What are Sun Salutations? Sun Salutations are a sequence of poses, also referred to as Surya Namaskara, that are done typically as a warm up and as a prayer used to salute the sun rising. When yogis began practicing sun salutations is still debated but some according to Yogajournal.com, it originated during the Vedic time period as a ritual to the sun, complete with mantras, offerings of flower and rice and libations of water.
There are many different various of Sun salutations; the most traditional includes 12 different poses but we’ve made things a little easier for our beginners and included the basic eight pose Sun Salutation. Each step is done in order and must be repeated by switching left to right and right to left to complete a full round. When practicing sun salutations, it is important to remember to engage in consistent breathing and inhalation and exhalation in transition from pose to pose. Always make sure to breathe through your nose, not your mouth. Breathing through your nose warms the air and creates a meditative aspect to your practice. You should never be struggling to breathe and if that happens, it’s okay to take a moment of rest!
Below I’ve included the order of Basic Sun Salutations:
Tadasana; also known as the mountain pose. You’ll begin by standing with your feet firm and parallel, your spine straight in your arms by your side in mountain pose. Breathe steadily.
From the mountain pose, you move into the next step of sun salutations: Urdhva Hastasana; raise your arms overhead and look up as you inhale. This is also called Upward Salute
As you exhale, dive slowly into a forward bend, planting your hands on either side of your feet. You are now on the next step, Uttanasana, also referred to as a standing forward bend. If you feel any stiffness in your back, you can modify this pose by adding a slight bend to your knees
Take a deep inhale and look forward as you move into the next position, Anjaneyasana, also known as a low lunge. When you exhale, lunge your left leg back and keep you knee to the floor. Make sure to keep the right knee at a 90° angle. Inhale one more time and raise her arms up while looking to the sky
As you exhale, place your hands beside your front foot and step your foot back to create a plank shape with your body. This is our Plank Pose. Make sure to keep your feet hip width apart
Without taking a breath, lower your chin and chest and knees to the floor with your chest between your hands. This is a transition, referred to as Chaturanga Dandasana to the next pose
Inhale, straighten your legs with the tops of your toes facing down and press on your hands to archer spine into Upward Dog Pose, also known as Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Try to focus on keeping your neck long in this pose
Now we move into the last position called Adho Mukha Svanasana, or Downward facing Dog Pose. Exhale as you press on your hands, straight in your arms and push your hips backward and upward. Try to focus on pushing your heels to the ground and take five breath’s in and out
Now that you know all the steps, remember that you’re not finished after one “walk-through.” To truly get the full experience, it must be repeated switching left to right and right to left in order to “complete the circle.” As mentioned earlier, Sun Salutations give you the ability to achieve meditation through movement. Movement meditation helps focus on the movement of the body rather than the goal of the movement which is great for those who have trouble sitting still but want to practice meditation. Being mindful is the biggest part of movement meditation and there are numerous benefits to mediation that I’ve outline in our previous blog posts [Check out the Teesha Talk Tuesday Tab for more information on meditation.] We do offer solo and guided meditation here at Teesha Yoga Studio so please book online now at teeshayoga.com.