The yoga sun salutations can be done just about anywhere and doing them regularly helps with flexibility of the spine and warms up and loosens the muscles of the shoulders, back, neck, and arms. The following is a modified step-by-step sun salutation to help you open physically, mentally, and energetically to each new day.
First, get your Young Living peppermint and lavender essential oils. Place one drop of peppermint and two to three drops of lavender onto your left palm. Gently rub your right palm over your left to mix the oils together.
Stand up straight and tall with your feet together, cupping your hands together over your nose, and gently inhale the blend of peppermint and lavender deeply for three to five breaths, setting your intentions for your day. Ground your feet into the floor by lifting and spreading all ten toes, then placing them firmly back onto the floor. Lift the inner arches of your feet, lift your inner anklebones up, and lift your kneecaps, so that your thigh muscles engage. Lengthen your tailbone down towards the floor, making sure you are not tilting your pelvis forward, nor arching at your lower back. Soften your ribs, and with each breath, lift your breastbone, widened your collarbones, and bring your shoulder blades down your back. Keep lifting your head towards the ceiling.
Notice how the peppermint essential oil helps stimulate your awareness, while the lavender oil soothes and calms. After inhaling the oils, you may rub the back of your neck to administer the remaining oils that are on your hands.
To begin the sun salutation, stand with your hands in prayer position in front of your heart.
1) Inhale and bring your arms out to your sides and then up over your head and pressing your palms together, arching your back as far as feels safe for you.
2) Exhale, lowering your arms back down to your sides, and bend forward, until your hands touch your knees, shins, feet, or the floor. If you are just beginning your yoga practice, or not feeling very flexible, simply stand with your feet hip-distance apart and slightly bend your knees as you fold forward.
3) On your next inhale, with your arms remaining down, lift your head, shoulders, and chest halfway up with a flat back, looking towards the wall in front of you.
4) Exhale, and come back to the forward fold.
5) Inhale your arms down, back out to your sides, and up over your head. Press your palms together and then bring your hands back down to prayer position, pausing for a moment at your forehead, mentally stating your intention for positive, healthy thoughts for the day. Then bring your prayer hands to your lips, stating your intention for speaking the truth with kindness and compassion. As you pass your hands from your forehead to your lips, take a moment to inhale the aroma of peppermint and lavender. Finally, bring your prayer hands back to your heart, breathing into a felt sense of the manifestations of your intentions for the day.
Repeat this entire sequence three to ten times slowly and purposefully.
One of the greatest benefits of practicing yoga is to have a calmer and clearer mind so that we do not identify with negative thoughts that create a false identity and cause us to operate from limiting beliefs. Using essential oils with yoga is a great way to create more peace of mind.
Tracy Griffiths, RPP, RPE, CMT
Author of Aroma Yoga ® A Guide For Using Essential Oils In Your Yoga Practice