Vinyasa
Starting in the downward facing dog , flow into the plank pose, which is like a pushup pose with the arms straight. Exhale, bend the elbows, and lower the body straight to the floor. Inhale, push yourself up into the upward facing dog , exhale, push back into the downward facing dog, inhale, push one leg forward, turn to the side, and straighten up into the triangle pose. Do both sides in the triangle, then exhale as you bend your other knee and bring your hands alongside your foot. Push back into the downward facing dog. Hold for as long as comfortable, exhale into the child’s pose , then rest.
Solar Flare Vinyasa
Start in the mountain pose, then jump your feet three to four feet apart and assume the warrior 2 poseHold for a few breaths, then change your body position to face forward with your arms overhead in the warrior 1 pose .Hold for a few breaths. Switch to the other side, doing warrior 1 and 2 in the other direction. Now, keeping your feet separated, turn your entire body to face forward and bend straight over with your knees straight. Bring your hands toward the floor and hold for a few breaths. Come back up, jump your feet together, bend your knees, and place your palms flat on the floor. Bend down into the child’s pose. Rest.
Mild and Mindful Vinyasa
Start in shavasana Inhale and bring your hands under your tailbone, lifting up into the half fish pose .Hold for a few breaths, then come out of the pose, exhaling, and rolling over into the child’s pose. Stay in the child’s pose for a few breaths, inhale, sit up, exhale, and move into the hero pose .Inhale as you move up, then exhale into the staff pose. Inhale into any meditation, Meditate for a while.
➤ A vinyasa, such as the sun or moon salutation, is a sequence of postures strung together and performed in a series of flowing movements.
➤ A vinyasa is coordinated with the breath and the mind so that body, breath, and mind are integrated.
➤ The sun salutation is the most well-known vinyasa, but many others exist, and you can even create your own by doing sequences of poses that balance each other.
➤ Vinyasas are great exercise for body and soul!