“Sun Salutation” is the first song on my album Reach to the Sky, and serves as more than just an opening to this compilation — it represents a meaningful introduction to the practice of yoga itself.
The Sun Salutation is the most popular routine series of asanas, or poses, that warms up the body and is an invigorating way to greet the sun as it rises in the morning. I love the symbolism of this series as a physical greeting to the dawn of a new day, a fresh start, a new beginning, and the renewal of life that occurs each day as we come alive after sleeping.
You’ll also find that the album ends with a similarly soothing song called “Mother Nature’s Lullaby,” a melody to relax and calm you or your child at the end of the day as night falls and we lie down to sleep. You can wake up in the morning and go to bed in the evening with this album as it guides you through the full circle of an active day.
Not only is the Sun Salutation a meaningful routine we can all experience to open our day or warm up at the beginning of a yoga session, but this series and this original song are personally meaningful to me as they represent the dawn of a new era for me as a singer-songwriter and artist.
It’s been just over 11 years since I released my one and only other album of original songs, Liz Rhodes’ Red and Yellow. It was a quickly written and recorded break-up album I wrote at 19 that holds a special place in my heart. But not long after releasing and performing songs from that album, “adult life” happened — within a few years I graduated college, married, moved across the country, worked new jobs, and started having children. As these new stages of life enveloped me, for years I didn’t write a single song and rarely pulled out my guitar.
After having kids and being absorbed by the responsibilities that come with motherhood, I wondered when or if I would ever return to the satisfying practice of songwriting, something I love to do, but lost the inspiration to actually do.
I love and am grateful for my growing children for reawakening the creative spirit within me, leading me into the world of children’s music, and re-inspiring me to renew my songwriting self as Lizzy Luna and the creator of Yoga Storytime and Songs.
So “Sun Salutation” is not just a greeting to a new day, but to this fresh new season for me as a musician and performer. It says, “Hello, again, songwriting self!”, “Hello, new album!”, and “Hello, new community of friends!”
Now about the song itself. The album opens with a short breathing intro that sets your cadence of breath (or how quickly/slowly you breathe) to the beat of the song. Breathing is an essential part of the yoga practice, so I wanted the tempo of this melody to match and support a natural rhythm of breathing as you go through the series of poses.
First, we begin breathing, then the celeste, guitar, and vocals begin, moving in rhythm to our breath as we begin flowing through the Sun Salutation poses.
When you take an adult yoga class, teachers describe how to shape, support, and move your body into various positions, usually with dry directions telling you what to do with your feet and arms and back and legs, etc. with some kind of ethereal background music that doesn’t sync with the moves. With “Sun Salutation” you have a physical and imaginative experience that connects with a tune that is no longer “background” music, but an important and connective part of the exercise.
Also, something I LOVE so much about doing yoga with children is that when you tell them to get into, say, an animal pose, they really pretend and believe to be that animal, keeping their imaginations wide, wide open – which I believe is essential to opening up your body, mind, and spirit as well.
Kids are the best yogis — so energetic, imaginative, flexible, and visionary. If you try to do an hour of yoga with kids with music they can’t connect to and monotonous directions that don’t encourage the imagination, you’ll lose their interest in no time flat, leaving them to forever believe that yoga is boring and slow. Thus, the lyrics of “Sun Salutation” provide simple directions for how to move your body, but with a light sprinkling of imagery with which children (and adults!) can connect.
Standing up tall
I reach for the sky
with my arms stretching high
Then bending forward
I reach for my feet
with my nose
trying to touch my thighs
Then stepping back
with one foot
then the other
I’m straight as a pirate ship plank
I lower myself
with strong arms
and my tummy falls down
like the ship, it just sank
Then into down dog
I stretch out my arms
and my legs
like a pup waking up
Stepping with one foot
and then with the other
I forward fold
as I stand up
Then I reach high to the sun
bring my hands to my heart
and think “Wasn’t that fun?”
Waking and warming my body
with all of the moves
in sun salutation
Bonus: You can put this song on repeat and go through the Sun Salutation series as many times as you’d like!
I can’t wait to make a music video for this song with children demonstrating the Sun Salutation series. I envision something parents and teachers can put on for their kids and students at home or in the classroom. I want this song to be a teaching tool, introducing children to some of the most commonly used yoga poses: mountain, plank, cobra, and down dog. It will be something you can pull up on YouTube and use to practice yoga anytime, anywhere.
I hope you enjoy this sweet and simple song, “Sun Salutation,” and am so excited for you to hear the rest of the album coming very, very soon!