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Yoga Posture for Happiness: Sun Breaths

Elizabeth GreigSun breaths, a simplified version of sun salutations, are a heart-opening, uplifting, and peaceful series of movements that help to bring your physical body back into alignment.  If happiness in life is finding your own true north, then sun breaths in a yoga practice are like tapping on the stuck compass needle of your body. Perform this series in the morning to awaken and stretch the body or after the physical stresses of a long day.

Be sure to pair the movement with breath.  The movement between the four static postures is as important as the postures themselves!  Inhale as you rise, exhale as you lower.

  • Start by raising your arms out and around to meet over your head, while gazing at your fingers and opening your chest (even adding a slight backbend if it’s comfortable).
  • “Swan dive” forward over your legs, keeping your back flat, until you are folded at your waist. Reach your hands down towards your feet, keeping an easy bend in both knees and softness in your spine.
  • Lift your head to a flat back posture, looking up with hands comfortably on the knees, and release again into the forward bend.
  • Finally, lift up with arms outstretched, rising up to stand with your hands above your head.  Complete the sun breath with your hands in Namaste over your heart, your gaze soft towards the horizon.

Move through the series four times, honoring your internal compass, the teacher within you. Face north, and meditate on what it is that is your own true north.  Face east and feel the potential of each new day.  Face south and accept the warmth of the growing Spring sun.  Face west with gratitude for the passage of time and your place in the universe.