As the sun started to rise over the Hudson Valley, I made my way to a park near Beacon, NY with a breathtaking view of the Hudson River and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, it was the perfect spot for my outdoor workout and today's yoga practice.
Harnessing the Power of the Sun: Sun Salutation Yoga Sequence for Strength and Serenity – Yoga 101 with Maxwell Alexander, Certified Fitness Trainer, Bodybuilding, and Sports Nutrition Coach – Presented by HARD SUPPS
I have always been drawn to the beauty and tranquility of the Hudson Valley. The fresh air, the lush greenery, and the stunning views make it my little slice of paradise. I take advantage of every opportunity to soak up the sun and enjoy the great outdoors.
As I ditched my yoga mat and settled into my practice right on the grass, I felt a sense of peace and serenity. The sun was warm on my skin, and the gentle breeze carried the sound of the nearby river. It was the perfect setting for my sun salutation sequence.
I started with Tadasana or standing mountain pose, centering myself with a few deep breaths and hands to heart. Then I raised my hands upward for the Urdhva Hastasana, reaching high into the sky. I even challenged myself by bending backward for a deep back stretch, holding it for a minute or two while doing deep diaphragmatic breathing.
Usually, I would do Uttanasana or a deep forward bend, but since I'm just getting back in shape after winter, I couldn't stay there for too long and went straight into Ardha Uttanasana, which is a half-forward bend.
From there, I proceeded with the rest of the sequence - stepping back into plank pose, lowering down into chaturanga, lifting my chest into an upward-facing dog, and then lifting my hips into a downward-facing dog.
Moving through the sequence with grace and ease, my muscles felt strong, and my breath was steady. As I completed my final downward-facing dog, I paused to take in the stunning view. The sun was now high in the sky, casting a warm glow over the park and the river. It was a moment of pure bliss.
For me, yoga is not just a physical practice but a spiritual one. It allows me to connect with my body, my breath, and my innermost self. On top of everything, there are also significant mental health benefits. Practicing mindfulness and being present in the moment can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and boost overall well-being. And with the added benefit of being outside in nature, the mental health benefits are even greater.
Furthermore, the sun rays that we soak up during outdoor yoga help your body produce essential vitamins and nutrients that are crucial for our health, including the generation of melatonin and vitamin D. These nutrients play a vital role in maintaining healthy sleeping habits, healthy testosterone levels, improving mental health, and promoting overall wellness.
So, the next time you're considering a yoga practice, consider taking it outside and bask in the beauty of nature while improving your physical and mental health.
As I rolled up my mat and packed up my belongings, I felt a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the Hudson Valley, for the sun, for my body, and for my practice. And as I made my way back home, I knew that I would be back soon, to soak up the beauty and energy of the great outdoors once again. Namaste.