What are Sun Salutations?

In yoga, the sun symbolizes spiritual consciousness. Sun salutations are a group of yoga asanas (physical postures) strung together & linked to the breath. A number of rounds can be practiced.

Sun salutations are an effective way of loosening up, stretching, massaging & toning all the joints, muscles & internal organs. They strengthen the back, help balance the metabolism, stimulate & balance all the systems of the body.

Synchronizing the breath with physical movements ensures that the practitioner at least for a few minutes daily breathes as deeply and rhythmically as possible, increasing mental clarity by bringing fresh oxygenated blood to the brain & inducing a greater awareness of the body. With regular practice sun salutations lead to a balanced energy system at both mental & physical levels.

Sun salutations can be done quickly or dynamically. If done this way they are a very effective form of exercise. You can also breathe deeply & slowly. Between each round you can pause if you like for a few inhalations & exhalations.
Stay connected to your breath. Some people repeat a mantra during this phase. You can do as many rounds as you like. Building up the amount gradually. Aim for between 7-14. Remember to listen to your body. Stay aware of how it feels. This way you’ll not only get to know it better, but avoid strain & injury.

When inhaling and exhaling do not hold the breath but let it flow smoothly as you change postures.

 

Prayer Pose

Breath normally

Stand towards the front of the mat.

Feet together, back straight, shoulders relaxed, chest open, hands in prayer position at chest.

Awareness on chest area & balance

 

 

Raised Arm Pose

Inhale

Raise straight arms with hands together over head.

Arch back as far back as is comfortable, look up to the ceiling.

Awareness on the stretch of the abdomen and expansion of lungs

 

 

 

Hand to Foot Pose

Exhale

Slowly bend forward from hips, keep back straight. Legs straight.

Hands on floor either side of feet or let arms hang loosely. Relax shoulders and neck.

Awareness on back and pelvic region

 

 

 

Half Cobra

Inhale

Fingertips or flat hands on floor either side of feet. Arms straight. Leaving right foot between hands. Bring left foot back. Balance on left toes and knee. Relax shoulders. Head back, look at ceiling.

Awareness on stretch from the thigh through the lower back & on the eyebrow center while balancing

 

 

Plank

Hold breath

Hands remain in same position on floor. Arms straight. Bring right foot back next to left foot. The neck, back & legs are in a straight line. Heels back towards floor.

Awareness on steadiness of arms & straightness of body

 

 

Eight Point Pose/Ashtanga

Exhale

Bend your arms and lower your forehead, chest, hands, knees and toes to the floor. Back is slightly arched. Buttocks raised. Elbows up & pressed inwards towards the body. Thighs are not touching the floor.

Awareness on arch in lower back and on abdominal region

 

 

 

Cobra

Inhale

Relax lower body so that the top of the feet and legs are in contact with the floor. Raise your upper body. Straighten arms or keep slightly bent. Arch back as far as is comfortable for you. Look forward. Consciously relax shoulders so they are level & not hunched up close to the ears.

Awareness on relaxation of the spine

 

 

Downward Facing Dog

Exhale

Leave hands in same position. Tuck toes under and raise body up and back. Push hips back. If possible bring soles of feet to the floor. Bring chin to chest. Feel the stretch in your back.

Awareness on stretch through Achilles tendons, the back of the legs, shoulders & throat region & on relaxing the hips

 

 

 

Half Cobra

Inhale

Leave hands in same position. Bring left foot between hands. Right foot stays back. Balance on right toes & knee. Relax shoulders. Head back, look at ceiling.

Awareness on stretch from the thigh through the lower back & on the eyebrow center while balancing

 

 

 

Hand to Foot Pose

Exhale

Bring right foot forward next to left. Legs straight. Hands on floor either side of feet or let arms hang loosely. Relax shoulders and neck.

Awareness on back and pelvic region

 

 

Prayer Pose

Inhale

Slowly raise your upper body from the hips, vertebrae by vertebrae until you are standing. Legs together. Back straight. Relax shoulders. Chest open, hands in prayer pose at chest.

Awareness on chest area & balance

 


 

 

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