Sun Salutations: Everything You Need To Know

Sun Salutations: Everything You Need To Know

Sun Salutations: Everything You Need To Know

Unlock the power of Sun Salutations and experience wellbeing in just a few minutes a day. Are you looking for a simple and effective way to improve your overall wellbeing? Look no further than the ancient practice of Sun Salutations. This powerful sequence of yoga poses has been celebrated for centuries due to its numerous physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Whether you're a seasoned yogi or a complete beginner, practicing Sun Salutations for just a few minutes a day can have a profound impact on your life.

Sun Salutations are not only a great way to stretch and strengthen your body, but they also help improve flexibility, balance, and posture. Additionally, they can promote mindfulness and reduce stress, making Sun Salutations and yoga an excellent tool for managing the demands of everyday life.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the power of Sun Salutations, exploring their physical and mental benefits, and providing a step-by-step guide on how to incorporate them into your daily practice. Get ready to unlock the transformative power of Sun Salutations and experience improved wellbeing in just a few minutes a day.

Benefits Of Sun Salutations

Sun Salutations offer a wide range of benefits for both the body and mind. When performed regularly, this sequence of yoga poses can be very beneficial for your health and wellbeing.

On a mental level, Sun Salutations help calm the mind and promote mindfulness. The rhythmic and synchronised breathing helps to reduce stress and calm the mind and body, bringing a sense of calm and relaxation. Additionally, this practice can help cultivate a positive mindset, boost self-confidence, and increase self-awareness.

Step-By-Step Guide To Performing Classical Sun Salutations Classical Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation C)

Sun Salutations Everything You Need To Know - Classical Sun Salutations Surya Namaskar Yogrishi Vishvketu Book Yogasana The Encyclopedia of Yoga Poses

Image from the book: “Yogasana: The Encyclopedia of Yoga Poses” by Yogrishi Vishvketu. To reap the benefits of Sun Salutations, it is important to perform the sequence correctly. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) at the top of your mat, standing tall with your feet hip-width apart and your hands resting by your sides.

  2. Inhale slowly and deeply as you raise your arms overhead, reaching towards the sky and slightly bending backwards. As you exhale, fold forward from the hips into Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana), allowing your head and neck to relax.

  3. Place your hands on the mat and step your right foot back into a low lunge as you inhale.

  4. Step the left foot back into high plank position, aligning your wrists under your shoulders and your heels over the balls of your feet. Hold for a breath.

  5. Lower your body down to the floor as you exhale into Chaturanga Dandasana (low plank), knees, chest and chin touching the mat and your elbows close to your sides. 

  6. Inhale as you slide forward lengthen your body as you lift your head and chest into Cobra (Bhujangasana).

  7. Exhale and lift your hips up and back into Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), pressing your palms into the mat and extending your spine.

  8. Step your right foot forward to the top of your mat as you inhale, back into a low lunge. 

  9. Exhale as you step your left foot forward to meet your right foot coming into Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) again. Inhale, rise up, and reach your arms overhead gently bending backwards. Exhale, and return to Mountain Pose (Tadasana) or palms touching at the heart centre.

  10. Repeat the sequence with the left leg.

12 Sun Salutations Mantras

These 12 Sun Salutation mantras go with the 12 yoga poses that make up the Sun salutation sequence. 

  1. Om Mitraya Namaha (salutations to the friend of all)

  2. Om Ravaye Namaha (salutations to the shining one)

  3. Om Suryaya Namaha (salutations to he who induces activity)

  4. Om Bhanave Namaha (salutations to he who illumines)

  5. Om Khagaya Namaha (salutations to he who moves quickly in the sky)

  6. Om Pushne Namaha (salutations to the giver of strength and nourishment)

  7. Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha (salutations to the golden cosmic self)

