Yoga sun salutation is one of the most well-known yoga postures, which increases physical, mental, and emotional benefits in all who practice it. But it has incredible health benefits providing you do it right. Ready to have a go?
The Yoga Sun Salutation
The Sanskrit word for the yoga sun salutation is Surya Namaskar. Surya translates to sun and Namaskar translates to worship or salutation. It is potentially one of the best yoga sequences and therefore, revitalizes the whole body.
It is the one exercise that affects all of the body’s organs, and because of this, there are many benefits for the digestive system, the circulatory system, respiratory system, excretory system, endocrine system, skeletal system and nervous system. It’s a complete body and mind powerhouse for inner healing and well-being. It can be practiced at any time although many people like to follow the traditional teachings and practice early in the morning. It’s the perfect sequence for increasing energy and to help combat stress.
Yoga Sun Salutation Benefits
- This exercise helps skin health as it makes you sweat, thereby removing accumulated toxins.
- This is a great resource if you wish to tone up and lose weight. It reduces hard to shift tummy fat and helps to flatten the stomach.
- Heart health improves also as it increases your heartbeat and works the whole circulatory system. This means that all of the cells within the body receive all-important nutrients and fresh oxygen. The lymphatic system also gains a boost.
- The kidneys are massaged as you work through this exercise and this boosts blood circulation and if practiced regularly also improves the function of the kidneys.
- Because the abdomen is stretched and compressed, it improves the digestive system helping it to work more efficiently. When you practice regularly, it can help improve any disorders of the alimentary canal and to promote the removal of waste products.
- This is a great posture for improving the function of the lungs. It cleans the lungs completely eradicating stale air and fills the lungs with fresh oxygen.
- Hormone health is all-important and regular practice of the yoga sun salutation helps to balance the endocrine glands. This helps with pre-menstrual syndrome and menopause symptoms.
- Muscles of the body receive a good stretch. It helps to remove stiffness and tension from the body but also helps to redirect impure blood.
- The nervous system also has a good work out and is massaged and stimulated when the yoga sun salutation is practiced correctly. It also tones up all the nerves and muscles.
Short On Time?
Yoga sun salutations can be used as a complete practice because it provides an whole body workout. It is perfect if you have little time in the day but need to stretch out. Practice in sets of 5 once you get into the flow and are certain of each element. Initially, practice 2 or 3 times because you need to be sure that you know these individual postures and the sequence well. Your breathing must also coincide with the movements of the posture.
Stand in mountain pose (Tadasana). Check your posture fully and ensure that your weight is evenly distributed over both feet. Focus on your breath, make the inhalation and exhalation slow and steady.
Inhale, stretching your arms out to the side and then lift them overhead into upward salute. As you stretch up, think of your heart and arms reaching to the heavens. This is where you send out your greeting to the sun.
Exhale and fold down into standing forward bend (Uttanasana), ensuring your hollow out your stomach. Connect to the earth. Engage your legs.
Inhale, lengthen the spine into half-standing forward bend (Ardha Uttanasana). Lift your gaze while the spine is extended. Keep your fingers on the floor or reduce the stretch by lifting your fingertips to your shins.
Exhale. Step back so that you go into plank pose. With hands flat on the floor, make sure they are shoulder-width apart. Your feet should be hip-distance apart too. Inhale now as you lengthen the spine.
Exhale. Lower your body down into four limbed staff pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) legs should be straight and push back onto your heels. You may bring your knees to the floor. Hold this pose.
Inhale and move into upward facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) imagine energy directing outwards from your heart region. Shoulders back, open up the collarbones. Relax the muscles of the bottom but engage the legs.
Exhale. Come into downward facing dog pose. (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Push down through your hands and feet and focus on lengthening the spine. Remain here for 5 breaths. Feel that stretch.
Bend your knees and look between your hands. Inhale and either hop or step your feet so that they are between your hands– return to the position of half-standing forward bend (Ardha Uttanasana)
Once you’re done with that, exhale.
Move back to standing forward bend (Uttanasana), relaxing the back down allowing gravity to pull you down.
Inhale deeply, reaching your arms out to the side as you keep your back flat. Draw your arms overhead (Urdhva Hastasana).
On an exhalation, return to mountain pose (Tadasana). Breathe deeply. Focus on how your body feels. Focus on the energy within. When you are ready, move onto the 2nd yoga sun salutation set.
Vary the Speed
The yoga sun salutation is an amazing sequence with far-reaching effects. It can be practiced at 3 different speeds. If you are new to yoga, focus on slow smooth movements and make sure that you enter into correct alignment throughout.
When you practice these movements slowly, the postures work to improve flexibility. At a medium pace, the muscles start to tone. At a faster pace, it aids weight loss but also improves on a cardiovascular level too.
Practiced at sunrise and it refreshes your body and fills you with energy. If you feel tired during the afternoon and have the time and space, perform another 2 rounds and it will help to energize you. Perform at night, it will also help you to unwind.
Listen to Your Body
As with all yoga postures, the emphasis must be on positioning the body correctly and listening to how your body feels. If any of the postures within cause pain, do not move into the full stretch. Finally, yoga postures are adaptable to all levels of fitness and flexibility. Do not strain.