Let the sunshine in

Those of you who attend my classes will know that I recently took part in a sponsored Sun Sequence (Surya Namaskar) event, with Dru Yoga North.

We had to do 108 complete rounds in the first 3 weeks of September, which I happily did. I then committed to doing 108 complete rounds on Sunday September 23rd, which I also managed in 1 hour and 50 minutes (pleased with that I can’t deny!). In this blog I thought I would share with you some of the things I discovered about this ancient yogic practice.

The first thing I must share is that I loved doing the sun sequence daily during September. I did 6 rounds each morning and was rewarded with many benefits – my energy levels soared, I slept well, my body felt in balance and I had a good positive mental attitude. I can highly recommend this as a fabulous daily practice, takes about 10 minutes but the sun shines all day!

Doing 108 rounds all in one day was a different matter. Truth is, it was hardwork – physically and mentally! That said I’m really glad I did it and I learnt a huge amount, both about the sequence and about me.

Physically I experienced many benefits. It certainly improved my stamina and strengthened my core. My back felt fantastic the day after and an old shoulder injury (which niggles me nearly every day normally) has disappeared altoghter. The pain in my shoulder started to intensify after about an hour of practise, however, as I knew I wasn’t causing it any damage I decided to continue with 6 more rounds and then assess whether I should continue. I focussed my inhalation into the shoulder, releasing the pain and tension with the exhalation and I practised these rounds with great mindfulness, ensuring that the correct muscles were engaged for each posture, that my core was working throughout and I was maintaining correct alignments all the way through. And guess what? When I’d finished that set of 6 the pain was considerably easier and by the end of the next 6 I’d forgotten all about it.

Even though I don’t suffer with digestive problems, I was still aware that following this practise my system was even more efficient. I felt I’d had a good clear out and my trousers were certainly looser the following day.

The mind, however, struggled a little bit more with the practise. At first I felt all enthusiastic but I have to be honest after round 42 I was Bored (yes bored with a capital B – it was that bad!). As I know the sequence well, so I didn’t have to think much about what I was doing, I noticed that my mind had totally wandered off, I wasn’t in the moment. To address this, the first thing I did was to change my music. I like to do sequences to music, I find they help me flow and I’d chosen some suitably yogic flowy, tinkly type music to put me in the mood. This was fine to start with, as I was warming up and getting in the practise but I found that I was getting slower and sloowwer, I’d probably be still there now if I’d not changed to something far more up tempo. I ended up doing rounds to Abba, the BeeGees and any other Disco Inferno type tunes I could find on my I-Pod (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!!) and wow I starting whizzing through the moves. Music most definitely affects your energy.

The other thing I did was vary my focus of the sequences, so some I did being very aware of how my body moved physically, some focussed on the breath, others I tried to make light and energy filled. I did some slow rounds, some fast rounds and some really fast rounds! Anything to keep my mind interested.

I also spent some time contemplating why I was doing this in the first place. We were raising money for Dru’s charitable work, specifically the eye clinics they organise in India. For £25 they can perform simple operations, such as removing cataracts, which gives someone back their sight. Now I think that’s pretty amazing. Apparently people queue for hours to access these clinics and I was bored doing 2 hours of something I actually enjoy! That was humbling and gave me the final impetus to complete.

So far, I’ve collected £250 in sponsorship money – so a big thankyou to everyone who has donated. I’ll up date you on the final tally when I have all the details. In the meantime if you would like to donate please do give me shout and maybe you could consider joining us for this challenge next year! Start practising now, 6 rounds a day and let the sunshine in. Ix

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