One of the many benefits of sharing the running of a yoga studio with a fellow yogini (aside from the obvious perk of getting to hang in Florida in the middle of the winter) is that we are able to share in the pleasure of each other’s waves of yoga enthusiasm. When Meaghan started preparing her sun salutation workshop we became immersed in all things sun salutation. This beautiful moving meditation has played varying roles in my practice over the years. Maybe it is because I first learned the mantras in India, or maybe it is because India is the location of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets that I have ever seen in my life, whatever the reason, for me, surya namascar will always be deeply rooted in India. I remember practicing surya namascar at my ashram and drinking in the beautiful view of the sun coming up over the jagged horizon before closing my eyes and pouring myself into the breath and flow of the postures and the visualizations that went along with them. Every single time I opened my eyes in pranamasana and prepared to chant the next mantra, the beauty of my surroundings would take my breath away again and again as if I were looking at them for the very first time.
After coming back to Canada, I used this series to warm up and pull me back to India before doing my two hour morning practice. After getting pregnant, I adjusted the series to fit with my blossoming belly and continued to practice it right up until my delivery. Once the baby came, surya namascar was all that I could seem to fit into the busy schedule of taking care of a little human that seemed to need something every moment of the day and night. Without the luxury of time to do a two hour morning practice, surya namascar taught me to surrender to the moment. I had to let go of all expectations and simply accept that a sun salutation might be my practice on any given day. This taught me to pour myself into those few moments with complete focus and pure intention. I learned so much about using each breath with awareness and reaping the full physical and mental benefits of each full inhalation and exhalation. On some days I would finish with as much calm and clarity as a full length practice would have brought. This is when I truly realized the potential power of the sun salutation.
Over that last couple of years, as time and circumstance allowed me to add more and more to my regular practice, I had strayed a little from the sun salutation. When Meaghan started pulling together her workshop and we began to talk more and more about the sun salutation at the studio, I began to revisit this old friend in the early morning hours (I have kids who are 2 and 4, so waking before the sun comes up is no great challenge). I am in full swing right now and those 12 sun salutations in the morning feel more and more right as each day goes by. This was my 4:30 am welcome to the Florida sun on our first day here and I could not resist doing a few more on the beach later on that same day.
To all of you back home in St. John’s doing the Sun Salutation workshop this weekend, happy saluting! I will be joining you all, albeit from 2000 miles away but we will all be opening our hearts and souls beneath the same sun.