  8. Om Marichaye Namaha (salutations to the Lord of the dawn)

  9. Om Adityaya Namaha (salutations to the son of Aditi, the cosmic Mother)

  10. Om Savitre Namaha (salutations to the stimulating power of the sun)

  11. Om Arkaya Namaha (salutations to he who is fit to be praised)

  12. Om Bhaskaraya Namaha (salutations to he who leads to enlightenment)

Modifying Sun Salutations For Different Levels

Sun Salutations can be modified to suit different levels and physical abilities. If you're new to yoga or have any injuries or physical limitations, it's important to listen to your body and make necessary adjustments. Here are some modifications you can make:

  • If you find it challenging break up the sequence into parts and for example practice the beginning forward fold part 5 times and then rest.

  • If you have wrist issues, you can practice Sun Salutations on your fists or use yoga blocks to support your hands.

  • If you have tight hamstrings, bend your knees slightly during the Forward Fold position to ease the tension.

Remember, it's always best to start with the basics and gradually work your way up to more advanced variations as your body becomes stronger and more flexible.

Incorporating Sun Salutations Into Your Daily Routine

To experience the full benefits of Sun Salutations, consistency is key. Aim to practice this sequence every day, even if it's just for a few minutes. Find a time that works best for you, whether it's in the morning to energise your day or in the evening to unwind and relax.

You can start with a few rounds of Sun Salutations and gradually increase the number of repetitions as you become more comfortable. Set a realistic goal for yourself, such as practicing Sun Salutations for 10 minutes a day, and make it a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.

Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Sun Salutations

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Sun Salutations practice:

Focus on your breath: Pay attention to your breath throughout the practice. Inhale deeply as you lengthen your body, and exhale fully as you fold forward. The breath should be smooth, steady, and synchronised with each movement.

Move with intention: Each movement in Sun Salutations should be deliberate and mindful. Avoid rushing through the sequence and instead focus on the quality of each pose.

Listen to your body: Honor your body's limitations and modify the poses as needed. It's important to avoid any pain or discomfort and work within your range of motion.

Practice gratitude: Sun Salutations are a wonderful opportunity to cultivate gratitude and set positive intentions for the day. Take a moment to express gratitude for the sun, for life, your health, your body and the opportunity to practice yoga.

Common Mistakes To Avoid During Sun Salutations

While Sun Salutations are a relatively simple sequence, there are some common mistakes that beginners often make. Avoid these pitfalls to get the most out of your practice:

Collapsed shoulders in Downward Dog: Keep your shoulders engaged and your upper back broad in Downward Dog. Avoid sinking into your shoulders and allow space between your ears and shoulders.

Holding your breath: Remember to breathe throughout the practice. Holding your breath can create tension in the body.

Rushing: Take your time in each pose, inhaling and exhaling slowly and fully. A round of Sun Salutations should be energising and calming. 

Resources For Learning More About Sun Salutations

If you're interested in diving deeper into the practice of Sun Salutations, there are plenty of resources available to support your learning journey. Here are a few recommendations:

    • Online Resources and Classes: Websites such as Yoga Journal, Gaia, and Yoga International offer a wide range of online classes and tutorials for all levels.

    • Local Yoga Studios: Attending yoga classes at your local studio is a great way to receive personalised guidance and hands-on adjustments from experienced teachers.

    Remember, the practice of Sun Salutations is a lifelong journey of self-discovery and growth. Embrace the process, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the transformative power that Sun Salutations can bring to your life.

    Why Sun?

    This sequence is composed of 12 poses each representing one part of the day. The sun salutation is done first lead with your right leg and then with your left leg. All together creating 24 poses to match the 24 hours in the day. In that way, the sun salutation is designed to align you with the sun and its light throughout the day and getting your internal clock set with the sun. So that you can feel awake and energetic in the day, calm and sleepy in the evening and a better, deeper sleep at night. For this to benefit you, be sure to practice the sun salutations before mid day. To strengthen the connection to the sun, face the direction of the sun. Practicing sun salutations after midday is said to do the opposite, giving you a harder time to fall asleep and wake up.

