Today’s travel tip is inspired by a yoga practice I created for a morning ritual a few years ago and incorporates a series of sun salutations and poses with Scripture and prayer. I’m adding it to the Travel Tip Tuesday series because it’s a practice that only takes about 10 minutes once you get the hang of it and doesn’t really require a mat (a towel or blanket would do just fine), so it makes a wonderful and quick travel yoga practice for mind, body, and spirit and is also a wonderful addition to a morning ritual at home. I won’t say much more because I say it all below, but I will say that it’s not nearly as complex or long as it looks, I promise! Give it a try sometime at home or away and feel free to personalize it based on your own needs or desires.
And one more thing: I’m no expert, so don’t hold me responsible for bad form in the images below! If you see something that’s incorrect, let me know and I’ll change it. Let’s begin, shall we?
Sun salutations are a perfect way to greet the day and they follow an ideal rhythm for incorporating prayers and recitations in your practice. Below is a sun salutation sequence I do while reciting the oft-quoted section of the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, to remind myself what love truly is and set my intention for the day ahead:
begin in mountain pose, hands in prayer;
reach up » Love is patient,
swan dive to forward fold » love is kind,
halfway lift » It does not envy,
forward fold with palms to floor; step back to plank » it does not boast,
chaturanga (how to here) to upward dog » it isn’t proud.
push up to downward dog during the pause;
lift your right leg » It does not dishonor others,
pull through to front » it is not self-seeking,
warror 2 » it is not easily angered,
dancing warrior » it keeps no record…
lean forward » of wrongs.
cartwheel arms down, step into plank, chaturanga to upward dog then downward dog »
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
lift left leg up and bring it forward;
warrior 2 » It always protects,
dancing warrior » always trusts,
lean forward » always hopes,
cartwheel hands down » always perseveres.
plank, chaturanga to upward dog and downward dog » Love never fails.
POSES + PRAYERS
I then move into a series of three poses with corresponding prayers based on Scripture passages. Each prayer is directed to a different person of the Trinity, which I refer to as Christ, Sacred Guide, and Creator to avoid gendered language and also just because I really like it. Additionally, there is a strong focus on intention and struggles in the prayers, and each prayer offers the opportunity for personalization based on your own desires and areas of growth. I’ve offered suggestions in parentheses to get you started, but once you get into a rhythm, feel free to substitute your own words if something else resonates with you more deeply.
tree pose with hands on head;
recite to the rhythm of your breath »
Christ, shape my mind today; make it like yours.
May I dwell on what is true, and not… (false)
what is noble, and not… (disrespectful)
what is right, and not… (deceitful)
what is pure, and not… (corrupt)
what is lovely, and not… (disingenuous)
what is admirable, and not… (selfish)
what is excellent, and not… (simply in vogue)
what is praise-worthy, and not… (ostentatious)
(Based on Philippians 4:8. This one is kind of hard because Paul took the easy route and used a bunch of synonyms, but it does allow space to explore all of the ways negative thoughts arise throughout the day.)
tree pose with opposite leg and hands in a receiving posture;
recite to the rhythm of your breath »
Sacred Guide, fill me with your fruit.
I breath in love and breathe out… (contempt)
I breathe in joy and breathe out… (lassitude)
I breathe in peace and breathe out… (anxiety)
I breathe in patience and breathe out… (urgency)
I breathe in kindness and breathe out… (judgement)
I breathe in goodness and breathe out… (disregard)
I breathe in faithfulness and breathe out… (doubt)
I breathe in gentleness and breath out… (anger)
I breathe in self-control and breathe out… (chaos)
(Based on the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23)
Chair pose, arms raised »
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals;
Give me what I need to make it through the day.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from our false selves and from the devil.
You’re in charge!
Not… (name things that you often distracted by
or think you are dependent on, such as work,
your to-do list, a relational conflict, etc.)
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
(Based on The Message version of The Lord’s Prayer found
in Matthew 6:9-13. Italics are my own alterations and additions)
finish in mountain post and your hands and prayer
and with the bow of your head, say: namaste
“The Divine in me sees the Divine in You.”
OTHER POSES TO ADD TO YOUR SUN SALUTATION
Below are some additional poses to add to your sun salutation if you want to extend the exercise and make your practice more vigorous. Whatever you choose to add, make sure you do it on both sides! Do one new series of poses with each sun salutation cycle, with a chaturanga and return to downward dog between each series.
Do you practice yoga? Have you ever practiced it with a mantra or prayer? If you were creating your own routine, what mantra, prayer, or poem would you use?