Salutation Mondays - Slow Your Flow
While we hope that your Yoga practice will be balanced and holistic everyday, here is one possible way to refine your practice and liven up your week by focusing on different aspects of your poses on different days. Here we begin with Salutation Mondays.
Let your morning begin with salutations. There is nowhere to go but to be in the present, with these flow sequences. Allow your breath to guide each moment of the individual asanas that combine to create a complete salutation. Move in tandem with your breath. Time the fluidity of your movements to the time it takes to completely fill or empty your lungs. Slow flow your salutations on Mondays. It's a less is more approach, with the simplicity of beginner's mind.
Dedicate a minimum of fifteen minutes to your salutations making some Mondays exclusively dedicated to salutations. Or, simply make some Mondays an intensive focus of a larger practice.
See sequence and details that follow. Also, use them to inspire your own ideas.
5 mini flows
5 modified A series salutations: increase the number of breaths in down dog (start with 1-build to 5)
5 modified B series salutations: increase the number of breaths in down dog (start with 1-build to 5)
5 C series salutations: start with five breaths in the low lunge position on each side, decreasing the number of breaths (start with 5 decrease to 1)
1 modified or full A series salutation...only 1 breath in the downward facing dog
1 modified or full B series salutation...only 1 breath in the downward facing dog
1 full C series salutation
Repeat 1 A, 1 B, 1 C for as many rounds as you like.
Complete with seated and, or lying twist, legs up the wall, and savasana.
The key is for each asana comprising the sequence to have a complete inhalation or a complete exhalation, and for the breath and the movement to stay aligned. The aim is not to move quickly, nor to see how many salutations you can do. The focus is on exquisitely syncing your breath and your asansa, and on enjoying the flow. When you move too quickly, or do too many repetitions, you can become inattentive or sloppy in your practice. Approach each asana with intentional alignment and care, using beginner's mind focusing on your ujjayi breath throughout.
Salutation Sequence Details:
- A mini flow is the opening first two asanas and the closing last two asanas of a salutation. Coupling these four simple movements is a great way to initiate the mindset and pacing of Salutation Mondays. They bring breath and body into sync and warm up your slow flow. Soften your knees, keeping them slightly bent on the exhalation moving downward, and again on the inhalation coming back up. Also remember to keep your arms extended out to your sides in these movements, and not extended out in front of you. These two key actions support and protect your back.
- Next, begin with a modified A series salutation. Take one breath in each position, leaving out chaturanga and up dog positions from your sequence. Move slowly and in tandem with your ujjayi breath. Continue your remaining four salutations, adding an additional breath in each repeated down dog until you reach a total of five breaths in downward dog position by the fifth salutation. Pace yourself. If you work up to only three breaths in the down dog as your comfortable maximum, that's fine. Make sure to neither tire out your breathing, nor tax your strength and stamina. Do five repetitions, if comfortable.
- Move into a modified B series salutation which also leaves out chaturanga and up dog from the sequence. Just as in the A series instructions above, build your series until you reach a total of five breaths in your fifth down dog. Do five repetitions, if comfortable.
- C series salutations will be your third round of salutations. Begin with 5 breaths in the low lunge position on each side. Continue by decreasing the number of breaths taken in each successive low lunge of the C series, until you reach just one breath in each low lunge for a series of five salutations.
One breath per movement, including in the down dog, is the way the classical C salutation flows. Remember to hold the inhalation from your first low lunge into the plank position, and then release your breath into knees chest and chin position--ashtanga pranam. This will keep your flow in this sequence producing the correct inhalation with expansive movements and exhalation with contractive movements.
- Continue the salutations, using either a modified or complete A series salutation with only one breath in the down dog.
- Then one round of the B series modified or do the full B series with only one breath in the down dog.
- Followed by one C series salutation with one breath per movement.
- Continue with as many rounds of A,B and C as are comfortable.
- Finish Salutation Mondays with a seated and, or lying twist position, legs up the wall, and a savasana.