Therapeutic Sun Salutations? YES!

Sun Salutations

Sun SalutationsRxSome folks are wondering how I am going to present this weekend’s workshop material. Sun Salutations are supposed to be heating, and physically challenging. And Therapeutic yoga has a reputation for being of the ‘soft’. How can the two possibly meet and play nice in the same room?? It’s exactly that balance of practice that we will construct!

I have been applying principles of therapeutic yoga (that I have learned in a year-long training with Leslie Kaminoff) to my practice of Sun Salutations and classical yoga postures. And it has been nothing short of a Renaissance of Healing and Freedom in my 18 year long yoga practice.

Here is a brief outline of the workshop’s timeline, topics we will discuss, and applications we will weave into practice:

  • Opening Harmonium Meditation
  • Definitions of Yoga
  • The ‘Unbridled Pursuit of Flexibility’ & Bringing your practice in to the present moment.
  • Sun Salutations origin from Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
  • Methodology of Ashtanga Shala & Mysore Practice.
  • Traditional Surya Namaskar A & B … poses & sequence
  • Role of Breath, Bandhas, & Drishti
  • Role of the Poses
  • Making modifications to poses & sequence to support and honor the primary application of breath, bandhas, and drishti
  • Break down Ujjayi Pranayama
  • Importance of consistent ujjayi pranayama…gives rhythm to the practice.
  • Finding mula bandha
  • Finding Uddiyana Bandha
  • Power of Drishti
  • Class inquiry…what hurts & when
  • Modifying sequence per each student
  • Full practice

Hope to see some of y’all there. Remember, all teachers receive a special Teacher Rate. There is a button for it on the registration page.

LOVE & YOGA, Melanie


Pain In The Asana

Asana: pose, posture, seat
Ahimsa: to do no harm

Classical Sun Salutations
Classical Sun Salutations

Since the beginning of my 6-week teaching sabbatical I have also taken an intentional break from my regular asana practice of Sun Salutations and classical poses. This is the longest uninterrupted rest from asana  I have taken in 17 years of practice. Interestingly, one of the results is that I am pain-free in some of my chronic areas of aggravation… specifically in my hamstring attachment area. Basically, that nagging long-suffered ‘pain in my ass’ has evaporated. This state leaves me simultaneously euphoric and frightened. My asana practice has been my savior, foundation, therapist, refuge, friend, entertainment,  release, adventure, and source of livelihood. But apparently it has been the source of a little suffering as well.

Supported 'Head Stand' With 2 Chairs
Supported ‘Head Stand’ With 2 Chairs



For the past month and a half my daily yoga practice has consisted solely of a couple of restorative poses a day, including my longtime fave of hanging upside down between two chairs (see photo). This break from my regular practice of vigorous asana has enlightened me to the fact that it’s time to re-pattern it so that I can maintain  this blissful pain-free state that has happened.


Re-patterning does not necessarily mean taking on a whole new practice or ditching cherished poses and sequences. I miss and love practicing Sun Salutations. I believe in their healing power.  They provide me with focus, concentration, courage, and empowerment like nothing else. And I LOVE TO SWEAT.   I do not want to give them up. What to do???


I’m in the process of breaking down the Sun Salutations.  Essentially I am re-configuring actions, alignment, and habits of practice tailored to and nurturing of MY body’s  story. The intention for practice is ahimsa (causing no harm to myself or others) while still honoring the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Hatha tradition from where the sequence comes. For me this means approaching practice with courageous honesty  and self/body-directed wisdom. It means making changes and proceeding with care.  In every moment we must recognize if we are causing suffering, to ourselves or others and adjust accordingly.


Awareness of a pain in the ass the first step. What we do with that is the interesting next step. I will keep you posted on my progress.

I’d love to hear about your experiences in asana practice. Write me a note in the comments section below. Or let’s chat about it on Facebook or Twitter. Hope to see you soon on a yoga mat!

Peace & Love,
Shameless  Plug….
Upcoming  Sun Salutations Workshop  Saturday June 29,  1-5pm,  at USA Rec Center in Mobile, Alabama.

Early bird rate $60 ends June 15th.