We salute the Sun to give thanks for a new day filled with life – giving light, energy and sustenance. The Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar, is a series of yoga poses performed in a continuous flowing sequence and can even be a complete practice as the poses lengthen and strengthen, flex and extend many of the main muscles of the body while distributing the prana flow throughout the system. You can repeat sun salutations for as many times as you like. Follow the instructions below for a traditional Sun Salutation sequence for beginners.
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SUN SALUTATIONS – STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS:
- Start in Mountain pose with feet together, back and neck aligned, shoulders relaxed. Knees slightly bent if you like.
- Inhale and sweep the arms up overhead, look up to the sky and reach to the sun. Remain in strong mountain alignment. Engage the core to support the slight back bend.
- Exhale and dive to the floor, leading with the chest, hinging at the hips and come into Standing Forward Bend.
- Inhale into Halfway Lift (place your hands on your chins and maintain a flat back; look forward.)
- Exhale back into Standing Forward Bend
- Inhale the right foot back, come into Equestrian pose (low lunge with knee resting on floor). Make sure the front knee is over the ankle and the front heel is flat on the floor.
Place hands on the mat or the top of the thigh. Press the pelvis slightly forward to feel a stretch in the hip flexor.
- Exhale back into Downward Dog (feet together) Inhale for one breath in Downward Dog pose.
- Exhale into 8-point pose (i.e. 8 points of contact with the floor: knees, chest, chin, toes, hands on mat with bum towards the ceiling)
- Inhale into Baby cobra with arms bent and shoulders in towards your sides.
- Exhale back up into Downward Dog pose.
- Inhale into Equestrian pose (left side)
- Exhale bring both feet together into Standing forward bend
- Inhale into Halfway Lift.
- Exhale arms up and inhale into Standing Prayer Pose
- Start these exercises at a slow pace so that you gradually warm up the body.
- Ensure that have proper and rhythmic breathing in order to focus on the inhalations and exhalations into each pose.
- Do not begin in a random order as salutations are a set series of poses – follow the sequence.
- Do not be in a hurry about the total number of times covered in a day. As a beginner, you could start with two to four rounds and then gradually go up to as many as you can comfortably do. It is a great warm-up or start to your morning on an empty stomach!
- Increases energy and awareness, so it’s great as a morning ritual!
- Improves digestion such as regulates your bowels and can decrease bloat
- Promotes weight loss – the more you do, the better!
- Improves blood circulation and heart health
- Tones muscles and improves flexibility. You’ll notice a huge difference if you make this a regular practice.
- Unwinds the mind and body, especially if you have the breathing down!
Have a look at my previous blog post for: 10 Simple Yoga Poses for Beginners.