Millions of people from all over the world greet their day by getting up at dawn to practice sun salutations. Beginner students or advance it doesn’t matter as they all have one thing in common, they make an effort.
Besides the fitness benefits and calming effects, Sun Salutations are also a way of giving thanks for the day. There is something beautiful about the stillness of the word when practising yoga first thing in the morning alone with the knowledge that other people are doing the same thing. Of course, you can do them at night, but it then becomes a moon salutation.
When I was first starting out my yoga and attending classes, I would see advanced students jumping and moving between the poses of the sun salutation sequence with such ease that it made me feel inadequate. I had much to learn back then.
Sun Salutations have much to offer regardless of level
First, let me share why they are worth it…
A handful of the many benefits:
- Sun Salutations are a moving meditation
- They improve blood circulation
- The movements build breath capacity by learning to control the inhalation and exhalation
- Sun Salutations show gratitude to life, and if you have read about the law of attraction, you will know that is a good thing
- They wakeup the body and also help it to wind down at the end of a day
- This yoga sequence moves the spine in different ways hence releasing tension in the back
- It builds fitness- ask the Indian army as they use yoga to train
- The body is toned inside and out
- Stress is lessoned
- Creativity is cultivated
- Meditation becomes easier
- Sun Salutations offer a cardiovascular workout when done with experience at a faster pace
Method for beginner version without lunge:
- Stand tall in Tadasana with your hands by your side. Tadasana is basically standing up straight with the feet evenly balanced and the spine straight.
- then inhale as you bring your hands in prayer position in front of the chest, exhale. Feet evenly parked, inhale through the nose as you extend the arms up, making sure the belly is drawn in and the neck is not sticking out too far. Shoulders surrender down the back as you keep the back long. Relax the face as you gently look up. As you progress in your practice you may be able to stick the pubis bone forward as you arch back. To start with, though, just have the arms going up and the back straight in Urdhva Vrksasana.
- Exhale as you bend forward from the hips and come into a standing forward bend – Uttanasana. Do bend the knees as much as you need to get the feet flat on the floor. Surrender from the hips to the head and extend from the feet to the hips. Please don’t lock the knees ( bad for the joints) nor be scared
- bend the legs. It is good to bend them so you can get the hands flat on the floor.
- Inhale, come onto fingertips and look forward into Ardha Uttanasana. Try to iron out the back by lifting the chest. If your fingertips can’t reach the floor please bring them onto the shins.
- Now if the hands aren’t already on the floor, bring them onto the ground as you jump both legs back into plank (step if you have dodgy knees). Exhale as you bend the elbows and bring knees, chest and chin down the floor. Work on getting this right before before attempting more advanced options.
- In hale as you lift into cobra .
- Exhale into downward dog and take five long, deep breaths, making sure you aren’t rushing the inhalation or the exhalation.
- At the end of the last exhalation step the right foot forward between the hands followed by the left. (do the other way around on the next round so always leading with a different side)
- Exhale the left leg next to the right as you come into standing forward bend.