Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22. This environmental focused day got its start in the 1970’s as an effort to get people to develop an awareness and appreciation for our environment. Earth Day is also a global event.
On this day, there will likely be educational programs about the environment on TV, around your community, and in schools. Common practices include planting a tree or plants, picking up trash (Adopt a Highway), recycling, and conservation efforts. Other people or groups may sponsor hikes, bike rides, or runs.
As yogis, Earth Day is right up our alley. Many of us are very conscious about eating organic, recycling, and choosing Eco friendly fabrics or products like bamboo. We even have a series of poses that are a Salute to the Sun (Surya Namaskar) and every yogi pretty much has experienced some sort of a Sun Salutation in a flow based yoga class because it is a very popular practice. We also have a series called a Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar) which is also practiced as well; just not as often as the Sun Salutation.
While online, I came across an Earth Salutation (Prithvi Namaskar) and thought I’d share in honor of Earth Day. However; when “Googling” Prithvi Namaskar to learn more, I discovered that Prithvi Namaskar is a salutation from “Dru Yoga” and no I’m not trained in Dru Yoga but I am curious about it. The Dru Yoga version has 16 parts to it and I say parts because you’ll be in a pose but have a flowing arm and breath type of work which kind of reminds me of QiGong.
Now the version I share is very different from the Dru interpretation. All in all, with this version, there are 14 poses that are intended to be practiced cyclic just like you do in a Sun Salutation. It is recommended to pursue this Earth Salutation outside and midday. Also, this is a very “grounded” practice so that could be a theme inspiration.
Earth Salutation: Prithvi Namaskar
***Let nature be your music.***
1. Hero Pose (AKA Thunderbolt) with hands at heart’s center (picture)
2. Inhale arms overhead (Exhale – unfold legs)
3. ‘Seated’ Forward Fold (Inhale – lengthen. Exhale – fold)
4. Extended Child’s Pose
5. Upward Facing Dog/Cobra (choose one)
6. All 4’s (Cross Legs to transition)
7. ‘Seated’ Forward Fold
8. Bridge Pose
9. Plow Pose/Shoulder-stand Pose/Legs Up the Wall Pose (choose one)
10. ‘Seated’ Wide Angled Forward Fold (Legs Staddled)
11. Bridge Pose
12. Wind Relieving Pose (hold shin and draw knee to chest and then bring forehead to knee) — you can do one knee at a time or both
13. Camel Pose
14. Child’s Pose
I’m not sure as to which yoga discipline this interpretation came from but I do like it. Notice that you are pretty much grounded (earthy) with this sequence. Take your time with it so you can really ground your body to the mat as you explore the poses. I wouldn’t really make this a vinyasa, but rather maybe stay in each pose for a few breaths. I also like the idea of separating the left and right legs into two cycles verses bringing both knees to the forehead (Wind Relieving Pose #10).
Now if you want to learn more about Dru Yoga, there is a book titled “Dru Yoga – Stillness in Motion” by Chris Barrington, Annie Jones, and Anita Goswami. Additionally, there are DVDs out there too. I recently bought this book and I actually referenced Prithvi Namaskar in an attempt to learn more about this flow. I will say that the one in the book is nothing like the sequence I posted. Nevertheless, I will place the above posted sequence in my practice on Monday.
Definitely celebrate Earth Day by doing something outside, maybe it can be your yoga practice. Stay grounded!