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Sun Salutations, or Surya Namaskar, are basic yoga sequences used as a stand-alone practice or a warm-up at the beginning of your Yoga class. This tutorial will take you through a few variations. Get your Yoga pants on and your mat out for this one.
Sun Salutations are a full body warm-up and work out. They work every muscle and move every bone in your body. Learning this practice step-by-step first is a great way to make sure your alignment is correct in each pose and that you're building healthy habits when it comes to transitioning between poses.
Sun Salutations use Vinyasa Krama to sequence and progress through the poses. The word vinyasa is composed of two words: Vi = order + Nyasa = placement; and the word krama means “the uninterrupted sequence of events from beginning to end”; so the entire term means “the ordered placement of the sequence of events.” Usually shortened simply to “vinyasa,” it refers to a flowing sequence of asanas linked by breath and intention.
Vinyasa is translated as linking movement with breath. This is more the action of Vinyasa than the definition of it.
It is important in Sun Salutations to use your breath to move your body; allow the movement to follow the breath. You start your inhale, then start your movement, complete the movement then complete your breath - never holding the breath in or out.
Use this tutorial to learn a few variations of Sun Salutations or as a quick practice in itself.
Why is it so important to do sun salutations?
Sun Salutations are a fantastic way to warm up your body before you go into the more difficult poses. They work into every muscle, bringing movement and fluidity to the body. As you start your sun salutations, you start to control your breathing with Ujjayi breathing. This helps to focus your mind and starts to warm you up from the inside out. Starting your practice with sun salutations helps to get your body going and connect you with the present moment.
How do I link my breath with my movements?
Always remember if you’re not breathing, you die. So, don’t do that. In vinyasa flow and sun salutations, you move with your breath. You want the whole movement to take up the full breath, never holding your breath or moving without breathing. Always start with your inhale breath, then start the movement. Complete the movement, then finish the breath. Start your exhale, start your movement. Complete the movement, complete the breath.
How many sun salutations should I do at a time?
As many as you like. If you are using them as a warm-up, 3 is a good place to start. If you’re doing it as a whole practice you can move in salutation for an hour. Once you get into the rhythm of it, it becomes a very powerful moving meditation.
Can I add other poses to my sun salutations?
YES!!! This is where sun salutations move into vinyasa flow sequences. Adding your warrior 1, warrior 2 and Trikonasana in there as well as some backbends and balancing poses with a twist here and there will give you a well-rounded, full-body workout.