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Benefits And Ways To Incorporate In A Yoga Practice

Sun Salutation is a Sanskrit name Surya Namaskar, where Surya means sun and Namaskar means to adore. Hence, sun salutations are traditionally done in the morning to greet a new day. It is something you should focus on while practicing. With each salute, bow to the sun and be thankful for the life it is giving to you.

On the other hand and in modern times, salutations are most commonly used as a warm-up for yoga practice, although their benefits exceed this purpose.

If you are doing sun salutations before a class, a set of 5 to 10 salutes would be enough. You can play with the more advanced, Ashtanga, where you hold the downward dog for five breaths in each repetition. It adds extra work in your arms and core.

The Sun Salutation is a full body exercise and therefore can stand for itself. If you are doing sun salutations as a sole practice, you will soon see improvements in your strength and endurance. You can repeat the same salute for numerous times, or even better, add variations of poses, change some poses completely, or hold poses to activate all different muscles in the body. You should perform sun salutations quick enough to be warm and challenging, but still, be able to breathe correctly and focus on the poses. With time, you will notice that you can go through the poses quicker with the same focus on the breath.

There are more versions of the sun salutation practice, but this is one of the most widely spread:

1.    Begin in mountain pose, with your feet together;

2.    Inhale and stretch your arms overhead;

3.    Exhale and fold forward. Engage your legs and go towards the floor with your hands

4.    Inhale and raise your back slightly, keep it as straight as possible and look forward, your fingertips should be on the ground or the shins;

5.    Exhale and step or lightly hop in high plank pose, then lower into chaturanga;

6.    Inhale and lift your chest forward, engage and lift your legs slightly from the floor, and relax your gluteus for the upward facing dog;

7.    Exhale and come into downward dog with your weight evenly distributed between your hands and feet, and head relaxed between the shoulders;

8.    Inhale and hop or step back into the flat back pose;

9.    Exhale and fold;

10.    Inhale raise up with arms overhead;

11.    Exhale with arms on the heart in prayer pose.

Remember it is more important to breathe than to work with speed.

The benefits of sun salutation practice include:

  • Having healthier skin
  • Prevention of hair loss
  • Encouragement of weight loss
  • Improvement of digestion
  • And toning of the nerves; 
  • And, it is also known to be good for the heart. 

Some researches propose that doing only 20 minutes of sun salutation daily can give you a similar effect of consistent one-hour long practice, which is both time-saving and beneficial.