Yoga is a versatile form of exercise. It has the capacity for near limitless modifications to suit any type of body and situation. Any specific subset of practitioners is sometimes generically called a Special Population. These Special Populations can range from kids to the elderly to students who are injured in some way. Today I would like to focus on a special population near to my own heart; men.
Image courtesy of Ambro FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
If you have your own practice, you are likely aware of the Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) series. In deference to the armchair quarterback set, I would like to introduce a series I call Half Time Salutations (Surya Ardha Krida).
Serving special populations sometimes requires the use of special props and considerations. For this new series, there will be no mat used, and the area required is simply the space around the student and will vary within that landscape.
- Start with sitting tall, rooting the tailbone into the chair and extending the spine while reaching the head to the sky.
- With your breath, start with Seated Half Moon to both sides a few times to open up the side body; like reaching for chips on the floor next to you.
- Next extend through the spine, pivot at the hips forward and then continue lengthening through the spine as you fold over your knees to pick up the remote control by your feet.
- Coming back up (roll up or straight back), inhaling the arms overhead and gently extend into a gentle back bend as if you were swatting away the significant other wanting you to do chores.
- Return to center and while keeping the sits bones firmly planted, gentle seated spine twists looking for the dog making noises behind the chair.
- Return to center and breathe.
- Plant the feet firmly in the ground, inhale sweep the arms overhead rising to a Touchdown Tadasana(Mountain).
- Keep the spine lengthened and the arms in the Touchdown position, shift your weight to one leg and take a large step forward with the other. Stack the front knee over the front ankle for support and exhale the arms to your waist. Take a moment here to find the neutral pelvis.
- Step forward with the rear leg to Offsides Tadasana. Repeat with alternate legs until you are in the kitchen.
- Shift your weight to one leg, come to a Vriksasana (Tree) posture as you look for snacks in the freezer. Switch legs as you search for more snacks and drinks in the fridge.
- Plant your feet firmly into the ground, hinge at the hips as you extend through the top of the head and fold forward to pick up anything you might have dropped. While there, let your head hang loose and release all tension. Take a breath.
- With arms full and your spine lengthened, tighten your abs and move into a Balakikasana (Crane) posture. As you bring the foot back down, step forward and switch sides. Repeat until you are back with your friends.
- Set your feet firmly to the ground, tailbone reaching to the earth, head lifted to the sky, inhale the arms out in front of you sit back into Arm Chair (Dormula Asandi) Utkatasana. Hold for two comfortable breaths.
- Exhale back to a comfortable seated position.
- With your breath extend up and over the arms of your chair to set your snacks and drinks down.
- Resume watching the game while being fully present with your friends and family.
The nice part about a series designed for a special population is that it is flexible and can be done multiple times a day.
Humor aside, I encourage everyone to give this series a go. Always take the proper safety precautions (i.e. no warrior postures on stairs for example) and work through the series. Sitting and watching television or in front of the computer for long periods of time can lead to energy being sapped, poor posture and as a result, a general feeling of lethargy.
The bottom line, yoga is versatile, helpful and fun. I invite you to play with yoga in ways that are fun, challenging and yes, occasionally silly; no matter what population you belong to.
Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.