Yoga retreat salutes the sun

October 8, 2015

If I planted a flower for every person in the world who practices yoga, the garden would circle around the world many, many ,many, many times.

Even though the following article was written years ago, it  just might give you some insights into yoga that you previously were unaware of. You always might be able to adapt some of the visualizations to your own yoga practice or even to another spiritual practice such as meditation. See what you think:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

November 24, 1999

Yoga retreat salutes the sun

by Tanya Lester

Despite the ongoing rain, participants as the Salt Spring Centre’s (SSC) recent “Creating Sacred Space” yoga retreat were able to access the sun.

Celeste Mallett, an ashtanga yoga teacher and retreat organizer, lead the group of approximately 20 women in a “surya namasker” or “salute to the sun” on November 13.

During yoga practice, the sun is visualized. At one point, for example, Mallet directed participants to picture its healing rays around the heart.

According to Mallett, the 12 physical yoga postures in the surya namasker represent the 12 months of the year and the 12 zodiac signs.

All muscles of the body are exercised and health benefits are numerous. In fact, “a person who practices it daily in conjunction  with moderate and regular life habits, like sleeping and eating habits, like sleeping and eating controllably, can almost be guaranteed perfect health throughout his or her life.”

Mallet said by the time the surya namasker is completed, the physical exercise has promoted blood flow and massaged every organ in the body, resulting in an elevated feeling of invigoration for the practitioner.

It can have religious and mental health implications as well.

“For the person of devotional and religious temperament it can be practiced with the attitude of reverence for the source of life, for the purification of the mind and heart through prayer,” Mallet stated.

“For sufferers of mental diseases, peace of mind can be found through it s systematic concentration and relaxation.”

The weekend provided women with many options they can use to create “sacred space” in their busy lives. Prior to surya namasker, the women took a half-hour meditative walk around the SSC grounds, in which they were directed to think about sending energy into the ground with one step and receiving energy from the earth with the next.

Each woman brought back a natural object, which was placed on an altar after the participant stated how it represented an issue or emotion that woman was dealing with.

Mallet shared a meditation with women which encouraged remembering calmness while taking the in-breath and to smile on the out-breath in order to relax facial muscles.

Throughout the weekend, women were encouraged to write in their journal in between practicing yoga and meditations. They could also write poetry or prayers that might be used to find a sacred place in the future……


Tanya Lester is a writer and author of four books: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (can be purchased from her or through, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams & Tricksters, and Women Rights/Writes. The books can be found in libraries including the Legislative Library of Manitoba.

Tanya’s email is and her website is:

The early posts of this blog can be found at

Tanya is also a reiki master and housesitter.


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