I have been practicing Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) for years. It stretches most of the long muscles in the body, is strengthening as well, and awakens and energizes the body/mind. It is a great sequence to start your day with. Students who have practiced this sequence for years will have no problem continuing doing so well into their senior years as long as they can keep their spine lengthened throughout and remain strong in their wrists and shoulders. The use of blocks will ease the flow as the body ages.
Students who come to me with osteoporosis, repetitive strain, shoulder movement limitations and heart disease like metabolic syndrome, higher chance of stroke, and fibrillation disorders can benefit from a modified version of the sun salutation sequence.
Using a chair for support takes us into many of the stretches without extreme weight bearing in the arms/shoulders/wrists, and without inversions which are contraindicated for those with heart disease. Using full yogic breaths and ujjayi breathing throughout will slow the movement down and give you the opportunity to - breath . feel . relax. witness . and allow-
Do not start a yoga practice without your doctor's OK. Find a qualified senior certified yoga teacher to check your alignment throughout the practice so you can safely stretch and strengthen.
Lisa Davidson is a Kripalu and Senior certified yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance and has been teaching for over 35 years. She offers courses in the Boston Metrowest area and private classes at Longfellow Health Center in Wayland and in your home.