12 Steps to Perfect Sun Salutations

YOGA FOR BEGINNERS: 12 STEPS TO PERFECT SUN SALUTATIONSIf you are pressed for time and looking for a single mantra to stay fit, here’s the answer. A set of 12 powerful yoga asanas (postures) that provide a good cardiovascular workout in the form of Surya Namaskar. Literally translated to sun salutation, these postures are a good way to keep the body in shape and the mind calm and healthy.

Surya Namaskar is best done early morning on an empty stomach. Let’s begin with these simple yet effective Sun Salutation poses for better health.

What is Sun Salutations

Sun salutations is a series of postures performed in a flowing sequence. The yoga sequence alone can do you a world of good in terms of strength, flexibility, and overall wellness.

Sun Salutations are often used as a warm up at the beginning of a yoga practice, but can be practiced on its own.

Research shows that just performing Sun Salutations can improve cardiovascular conditioning, prevent fatigue, promote relaxation and a provide a range of other mental and physical benefits.

Even if there’s no time for a full practice, a few rounds of Sun Salutations can do a world of good.

Why Start the Day with Sun Salutations?

1. They Help Warm Up the Body

Sun Salutations are heating. Waking up and doing a couple will ensure warm and well working muscles and joints for the rest of the day.

2. Sun Salutations Will Loosen You Up

Sun Salutations are a great way to limber up joints and muscles to start the day.

3. They Help Stretch Major Muscle Groups

Practicing Sun Salutations provides stretches for the hamstrings, frontal abdominals, psoas, and calves to name a few. These are areas that can always use some extra love.

4. Sun Salutations Are Great for Strengthening the Core

Sun Salutations will help you develop deep core strength.

5. Calm the Mind

With enough practice, the repetitive movement of Sun Salutations can become a moving meditation. When the body makes a muscle memory of the sequence, the ease in which Sun Salutations are performed becomes freeing and meditative.

6. Help Acknowledge the Breath

By syncing each breath with a pose or movement, Sun Salutations help yoga practitioners really harness a greater awareness of the breath. This also helps to learn how to control and focus the breath for sustained periods of time. In this way, Sun Salutations can become a sort of Pranayama practice, too.

Before You Begin

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your palms pressed together in Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal). Focus for a few minutes on the inner sun at your heart, which is the equivalent of the outer sun at the heart of our solar system.

Your inner sun represents the light of consciousness, without which nothing would exist—just as our physical world wouldn’t exist without the sun.

If Sun Salutations are your warm-up for a general practice, move slowly and consciously, gradually building heat. If Sun Salutations are your whole practice, do a 2- to 5-minute Downward Dog as a warm-up.

The Sequence:

YOGA BEGINNERS SUN SALUTATIONS

Step 1 –  The Pranamasana or The Prayer Pose

Start the Surya Namaskaras by standing at the edge of your mat. Keep your feet together, and make sure your weight is equally balanced on both the feet. You must now relax your shoulders and expand your chest. Inhale and lift both your arms up. Then, exhale, and bring your palms in front of your chest in a prayer position.

Step 2 – Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arms pose

Inhale. Lift your arms up and back, making sure your biceps are close to your ears. Your effort through this pose must be to stretch your whole body, right from the heels to the tips of the fingers.

Step 3 –  Pada Hastasana Or Hand To Foot Pose

Exhale and bend forward from the waist. You must ensure your spine is erect. As you inhale, bring your hands down on the floor and beside the feet.

Step 4 – Ashwa Sanchalanasana Or The Equestrian Pose

Now, Inhale, and push your Left Leg back, as far as you possibly can. Bend your Right Knee, and place your arms next to your feet. Turn your gaze forward

Step 5 – Parvatasana Or Mountain Pose

Exhale, and lift up your hips and tailbone. Your chest must face downwards to form an inverted V.

This asana is also called the Adho Mukha Svanasana.

Step 6 – Ashtanga Namaskara Or The Salute With Eight Parts

Gently bring your knees down to the floor, and Exhale. Take your hips back, and slide forward, such that your chin and chest rest on the floor. Raise your buttocks slightly. You will notice that the hands, feet, knees, chest, and chin touch the floor. Eight parts in total.

Step 7 –  Bhujangasana Or The Cobra Pose

Now, slide your body forward. Raise your chest up in the Cobra Pose. Your elbows must be bent, and your shoulders must be placed away from the ears. Turn your gaze upwards.

Step 8 – Parvatasana Or The Mountain Pose

Exhale, and lift up your hips and tailbone. Your chest must face downwards to form an inverted V.

Step 9 – Ashwa Sanchalanasana Or The Equestrian Pose

Inhale, and push your Right Leg back, as far as you possibly can. Bend your Left Knee, and place your arms next to your feet. Turn your gaze forward.

Step 10 – Pada Hastasana Or Hand To Foot Pose

Exhale, and bend forward from the waist. You must ensure your spine is erect. As you Inhale, bring your hands down on the floor and beside the feet. Exhale.

Step 11 – Hasta Uttanasana Or The Raised Arms Pose

Inhale, and lift your arms up and back, making sure your biceps are close to your ears. Your effort through this pose must be to stretch your whole body, right from the heels to the tips of the fingers.

Step 12 – The Pranamasana Or The Prayer Pose

Keep your feet together, and make sure your weight is equally balanced on both the feet. You must now relax your shoulders and expand your chest. Inhale and lift both your arms up. Then, exhale and bring your palms in front of your chest in a prayer position.

 

YOGA FOR BEGINNERS: 12 STEPS TO PERFECT SUN SALUTATIONS

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