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5 Easy Ways to Modify Sun Salutations

Posted on August 18, 2016 at 3:40 PM

Sun Salutations are one of the best ways I know to prevent body pain. Once you learn a version that works for you and your body, you seriously just need a few minutes a day feel amazing.

I know I've recommended these to many of my guests, but haven't been in a position to give proper guidance because I'm not a yoga teacher. Doing something isn't the same as being able to teach it. I don't know the all the right things to say about keeping your body in alignment. I don't know every single modification for every single body type. I probably look awkward doing some of the stuff because I'm not incredibly flexible and again, I'm not an instructor and probably don't have all the language to provide an adequate explanation for each step. 

There are so many reasons someone might find yoga intimidating and not think that sun salutations are something accessible to them. First of all, if you do a basic search for sun salutation tutorials, you're going to see a smaller bodied, extraordinarily flexible person. You might think to yourself, "That person has joints made of silly putty and there is no way my body is contorting into that position." Even if you know that modifications are possible, learning them often requires a teacher, and you may not be terribly comfortable taking a class. Group classes can be inconvenient and intimidating, especially for a beginner. While I encourage that you find one you can try anyway, I know that not everybody will, and that's why I've tracked down five videos that give simple, clearly explained modifications. Most people will be able to follow along with at least one of those videos. The first one is done sitting in a chair. You can even do this while sitting down! 

Remember that this isn't suposed to hurt! It's ok to feel sensation but not pain, especially not in your joints. You should not do this if you've had recent or chronic injury to the back, knees, hips or unmedicated high blood pressure.

I hope these are helpful. As always, if you are under a physician's care (or suspect you need to be for any reason, like something you're hoping isn't a torn rotator cuff), please consult them before beginning any sort of exercise program.


This first video shows a really simple sequence that can be done from a chair. This is great for people with joint pain or really anyone who just wants to start out at the easiest possible place and still benefit from the exercise.

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This second video demonstrates half sun salutations. If you can stand up, raise your arms, bend your knees, and bend forward, you can do this! These can be practiced as a warm up to the full sun salutations or on their own if the full ones are overwhelming or painful for you. 

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Have you ever wondered what to do with your belly during forward folds or been suffocated by your breasts during certain yoga postures? This lady has answers for you! This video addresses issues specific to larger bodied people. 

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Great full sequence tutorial for beginners! Lots of clear instruction and explanation.

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Full sequence showing modifications for knee pain, wrist pain, and arm injuries.

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Categories: Self Care

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