I recently discovered yoga and decided to start practicing a sequence of yoga movements called the Sun Salutation. The Sun Salutation is traditionally performed to greet the new day. It is an important foundation in yoga that will energize, calm, and relax you. It is also a great way to start practicing yoga. Keep reading.
These days we need to find new ways to exercise at home. We have to stay fit and flexible when all the gyms are closed. That is how I recently discovered yoga and the Sun Salutation. I have been practicing for a month now every day and I love it!
Before you start
Before I started practicing yoga I did some research. The most important thing for me was to find a teacher with a lot of patience and a calming voice that did not annoy me. Then I found a Hatha yoga school with a good online program and bought a subscription for a year. With a great teacher (and a lovely voice…).
Good equipment is important too. If I can offer you some advice: when you start with yoga, please invest in a good yoga mat. I went for a cheap one and completely destroyed it in a few sessions. The cheap mat even damaged my knees! Then I bought a (more) expensive one which I enjoy using every session.
Okay, time to exercise! But, where to start? I decided to start with a flowing sequence of yoga movements called the Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar).
The Sun Salutation is traditionally performed in the morning to greet the new day. The sequence of postures can be a complete practice in itself. But it can also prepare you for a longer routine.
Many people even start their yoga practice with several rounds of Sun Salutations to warm up and help gain focus. Anyone from experienced yogis to beginners can enjoy the benefits of practicing the Sun Salutation.
It is an important foundation in yoga that will energize, calm, and relax you. It can also stretch your entire body while strengthening your arms, shoulders, and legs. Practicing regularly also helps with your digestion and relieves back pain.
The yoga sequence originated in the Hatha yoga tradition in the 9th century in India. The basic sequence involves moving from a standing position into Downward and Upward Dog poses and then back to the standing position. But many variations are possible.
Here is one popular version to help you get started
- Start with standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Make sure your weight is distributed evenly over both feet. Find your breath and try to exhale twice as long as you inhale.
- Inhale and stretch your arms out to the side and overhead into Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute).
- Exhale and bend over forward into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend).
- Inhale and stand forward into Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend).
- Exhale and step backward into Plank Pose.
- Exhale get into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose).
- Inhale and bend backwards into Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog).
- Exhale and come into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose).
- Exhale and return to Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend).
- Exhale and get into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend).
- Inhale and stretch your arms overhead into Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute).
- Exhale and return to Tadasana (Mountain Pose),
Synchronize your breath with each movement
The first few days I did 12 Sun Salutations in a row. I practiced all the movements and stances and tried to memorize the sequence. At first it was hard and I was really struggling to get it right. My muscles were aching and the movements weren’t flowing at all! But after a week or so I felt stronger and more balanced and the movements started flowing a little bit. And that is where the fun starts. The sequence requires less muscle power and you will notice that you can synchronize your breath with each movement.
Watch this video for an introduction to the Sun Salutation.
Have fun practicing yoga! I promise you won’t regret it.