Sun Salutation

 

Sanskrit Name: Surya Namaskar (pronounced: sur-ya nama-skar)

Sun Salutations are traditionally performed in the morning to greet a new day. The sequence of 8 postures can be a complete practice in itself, or can prepare you for a longer asana routine.

As physical exercise, Sun Salutation is a contained, all-in-one practice in itself. As you progress through its steady sequence of opposing actions—front-body offerings followed by the surrender of forward folds—a Namaskar integrates all the counter-asanas necessary to feel balanced in your body by the time you complete it.

Sun Salutes are often performed in sets of 5, but if you are new to the practice it's wise to begin with 2 or 3. Each time you flow through this sequence, synchronize your breath with the movements of your body.

Level: Intermediate

Category: Asana Sequence

Breath: Deep Abdominal Breathing.

Keep the mouth closed with tongue resting on the roof of the mouth. Simply allow the breath to enter & release through the nostrils. Keep your awareness on the abdomen & notice how it starts to balloon & expand on the inhale. The exhale, the abdomen relaxes. Do not try & control the breath in anyway. Allow yourself to follow the journey of the breath so we connect the mind & body together into the present moment. Breath in to a count of 1-2-3 & breathe out to a count of 1-2-3.

Results: When you are fully in the present moment the mind no longer has power over you. This allows you to create a new reality for yourself rather than being conditioned by the old mind. Use your affirmation whilst holding the position.

The focus on the breath allows you to enter into the Alpha state which is a state where the brain waves are much slower than the usual waking state of Beta. Doing this consciously allows you to interrupt the neurological pathways within the brain that are causing negative blocks, emotions & behaviours.

Instructions:

  • Step 1: To begin, stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Distribute your weight evenly over both feet. Establish a slow, steady rhythm for your breath. Find your center.
  • Step 2: Next, inhale and stretch your arms out to the side and overhead into Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute). Reach your heart and arms to the heavens, sending your greeting to the sun.
  • Step 3: As you exhale, hollow out your belly and fold into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), connecting down into the earth. Keep your legs firmly engaged.
  • Step 4: Inhale and lengthen your spine forward into Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend). In this pose, the gaze is lifted, the spine is extended, and the fingertips can stay on the floor or rise to the shins.
  • Step 5: Exhale and step or lightly hop your feet back behind you into Plank Pose. Your wrists should be flat on the floor, shoulder-distance apart, and your feet should be at hip distance. Take a full breath in as you lengthen through your spine.
  • Step 6: Exhale and lower into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), keeping your legs straight and pushing back into your heels or bringing your knees to the floor. Build heat in the center of your body as you hold this challenging posture.
  • Step 7: Inhale and carve your chest forward into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog), directing that energy out from your heart. Pull your shoulders back and open your collarbones. Engage your legs but relax your gluteal muscles.
  • Step 8: Exhale and roll over the toes, coming into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose). Ground down through your hands and feet as you lengthen your spine. Remain here for five breaths.
  • Step 9: On your fifth exhale, bend your knees and look between your hands. Then inhale and step or lightly hop your feet between your hands, returning to Ardha Uttanasana.
  • Step 10: Exhale back to Uttanasana, surrendering into the fold.
  • Step 11: Inhale, reaching your arms out wide to your sides and coming to stand through a flat back. Feel a renewed sense of energy as you draw your arms overhead into Urdhva Hastasana.
  • Step 12: Exhale and return to Tadasana, your home base. Remain here for a few breaths, feeling the movement of energy through your body, or continue on to your next salute.

Benefits

  • Lengthen and strengthen many of the main muscles of the body
  • Distribute the prana flow throughout the system
  • Revitalises your body and refreshes your mind
  • Engages the core and loosens the shoulders
  • Massages internal organs and improves blood circulation.

Beginner's Tip: Sun Salutations are one of the best ways to energize the body, sharpen the mind, and start the day with intention and gratitude. Repeating the sequence several times can serve as an invigorating warm-up prior to starting your yoga routine. However, if you only have a few minutes to spare in the morning, Sun Salutations can be practiced on their own as they are a complete exercise they engages every part of the body.

To Deepen The Pose: When practiced at a fast pace, the technique provides an excellent cardiovascular workout and aids weight loss. When practiced at a slower pace, the routine is calming and grounding.

Avoid This Pose If:-

  • If you have any wrist or shoulder injuries, you need to take care when practising sun salutations. Look for adjustments that you can make to keep your body safe.

Tweet This: MedYoga Sun Salutation Affirmation: “Salutations to the sun, to the awakening light within, to the dawning of higher consciousness in all beings.”

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