A sun salutation is one of the most beautiful and effective yoga poses or sequences. It strengthens the whole body, improves balance, builds bone mass, stimulates the lymph system, and increases heart rate for cardiovascular health. It is and should be the staple of most practices. However, for some cancer survivors, it can be daunting.
The yoga4cancer sun salutations modify the common practice to enable all survivors to achieve the benefits without the risk, concern or discomfort. Below details one of the many sun salutations featured in Tari’s Book – Yoga for Cancer.
Knee Down Sun Salutation
Benefits: Strengthens the whole body, improves balance, builds bone mass, stimulates the lymph system, lymphatic drainage in arms, increases heart rate for cardiovascular health.
Props needed: Two blocks, blanket (optional)
Place two blocks shoulder width apart on the highest level at the front of your mat. Stand tall between them. Line up your toes with the front edge of the blocks.
Inhale: Reach your arms out and up like swan wings.
Exhale: Bend your knees as if you’re going into Chair pose and lower your arms, bringing your hands to the blocks. Keep your chest lifted.
Inhale: Step your right leg back into a lunge. Reach the crown of your head forward while reaching back through your right heel. Left knee should be directly above left ankle.
Exhale: Lower your right knee to the mat or a blanket, untucking your toes so the top of the foot rests on the floor.
Inhale: Lift your arms out and up, bringing your torso upright.
To complete the Sun Salutation, repeat each of these actions in reverse, following the illustrations from right to left.
Exhale: Lower hands to blocks.
Inhale: Tuck right toes under and lift your right knee.
Exhale: Step your right foot forward between the blocks, both knees bent, chest lifted.
Inhale: Straighten your legs, reaching your arms out and up like swan wings.
Exhale: Lower your arms. Return to stand tall position.
Repeat on the second side, stepping back with your left leg.
Modifications: For sensitive knees, set a folded blanket across the middle of your mat where your knees will land during the knee-down lunge. If range of motion in your arms is limited, lift your arms only to a comfortable height. If your hands do not reach the blocks as you bend your knees from a standing position, stack two blocks under each hand.