Sun Salutation is a series of yoga poses that warm up the body and increase muscle flexibility. It’s used to honor the sun and bring its power into the heart. Pregnant women, those with hernias, and acute back problems should consult a doctor before attempting it. The goal is to move between each pose with grace and poise, remaining conscious of breathing throughout. Different versions involve 8-15 yoga positions.
Sun Salutation is a series of yoga poses designed to help warm up the body and increase the flexibility of the muscles. Its Hindu name, Surya Namaskar, translates as “worshipping the sun.” In yoga philosophy, sun salutation is a way to honor the sun and bring its power into your heart.
Although sun salutations are a gentle series, pregnant women, people with hernias, and those with acute back problems should consult a doctor before attempting it. However, like many yoga poses, the sun salutation is often used in physical therapy, to increase spinal flexibility after injury. Experts also recommend it as a means of stress relief and relaxation. Some yoga instructors suggest performing the poses at least twice a day, sun-greeting in the morning and sun-greeting in the evening. Following this practice will warm you up for the day and relax your body before you go to sleep.
The goal of the sun salutation is to move between each pose with grace and poise, remaining conscious of your breathing throughout. To increase flexibility, you should pause for a few breaths in each pose, trying to stretch deeper with each exhalation. Make sure, as you move from one pose to the next, that you inhale and exhale deeply.
If you’d like to better understand what the poses should look like, several websites offer video or cartoon demonstrations of the movements. Many yoga DVDs and classes also use sun salutations as part of their routine, but if you only have a few minutes in your day, some experts recommend sun salutations as the best set you can do for your body. If you’ve never done yoga before, it’s a good idea to take a class with an experienced teacher so you learn the poses in proper form. Most teachers can suggest modifications to poses if you lack flexibility or are recovering from an injury.
There are several versions of the exercise, involving 8-15 yoga positions called asanas. Most feature twelve steps, but different practices have some variations. However, the basic steps in all versions are similar to each other and are as follows:
1. Start with feet together and hands palm to palm on heart.
2. Take a deep breath and raise your arms above your head, leaning back slightly.
3. Exhale as you bend all the way forward, placing your hands on your feet or on the floor.
4. Place your hands on the floor, bending your knees if necessary, and step one foot back into a deep lunge. He raises his head.
5. Exhale as you bring your other foot back, lifting your hips skyward and straightening your arms and legs so your body forms an upside-down V.
6. Lower your body until you are at the top of a pushup, then continue lowering until your knees, chest and forehead are resting on the ground.
7. As you inhale, arch your back as you straighten your arms.
8. Lower your head and push your hips up into the upside down V.
9. Pull one foot between your hands into a deep lunge.
10. Lift your back foot to bring your front foot together and straighten your legs.
11. Inhale as you raise your arms above your head, straightening your body.
12. Bring your hands palm to palm in front of your heart.