An active yoga class is not complete unless there are a few Sun Salutations. Also known as Surya Namaskara, it is a flow to salute and bow down to the sun for all of its offerings. I feel it keeps us connected to the traditions of the ancient practice. It is a series of poses that are energizing. Focusing on connecting breath to movement, the body heats up from within. Holding certain poses can also build strength. The first pose of the sun salutation is Urdhva Hastasana - Upward Hand-Pose.
First, ground down the feet. I like having my feet hip distance apart. Root your energy down then lengthen through the spine with an inhale and allow your arms to float up. The intention is to feel a shoulder opening and to expand your inhalation. There are two versions. When reaching your arms up be clear with which version you want to commit to.
Version one: is lengthening the arms so high that the shoulders reach up to the ears. Feel energy out the fingers and the body creating space along the sides of the body. Engage the entire body, with intention of reaching energy above and beyond the ceiling.
Version two: is has the feeling of a gentle opening of the chest with the heart radiating up and out towards the sun. Soften the shoulders. Release the trapezius muscles and perhaps engage the latissimus dorsi muscles to bring the scapulae bones away from the ears. Be sure to feel a lift out of the torso. Never collapse in the lower back.
Reach up however you choose to. Commit to reaching up out the fingers (version one) or out the heart (version two), then we will continue to flow forward to the next pose.
Below is a video of how I open up to expand out before I flow through the Sun Salutations, I invite you to press play and come play! Namaste.