Surya Namaskars - Your Initiation to Yoga
Contemplating taking up Yoga for a while, but are unsure of where to start?
Getting on your journey with Yoga could seem intimidating, there are so many styles of Yoga, so many postures, variations and modifications, all of this might seem like a bit much for someone who is just getting started.
If there was one sequence we think, is the perfect way to kick-start your Yoga journey, the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation has to be it.
Read on to know why.
The science behind a Surya Namaskar
Since the beginning of time, humans have bowed and offered gratitude to the Sun, the source of life on the planet. The Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is a physical manifestation of this reverence and was designed to align the physical being to the cycles of the sun through the practice of 12 different postures.
The power and beauty of the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is in its simplicity. These movements are designed to create a harmony between your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states. The Surya Namaskar, when practiced correctly, enhances the solar plexus (which is believed to be connected to the Sun), which in turn increases strength, balance, immunity, focus, creativity, intuition, and awareness. Basically supercharging your body and your mind.
If you still need reasons to get started with the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), here are a few, proven, and less obvious benefits of the sequence;
- It boosts your immunity, safeguarding you from common diseases.
- It strengthens the heart and tones your digestive tract.
- Regular practice will help you establish the connect between body, mind and breath.
- It helps cleanse your skin and keep is radiant.
- The asanas in the sequence improve blood circulation to your head, nourishing the hair and prevents hair-loss and greying.
- Regular is known to reduce anxiety and stress.
- It has been found to regulate blood pressure.
Now that we've got the Why out of the way, lets focus on the how
The 12 steps of the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) stretch and strengthen all the major muscle groups of the body and hence, in itself, the Surya Namaskar is a complete body workout.
The best part about this sequence is that it can be practiced by absolutely everyone. Whether you’re new to Yoga, have been practising for a few months or are an advanced practitioner, there is always room for growth and improvement within each of the steps, ensuring that you can make it as easy or challenging as you like.
If you’ve been practising Yoga for a while, you should be familiar with the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) and its modifications and variations.
If you’re new to the Yoga mat and have no prior experience with the Surya namaskar, here is a great demonstration on how to do your first few surya namaskars safely.
Leslie Fightmaster gives us great insight about things we should be aware of, modifications and variations for different levels, how to breathe correctly, etc. This is an informative tutorial to learn the Surya Namaskar, or to refine your technique.
Practice the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) slowly and with patience. There are no fixed number of sets that you must get through, but perform this sequence diligently and make it the foundation of your Yoga practice.
As a beginner, please practice safely. You might be tempted to imitate Yogis you follow on social media, but remember that it takes years of dedicated practice to reach a certain level. Each body is unique, so do not imitate anyone.
Find your limits, explore them and test them with patience and perseverance.
In the words of the great Pattabhi Jois "Practice and All Is Coming"
About the Yogi: The photos for this article are taken by Sonia Frydrych on Kosha Yoga Co's Blue Foliage Mat. Sonia is a Polish Yogi who currently lives in India. Besides being one of the most talented yogis we know, Sonia is also an incredible photographer. Follow her journey @soniafrydrych on Instagram.