    The missing poses in the sun salutations:

    You can use sun salutation as a part of your practice or you can use it as a stand alone daily yoga practice IF you add four things. Sun salutations are amazing but they are not designed to stretch and strengthen all parts of your body. With awareness you can tweak it to be a stand alone practice. If you use it on its own you just have to remember do add (1) warm ups before going into sun salutations and after the sun salutation add a (2) twist and a (3) side stretch as well as a (4) savasana. Then your practice is complete.

    Sun salutation and breath

    The 12 poses moves along with the breath, therefore the sun salutations is both seen as a asana (physical) practice and as a pranayama practice (breath work). There’s even a time in the sun salutation where you hold your breath, which to some school of yoga, is the key to a pranayama practice.

    You begin in tadasana with your hands in namaskar mudra, inhale as your hands raise up, exhale as you fold forward, inhale as your right leg goes back, hold the breath in as you bring the left leg back (plank pose), exhale and lower knees,chest and chin (ashtangnamaskarasana), inhale cobra, exhale mountain pose, inhale right leg forward, exhale left leg forward, folding forward, inhale raise up, exhale palm together to the heart centre where you began.

    Sun salutations a or b ?

    Originally there was just sun salutations. the sun salutation version A and B came later with vinyasa yoga.

    Further, most cultures worldwide has a history of honouring the sun. There probably have always been a way to honour the sun using yoga and meditation as well, though the suryanamaskarasen sequence can’t be traced back very far. Some say that it originated just before India’s Independence Day. The sequence was designed to give the people in India courage and strength to lead the country ahead. Since then the suryanamaskarasen has been a stable for many people in India.

    How to practice Sun Salutation with variations

    You can practice sun salutations with variation. This is a great way to incorporate a twist and a side stretch into the practice. If you wish to practise sun salutations with variation, put your variation in after cobra, when you are in parvat asana (mountain pose). Mountain pose is a great transition pose, you can easily move into crouching poses, lunges, standing poses or balancing poses. Just always remember to keep it simple and do the same variation as you do the sun salutation on the other side (leading with your left leg).

    Magical Numbers - How many rounds of Sun Salutations Should I do?

    Because the sun salutations are designed to align your internal clock with the sun, it’s optimal to practice a number of sun salutations that can be divided by 3 (so 3,6,9 or 12). You can repeat up to a 108 times. 108 sun salutation is often used as a yearly Sadhana (practice) to celebrate summer solstice.

    Boosting your immune system and self confidence

    Sun salutations are widely practiced in India and even in many schools taught and done daily. This is because of the many benefits of the practice. The practise is designed to first of all, as mentioned above, align us to the rhythm of the sun and the moon, night and day and get us energetic during the day and calm and restful at night. Secondly the sun salutations are designed to boost your immune system and your self-confidence, (which really is the immune system of your spirit). This is done by mainly working on the two chakras, manipura and anaharta. Manipura is the third chakra placed in the navel area and anaharta is the heart chakra. Folding forward and stretching backwards are respectively initiating manipura and anaharta. During the practice you create heat (passion, energy, digestive fire) and you expand the chest area, your heart, lungs and breath, working on the thymus gland.

    Conclusion: Embracing the power of Sun Salutations for overall wellbeing

    Sun Salutations are a time-tested practice that can bring about profound physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. By incorporating this sequence into your daily routine, you can experience improved flexibility, strength, and balance, as well as reduced stress and increased mindfulness.

    Remember to approach your practice with intention, listen to your body, and make necessary modifications to suit your individual needs. With consistency and dedication, you can unlock the transformative power of Sun Salutations and unlock a new level of wellbeing in just a few minutes a day. So roll out your mat, take a deep breath, and embrace the journey of self-discovery and growth that awaits you on your yoga mat. Namaste.


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