Updated: Mar 5, 2021
It sure does take a lot of time and dedication to attend those evening yoga classes, but what if you don’t have a full hour to dedicate to attending a class, let alone practice an entire yoga flow at home? In times like these, having an easy and minimal flow would be great! That’s why Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), is a perfect sequence for a quick yoga fix! The Sun Salutation sequence is a flow that is not only simple, but it is also accessible for all yogis of varying levels.
What is Surya Namaskar?
The asanas of Surya Namaskar have been practiced for thousands of years, as Hindus have respected the sun (Surya), and believe it to be both the physical and spiritual heart of our world. The sun is also referred to as the “eye of the world” — seeing and uniting all selves in itself, a pathway to the divine. Therefore, By practicing the sequence Surya Namaskar, it is a way of not just honouring the sun, but ourselves.
Sun Salutation Sequence:
While there are many variations of the Sun Salutation sequence, here is the basic sequence that I follow:
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Urdva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
The above counts as half a round. To complete a full round, return to Tadasana (mountain pose), then when it's time to enter Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge), step back with the left leg instead of the right. Once you follow through with the rest of the flow, returning back to Tadasana, you've completed an entire round.
TIP: It can be tricky keeping track of how many full rounds of Sun Salutations you've completed. In order to record how many rounds you've accomplished, here's a little hack I found: Keep a set of tiny objects (rocks, coins, beads) near your mat, to keep track of your rounds of Sun Salutation. The number of tiny objects you have will depend on how many rounds you intend on completing. So, for example, if I wanted to complete 20 full rounds of Sun Salutations, I'll make sure to have 20 beads or rocks near my mat. Each time I complete a full round, I shift one item to the other side of my mat. I'll keep doing this until all of my tiny objects have been shifted to the other side of my mat.
What are the benefits?
Having practiced Surya Namaskar on a daily basis, I can honestly say the benefits are very apparent. Some of the benefits of practicing Surya Namaskar on a daily basis are:
Practicing Surya Namaskar is a well rounded sequence of asanas that offers you a sense of grounding. As you move through each asana, you also work with your breath, inhaling and exhaling into postures. By focusing on synchronizing your breath with movement, it brings you to the present moment, and leaves little room for fluttering thoughts to invade. As you mindfully move in and out of your postures, pay attention to the sensations within your body as a result of each stretch and fold. The simplicity of Surya Namaskar makes it manageable to pay attention to the connection of your breath with the sequence of asanas, which makes it that much easier to achieve a sense of grounding to get on with your day!
I practice Surya Namaskar at 5 a.m. in the mornings, which is also the perfect time to set my intentions for the day ahead. Practicing Surya Namaskar is traditionally done before sunrise, as a way of honouring the sun, so setting intentions at this time is symbolic for me. Honouring the sun and setting intentions symbolizes for me, a new day, as well as the sun serves as a reminder to live my intentions throughout the day. Give it a try, because this moving meditation is a great way to set the tone for your day ahead!
Toning & Flexibility:
Why go to a gym or buy fancy gym equipment when you can just practice Surya Namaskar? According to this study, practicing Surya Namaskar frequently can increase your flexibility and help to build strength. This particular sequence is so well rounded, that it helps you to target your core and helps to strengthen all parts of the body. It is also an incredible sequence of basic, foundational asanas which are found in almost every Yoga practice. This sequence is definitely less time consuming, and requires no equipment (other than a yoga mat), to achieve better body endurance, strength and tone.
Surya Namaskar has become an integral part of my morning routine, and if I do skip a day, I definitely feel the negative effects of having missed my morning practice. I need to practice routinely just like brushing my teeth, because if I do become lax with my practice, I instantly notice a difference in my mood and energy levels.
I would highly recommend Sun Salutation as a quick and easy Yoga fix, as it is simply accessible to all levels of yoga practitioners, it is comprised of foundational asanas, and it is easy to master!
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