Monthly Archives: November 2012

Early Morning Sun Salutations for a More Gratifying Day

I should start off by saying that I am not a morning person. It’s not that I dislike mornings, quite the contrary, I simply am not one of those people who wake up at first light ready to go with tons of energy. That being said, this morning I woke up at 4:44 AM wide awake. I got up for a glass of water, wondered why on Earth I felt so alert in the pitch black darkness and tried my best to fall back asleep. I didn’t have much luck convincing my eyes to stay shut, so I decided to get up once and for all.

I was bubbling over with excitement for the day, exploding with energy, all while trying my best not to wake up my sleeping fiancé when a light bulb went off: I have the opportunity to do sun salutations as the sun is actually rising! I know, I know, we always have the opportunity to make that choice, but try convincing me of that before I’ve had coffee!

At 7AM when dawn began to break, I set myself up outside facing East and found myself wrapped up in one of the most beautiful sun salutations I have ever experienced. My awareness shifted from my body and breath to the stimuli around me: the crisp air and its fresh, dewy smell, the trickle of last night’s rain making its way from the roof to the soil below, birds talking and woodpeckers tapping into the trees, roosters alerting everyone to wake up, the drops of moisture adorning every leaf in sight and the colors of the grasses and clouds changing with each passing moment.

I was reminded of a 6AM class a friend dragged me to last Summer (she was mighty persuasive). This particular instructor always incorporated inspiring connections to asanas and I remembered one of those deeply satisfying reminders.

In our current way of living, Sunriseis simply the beginning of another day. Some of us dread it and some of us cherish it while many of us don’t even think about it. For many indigenous cultures and especially for animals, Sunrisemeans survival and safety. They have survived another night, made it through the cold and vulnerability of the darkness and now they can rejoice in feeling the safety and gratitude of the warm sun rising once more.

I feel immense gratitude for the beautiful light radiating over the valley I call home.

Where We Hold Our Stress

It is no secret that we live in a very stressful society. We are continually consumed by always wanting to get things done faster…we relentlessly thrive on multitasking…and we are constantly over-stimulated with everything that surrounds us. This workaholic mentality is highly destructive to not only our productivity, but also to our health. We need to slow down. We need to RELAX. We need to open up our hips and release all of that emotional build-up that we’ve been holding onto for far too long.

Has anyone ever had the emotional experience (aka—MELTDOWN!) that can sometimes happen when you work on deep hip opening exercises during yoga? Let me tell you, it can be CRAZY! You can instantly burst into tears and have absolutely no feelings of pain or sadness at all…it just happens because you’ve experienced some sort of release. Apparently, a much needed release!

We tend to hold stress, fear, guilt, anxiety and sorrow in our pelvis. It is our ‘storage area’ of sorts. Our ‘junk drawer’ that, like most junk drawers, rarely gets cleaned out. And often times, people dread doing any type of hip opener because it can be quite challenging. Sometimes it’s easier to ‘not do’ something that is more difficult or can be somewhat painful. But if we get after that tightness in our hips and face it head on…just maybe you will be able to watch the pain melt away in some other areas of your life.

So grab your mat and let’s make it a goal to try and fit in at least 15-20 minutes of hip openers per day. This can be done first thing in the morning as a wake-up routine…or maybe in the evening while you’re relaxing in front of the TV…or maybe you can make it a bed-time ritual. Whenever and wherever you do it…as long as you are consistent, you will notice results!!!

Here are some of my favorite poses that open up the hips and help to release that built-up emotion:

Child’s Pose

Happy Baby

Low Lunge

Crescent Lunge

Warrior II

Pigeon Pose

Tree Pose

Extended & Revolved Triangle Pose

Extended & Revolved Side Angle

Cow Face

Bound Angle Pose

Seated Twist

Runner’s Lunge

Cozy Luminary Ericka is featured in the Gemini Tank and Pisces Crops.