Fitness Magazine

Full Catastrophe Sun Saluations

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Beth

Full Catastrophe Sun Saluations

Rising Sun by Paul Klee

“So many tangles in life are ultimately hopeless that we have no appropriate sword other than laughter.” —Gordon W. Allport, psychologist and educator

The idea for this post comes from a YouTube video titled, “Angry Yoga,” In it a yoga teacher leads her class through a Sun Salutation complete with commentary that covers climate change, cultural dissonance, and the futility of hope. It tickled my funny bone, which responds to humor that is offbeat, quirky, sarcastic and slightly satirical. 
I wanted to expand on the “Angry Yoga,” shtick but end on a positive note—hope springs eternal after all. My Full Catastrophe Sun Salutation addresses the complexity of living life as a yogi amid the tangles of today’s world and is named after Jon Kabat Zinn’s book, Full Catastrophe Living, which deals with stress, mindfulness, meditation and healing. I hope it makes you laugh.The Full Catastrophe Sun Salutation:1. Mountain Pose. Stand tall. Feel your feet planted into the Earth, our poor messed up planet Earth, full of war, famine, poverty, hazardous waste, divisive politics, violence, ignorance, and pain. Have I left anything out? Take a big inhalation and then release the breath with a suitable sound: Ahhhhhhhrgh!!!2. Upward Salute. Inhale your arms overhead. Reach up towards the warmth of the sun, even though you know it’s gonna die, first growing 40% brighter and hotter as the oceans boil, the ice caps melt, and the atmosphere goes poof and drifts out to space while we slowly suffocate. Too bad the sun isn’t massive enough to go supernova and burn us all to crispy critters. That would be a whole lot quicker. Oh, well.3. Forward Fold. Hinge from the hips, hands flowing down to your feet like the acid rain, snow, fog, hail and dust that’s polluting lakes, streams, and wetlands, and damaging the soil and everything that grows from it—fruits, vegetables, plants and trees. Feeling a bit of existential angst? Entering a “dark night of the soul?” Hang in there, we’re not done yet!4. Lunge Pose. Step your right leg back. Come into your Lunge pose. Gaze straight toward the horizon covered in pollution, haze, and industrial smoke. The title of that old song by Arthur Hamilton “Cry Me a River” seems appropriate right now, so sob uncontrollably until your tears end the droughts in the U. S., Colombia, Pakistan, Somalia, Australia, Guatemala, China and Kenya to mention just a few countries. 5. Downward Facing Dog Pose. Step your left foot back. Lift high to the sky and don’t give a flying fig what anyone thinks about the size of your behind—especially you! 6. Plank Pose. Inhale into your Plank Pose. Focus on your core. Want those six-pack abs? Hang in there until your muscles seize and you collapse like a stone. Then sink gracefully and gratefully into Child’s pose. Surrender to thoughts of that piece of chocolate cheesecake waiting for you at home. Sugar, calories, and fat—emotional eating at its best. Yummy.7. Low Cobra Pose. Inhale forward into Low Cobra and while you’re there, gently bang your head on your mat a few times. This is a therapeutic technique to help you push away thoughts about the misery of life, the uselessness of caring about anything, or the hopelessness of changing anything. Find your excuse to cop out, drop out, and give up. Let your body melt into the earth. It will anyway cause life’s a bitch and then we die.8. Downward Facing Dog Pose. Now lift up high to Down Dog once more and consider that this might be the closest any of us gets to our personal idea of heaven or the afterlife. Bend one knee and then the other as you walk your Dog to the Pearly Gates, Paradise, Nirvana, or your next incarnation. When you get there, remind whoever or whatever is guarding the entrance that you are a yogi and you have a Self-Realization coupon for admittance that never expires.9. Lunge Pose. Step your right foot forward. Come into your Lunge pose. As you gaze toward the horizon this time, exhale calmly because you are doing your part to save the Earth by reducing your use of plastic bags, placing solar panels on your roof, recycling your paper, cardboard, and plastic containers numbered 1 through 7, and using public transportation, carpooling, biking, or simply walking when and wherever possible. 10. Forward Fold. Step your left foot forward and release your spine, head, and neck. Hang there in Forward Fold and let all the little white lies you’ve ever told to save someone else’s feelings drain out of your ears. Hold the pose and release the negative self-talk that keeps you angry, sad, and cynical. Let them fall out of your slightly parted lips. Lastly, notice the unhelpful core beliefs that drip, drip, drip from your nose, clearing your sinuses and alleviating any seasonal allergies. YAY! There’s a beneficial side effect. 11. Standing Twist Left (Rishi’s Posturesee Three Shades of Grace). Bend your right knee as you inhale and lift your left arm out to the side and up. Twist your upper body to the left. Reach up high and let your energy slowly rise along with your arm. As you exhale and lower your arm, you realize that as messed up as things seem, YOU WILL BE OK. (Picture Rishi’s Posture from my post – Three Shades of Grace, April 28, 2016)12. Standing Twist Right (Rishi’s Posture). Bend your left knee as you inhale and lift your right arm out to the side and up. Twist your upper body to the right. Exhale and lower your arm. Remember what Lena Horne, the award–winning singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activities, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”13. Upward Salute. Inhale both arms overhead. Reach up high toward the sun. After all it’s going to be there for at least a billion more years! 14. Mountain Pose. Stand tall, arms by your sides. Feel your feet planted into the Earth and as you prepare to move from your Full Catastrophe Sun Salutation into your day, make an intention to find out what makes you laugh, include it in your life and share it with others. 

15. Repeat on the second side.Swami Satchindanada, founder of the Integral Yoga Institutes says:“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?” Not everyone laughs at the same things but fortunately there are enough “tangles” in the world to meet everyone’s needs for laughter and light.

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