Salute to the Sun of a New Year: on yoga, balance, change, flow (and how I finally worked out how to step forward!)

At one a.m. New Year’s morning I stood on the sand in the semi-dark at Terrigal beach and watched the waves, feeling the same pulse and rhythm in my breathing; feeling the world turn.

The previous day (New Year’s Eve), during my morning yoga, I finally worked out why I was having such a struggle stepping forward when performing a Salute to the Sun. For the past year this simple feat has seemed increasingly impossible. Annoying, because the yoga classes at my gym are based on Vinyasana and every one begins with a long series of Salutes. The more I tried to fathom what I was doing wrong, the more I urged myself to swing my foot up in between my hands, the more anxious and defeated I felt, the further back my foot landed.

Asking others who could do it without thinking didn’t help. All they could say was keep trying and it will get better (it didn’t); or just relax and don’t worry, use you hand to pull your foot up into position (sigh).

I don’t know what happened — perhaps a bit more awareness due to some Feldenkrais I’ve been doing — but the other morning I suddenly found the answer: I had to move my body weight up over my hands, and also go up on my finger tips a bit to get more height. But moving my weight forward was the key: as soon as I shifted my balance over my hands, my foot arrived into position effortlessly. The contrast was extraordinary.

I love the symbolism of Salute to the Sun: stretching up to the sky, bowing down to the earth; folding and opening, yin and yang, a constant movement of change.

As I stood on the beach, breathing softly with the waves, I suddenly felt the great privilege of having a lifetime in a body, what an extraordinary gift this is, so that we can grow and evolve. I felt it; and in feeling, understood it at last. Like that moment when I shifted my balance forward and suddenly what had been clumsy and difficult became energetic and light.

Feeling the supportive sand beneath my feet, I also had a sense that every moment is a fulcrum, every new day an opportunity to let the past go and swing into something different. One of the reasons I love the rituals of New Year.

Wishing you a wonderful New Year: may things that seemed impossible become graceful; may your heart’s desires be foremost; may you experience peace often; may love move you always.

 

Namaste,
Beth

Here’s some more youtube videos for Salute to the Sun:

step by step instruction

a ‘friendly down-to-earth’ explanation

Modified Sun Salutation for Big Bodies

Office chair sun salute!

5 thoughts on “Salute to the Sun of a New Year: on yoga, balance, change, flow (and how I finally worked out how to step forward!)”

  1. The privilege of a lifetime in a body… Easy to forget how incredible that is. Thanks for phrasing it so beautifully!

    1. Thank you, Erica! I really appreciate the comments, as I feel I’m going out on a different writing limb with this blog. So it’s great to know it works for some.

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