I got a chance to visit the Sierra Hot Springs last night and came back this morning. It was an interesting experience, both because of the Hot Springs and the relaxing atmosphere of the mountains. The elevation is probably about 6,000 feet high and the springs are 108 degrees. Extremely hot.
It took some getting use to, that was for sure. But the water was so relaxing; when I put my shoulders under the water, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. There were two cold pools as well, with water that was about 55 or 60 degrees, for cooling down in between sessions of the hot pool. It was a pretty cool experience. After a couple rotations in the hot tub, I went straight to sleep.
I woke up to a brisk gust of wind and birds chirping loudly in the evergreen trees, some were sequoias. I did the hot/cold rotation in the spa a couple more times, then went in the 80 or so degree pool outside and let the sun dry me off. The most relaxing part of this whole experience were the shifts and changes in my breath and how my body relaxed drastically with the heat and changes in temperature. It made me rethink the ways that I wake my body up in the mornings. I think that the changes in temperature in the shower are probably similarly therapeutic. Kundalini practitioners wake to cold showers to stimulate the nerves. Needless to say, it was a blissful way to wake up. But after its relaxation, this experience made me miss something… waking up to do yoga.
That may sound a bit weird, but meditation are beginning to become a really special part of the day for me. Right when I wake up, if I can get 10 minutes of breath focus and a few yin asanas I feel amazing. But I am getting back into a routine of working, which means that I am also getting back into my ashtanga routine. The stimulation of sun salutations and breathing exercises in the morning is an incredible way to wake up the mind.
Sun Salutations are probably the most powerful exercises I know of to wake up the spine. They sooth the body, stretch arms, legs, and flex and bend the spine back and forth, then proceed to increase heart rate and stimulate the circulatory system over time. Throw some jump-backs, jump-throughs, chair poses, warrior 1s, handstands, and of course everyone’s favorite chaturanga in there and you have some extreme burpee-like calisthenic exercises. Tomorrow I am going to start a sun salutation video series, or at least try to get one rolling without a goPRO.
I am planning on starting a new video series tomorrow teaching the fundamental poses of surya namaskara A. Surya is the sun god from Hinduism, to whom the poses are devoted. I’ll show you some of the techniques I use to wake my body up in the morning with the sequence. Stay tuned and check back tomorrow yogis…