Welcome the sun!

Category: Article or Blog Published: Tuesday, 12 May 2015 Written by Sarah PJ White

The sun, much like yoga, has long been known to have numerous health and wellbeing benefits. Whatever type of health benefit you’re after, both yoga and the sun can improve your mental and physical wellbeing and, if you combine both the sun AND yoga, you’ll have a sure-fire winner – and that’s what the sun salutation is all about.

Surya Namaskar literally means ‘sun’ (Surya) and ‘to bow down’ (Namaskar). The sun is the natural source of energy and light for us. Being in tune with the sun will help you feel rejuvenated, relaxed, healthy, vibrant and alive… so is it any wonder we have this pose in yoga, as we should all be welcoming the sun!

The sun salutation (as it is known in the west) is a process that allows us to potentially harness that solar energy, to bring that energy inside us and to help us sync with the cycles of the sun. The full sun salutation is a sequence of 12 yoga poses that stretch your body backwards and forwards, and are said to match the twelve and a quarter years of the sun cycle. But what are the benefits we can expect from Surya Namaskar?

Stretch all the muscles in your body

The sun salutation pose is a great workout for the whole body. It can be completed in slow or fast movements – slow movements in particular, will enhance the toning benefits, as well as bring your mind and body into harmony.

Helping with breathing

Not only does the sun salutation help the function of your internal organs, as well as strengthening your digestive system, it also helps release stuck energy. Sun salutations expand and contract your chest, detoxifying carbon dioxide from your body, ventilating the lungs and oxygenating your blood.

Cardio vascular workout

Practising sun salutations at a medium to fact pace is a great way to give yourself a cardio vascular workout. This makes them the perfect yoga stretch to do during the warmup stage of your workout, as it will stretch those muscles, as well as increasing your blood flow and heart rate.

Hints and tips for the sun salutation

  • Ideally, you’ll want to do this sequence on an empty stomach
  • Morning and evening are the best times of day – sunrise and sunset
  • Do not overstretch yourself – especially if you’re a beginner
  • Coordinate your movements with your breathing
  • Stay within the physical limits of your body

Do you currently use the sun salutation in your yoga workout? How long have you been using it and what would you consider the main benefits you’ve gleaned from it? What’s the one thing you can do to improve what you’re already doing?

Image courtesy cbpix - Dollar Photo Club

Hits: 3318