Sunbird - Overview
Beginner: Sunbird is a great sequence for beginners to focus on moving completely through the spine and begin to discover their comfort level with asymmetrical balances. Do not force yourself to go further into a pose than your body is strong enough to take you. Focus more on discovering what your body can do in these positions.
The link is third eye opening: a call for clarity of thought, insight and wisdom. On an inhale breath, place the fingertips of both hands evenly on the center of your forehead, just above your eyes. From this place, extend your arms and hands up and on exhale, glide them down and back to center.
Advanced: Sunbird is a strengthening sequence for the advanced practitioner. Be intent on working fully through the arms. Use the practice to clear clutter from your mind and regain open awareness of yourself and everything around you. Every goal is possible!
The third eye opening breath-body link allows for calming and clearing the mind while attaining a focus on making space within yourself for postive intent through releasing negative energy.
Beginner: Cat rolling is fantastic for beginners to gently massage and envigorate the spine. On inhale, let the belly hang low and lift in the chest. On exhale, pull the abdominals in, and roll through the spine.
Advanced: Advanced practitioners can continue to expand through cat rolling by tuning in to every single vertebrae in the spine while flowing from cat bow to cat lift. Push evenly through the hands and arms. Are your shoulders down in the lift? In the bow, really make space between your shoulder blades and tuck the pelvis under.
Beginner: Beginners benefit from downward facing dog as it stretches the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, right down to the arches of your feet! Don't worry if you cannot straighten your legs in this pose, it will come with time. For now, focus on keeping the back super flat and your knees deeply bent. Begin to push the legs straight while the back stays flat, opening into the tight hamstring muscles. If you have wrist problems, be very mindful of any pain you feel in this posture.
Advanced: To deepen in downward facing dog, the advanced practitioner can focus on sinking into the heels and lifting the tail bone. Keep your arms super-straight and energize the palms of the hands and fingers.
Beginner: SunbirdLift is a wonderful pose for beginners to help stretch and strengthen the arms, chest and core. The grounded knee should be parallel with the hip, and hips stay level as the opposing leg lifts skyward. If you feel compression in the spine, lower the leg a little.
Advanced: To deepen into sunbird lift, advanced yogis can expand and widen in the collarbone area while pushing outward with the insides of the arms. Are your hands evenly pushing into the floor? Extend the energy from the arms through the hands. Squeeze your shoulder blades together but keep your shoulders relaxing away from your ears.
Beginner: Gate Pose can be a challenge for beginners as you test your balance and strength in your arms. Try to push the outside of the top foot into the mat to steady yourself. Keep your abdominals energized and feel very long in the waist. If you lose balance, do not worry, falling is part of the practice.
Advanced: When you are comfortable in Gate Pose, become invested in the full expression of the posture. Focus on your chest stretching and lifting, following the direction of your head. Circle your arm in a fluid, complete motion, and really stretch into the extension. Push your grounding arm down. Are your shoulders away from your ears? Remember to lengthen through the neck and keep the gaze focused on a drishti point for balance.
Beginner: For the bow, keep elbows tucking into the body and rest your head along the floor. If this posture is hard on your knees, try adding an extra mat or placing your knees on a blanket. Hand placement is important, keep hands even in width with the shoulders to help comfortably distribute the weight of the body.
Advanced: In Sunbird bow, keep the head hovering gently above the floor, building immense strength in the shoulders and arms. Your abdominal muscles are super engaged, super energized. Extend the line of energy from the length of the leg all the way through the foot. Can you lift a little higher?
Beginner: One-legged down dog can be a challenging pose for beginners. Energize the hands and push fully through them to straighten the arms and lift into the posture. Keep hips level. However high you are able to raise your extended leg is fine.
Advanced: Advanced yogis can deepen into this pose by working to sink the heel of the grounded leg to the floor. Continue to extend and lift the raised leg. Activate the arms by pressing the fingers firmly into the ground and energizing the palms while keeping the arms super straight.