How to Practice Sun Salutations
Almost everyone, even non-yoga practitioners have probably heard of sun salutations. If you are looking to clear your mind, energize the body, whilst also find relaxation and reduce stress, THIS sequence is what you've been looking for!
Whether you have joined one of our Over the Rainbow Yoga classes here in Hawaii, are planing to do so or you just stumbled across our blog while searching the internet to start with your yoga practice, Sun Salutations are a good place to start.
It will blow you mind and change your life. We are being totally serious, it is incredible what a simple synchronisation of breath and movement can achieve. Here at Over the Rainbow Yoga Hawaii we absolutely love and adore Sun Salutations and practice this sequence (almost) daily.
Sun Salutations can be considered the foundation of yoga and is a part of almost every yoga class you'll ever take. It consist of 12 postures that are easily adaptable to beginner, intermediate but also advanced practitioners. This sequence is great as a warm up before more strenuous poses in your yoga practice, but it can also be practiced as a complete yoga practice if repeated numerous times.
Sun salutations are also known under the name of Surya Namaskar:
SURYA means SUN
NAMASKAR means GREETING
Sun salutations are best practiced in the morning during the sunrise and on an empty stomach to awaken your vital energy. This complex sequence stimulates the Pingala Nadi, which is an energy channel flowing through the right side of your body, belonging to the masculine energy. PINGALA NADI Is one of the three main nadis (energy channels), in our body. According to yoga it is important to keep these channels free of blockages to encourage the flow of prana (life-giving force) to promote physical and mental health. The pingala nadi travels along the spine, weaving in and out of your seven chakras. It dominates the left (logical/linear) side of the brain and is related to solar energy , the sun (surya). Its energy is masculine, meaning - active, strong and dynamic.
WHY WE PRACTICE SUN SALUTATIONS?
to physical benefits by strengthening activating the body
to express our gratitude towards the nature, the sun and life in general
to awaken our solar energy and sense of being in the present moment
to connect movement with breath
to improve our awareness and consciousness
improves posture, flexibility and balance
stimulate the heart, digestion and circulation
stimulates the nervous, respiratory and lymphatic system
strengthen the spine and the muscles
reduces body fat
speeds up metabolism
reduces stress and anxiety
can help with insomnia and depression
improves the immune system
throat chakra (Vishuddha chakra)
heart chakra (Anahata chakra)
sacral chakra (Swadisthana chakra)
root chakra (Muladhara chakra)
arms and shoulders
middle back and upper back
THE BEGINNER SEQUENCE:
Start in Tadasana with your hands by your sides, take a breath here then bring the hands together at your heart centre in Anjali / Namaskar mudra.
INHALE [hasta uttanasana]: bring your arms up overhead, looking towards the palms of your hands
EXHALE [uttanasana]: forward fold, if necessary bent the knees
INHALE [ardha uttanasana]: lift half way for a flat back to lengthen the spine, sliding your hands up your shins
EXHALE [anjaneyasana]: plant the hands on your mat and step back to plank, with knees on or off the mat
INHALE [palakasana]: hold
EXHALE [ashtanga namaskar]: releasing the knees to the mat first, then the chest, keeping the sit bones up in the air and lastly the chin.
INHALE [bhujangasana]: lift to cobra bringing the chest off the mat, shoulders back, heart opened, chest and your gaze forward
INHALE: coming though the table top, lifting your sit bones up into the air
EXHALE [adho mukha svanasana]:Press back into downward facing dog, resting and breathing here for 3-5 breaths. You can bend the knees one at the time, bent them both, or maybe coming high onto the tip toes.
INHALE [anjaneyasana]:lift one leg up and step it to the front of the mat, following with the other lag, so that your feet meet our hands
EXHALE [uttanasana]: forward fold
INHALE [hasta uttanasana]: rise up all the way, looking up
EXHALE [tadasana]: hands return to your heart center