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Yoga: Sun Salutations

Sun Salutations are an ancient series of yoga postures that promote flexibility of the spine & work all the major muscle groups. They're very versatile & can be used to suit individual needs/abilities. By taking these core movements & varying the pace (and/or including additional poses) you can use this sequence as a warm-up, to promote flexibility, as a work-out or for relaxation.

These postures illustrate the core steps of a basic yoga Sun Salutation. I have tried to keep it simple so that beginners can memorise it easily. The 12 steps below show the left side of the Sun Salutation. You should repeat the series on the right side to complete one salutation. Complete as many salutations as you have the time/inclination to each day.

Click on the thumbnails for detailed explanations & additional poses that can be added into the routine. When you print this page this introductory text will not be shown, so it will leave you with a quick reference chart that you can use while learning the sequence of the postures.

Yoga is an excellent accompaniment to aikido training. There are many parallels between the two*. For example, in both aikido & yoga you strive to achieve: a stable, grounded, balanced posture; relaxed yet firm and extended muscles & joints; a calm, quiet mind and a unity between breathe & body movement. In both yoga & aikido there is also a need for self study.

The difference is that in aikido these principles have to be maintained while uniting your body posture & movements with the movements of an opponent.

1 - Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose
Start with arms by your side

2 - Raised Arms

Raised Arms
Raise arms above the head

3 - Forward Bend

Forward Bend
Bend forward at the hips

4 - Lunge

Lunge
Step the left foot back

5 - Plank Pose

Plank Pose
Step the right foot back

6 - Child Pose

Child Pose
Draw hips back onto heels

7 - Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog Pose
Curl forward raising the torso

8 - Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog Pose
Draw the hips back & up

9 - Lunge

Lunge
Step the left foot forward

10 - Forward Bend

Forward Bend
Step up into forward bend

11 - Raised Arms

Raised Arms
Raise arms above the head

12 - Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose
Finish with arms by your side

If you liked this routine you may also like to try the 15 stretches with everyone's favourite mean green stretching machine.

*More on the relationship between aikido & yoga


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