Countless cultures have worshiped and harnessed the energy of the sun, ranging from the Mayans to the Egyptians. One of the most applicable ways to connect yourself today to this solar energy is through the yogic practice of a sun salutation.
A sun salutation physically moves the entire body while connecting body, mind and breath. Energetically, think of a sun salutation as a celebration of being alive, consciousness, self-illumination and of light itself.
In the western world, sun salutations are largely a physical practice linking the body, breath and mind, and when infused with intention it becomes a sacred spiritual practice of connecting with the sun. The origins of the sun salutation are found in sacred Hindu scripts, which revere the sun as the physical and spiritual “eye of the world”, and believe the sun to be the creator of all life itself.
Here’s how you can use intention along with the movements of the sun salutation to become the conductor of energy between the sun and the earth:
1.) Before you start, set an intention. This intention is for the movement of the sun salutation to effect any positive change you wish to focus your energy on.
2.) Physically: Orient your body toward the sun, preferably around sunrise. Stand tall with your big toes touching. Inhale and raise your arms toward the sky. With your arms in full extension, bring the palms together.
Energetically: Imagine your energy grounding down into the earth below your feet. As your arms raise and your palms face up, feel the warmth and energy of the sun in the center of your palms. As you bring your palms together, feel the energy of the sun expanding and contained between the center of your hands.
3.) Physically: Exhale and bow forward with a straight spine. Place your hands on the earth as you fold over your knees.
Energetically: Pull the energy of the sun and cosmos through your hands into the earth. Once your hands touch the ground, feel the energy grounding down into the earth. As the crown of your head bows forward, feel the devotion of your intention magnify.
4.) Physically: Inhale and lengthen your spine so it is at a 90 degree angle to your legs. With a straight spine, plant your palms on the floor and step back into a plank position.
Energetically: Feel the area where your hands and toes meet the earth. Feel grounded, and stable. Begin to feel the energy and warmth of the sun moving through your straight body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head and back down to your toes again.
5.) Physically: Exhale as you hug your elbows toward your ribs and bend them to a 90 degree angle as you lower yourself halfway down to the earth. Inhale as you roll over your toes onto the tops of your feet and open your heart toward the sky into upward facing dog.
Energetically: Feel your heart center open and radiate love and light out into the world.
6.) Physically: Exhale roll over our toes into downward facing dog.
Energetically: This is home base for grounding. Feel the entirety of your hands and feet pressing into the earth and grounding your energy down. Your head is facing your legs and your attention should be oriented inward. Take 5 deep breaths here.
7.) Physically: Step forward between your palms and lift your chest then fold over your knees. Inhale and bring your entire spine up. Raise your hands over your head. Exhale as you join your hands together and bring them toward heart center.
Energetically: Again, you raise your hands to the sky and capture the energy of the sun between your palms. As your palms come to heart center, imagine the solar energy lodged in your heart, creating a warm burning flame of light that is available to you at any time.