Start your day off right with Sun Salutations

Looking for a great way to start your day? Consider practicing Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations. A Sun Salutation is a series of yoga poses using interrelated breath and movement. Surya is the sun as well as the solar deity in Hinduism. While I’m not advocating worshiping a Hindu deity, keep in mind that the sun makes life possible on our planet and plays an indispensable role in photosynthesis.

The sunrise symbolizes the transition from darkness to light and can be seen as a symbolic transition taking you from a state of darkness to a state of awareness.

Facing east is important because it represents the transition from dark to light. And that’s what yoga is – you learn new things, you’re not afraid to learn new things, you become more aware of the outside environment and more aware of who you are as a person. individual. Additionally, you become more aware of your subtle body and layers of yourself, including being aware of the divine presence within. Your actions come from your divine self/guided from within/very pure place within/lead actions to be kind and compassionate from within. Appreciate the meaning before or after. Let this divine presence guide your thoughts.

Ashton Graham

Practicing sun salutations gives you the opportunity to express your gratitude to the sun and to awaken the energy in your body. A sun salutation incorporates forward bends, backward bends and hip openings as well as muscle building and strength. I find sun salutations enjoyable because they provide the opportunity for playful movement in a yoga practice and feel like moving meditation. Although I’m much more of a methodical Iyengar practitioner and not a vinyasa flow practitioner, I find moving through Sun Salutations can be an effective cardiovascular workout.

By linking each movement to the breath, I find they wake up my body, and when done quickly, they are a cardiovascular workout. Don’t worry if you’re new to yoga; sun salutations can be modified to accommodate any fitness level, including the use of a chair to facilitate transitions. There are variations of sun salutations, but the most basic includes eight basic postures. Every movement is linked to your breathing.

  1. Begin in Tadasana (mountain pose) focusing on rooting all four corners of your feet to the ground. Stand straight, roll your shoulder blades towards your spine, lift the hollow of your abdomen and join your hands to your heart in Anjali mudra (prayer), pressing your thumbs against your breastbone.
  2. Next, inhale as you raise your arms in an urdva hastansana (upward salute). With your palms facing each other, reach your fingertips skyward as you work to straighten your arms. Then, on an exhale, lower yourself into…
  3. Uttansana (standing forward bend), folding your body over your legs. You may need to bend over a little when you feel the stretch in your hamstrings and lower back. Let your head hang down to the ground. Inhale in a mid-lift with a flat back with your fingers on your shins or on yoga blocks.
  4. Resting your hands on the floor or on a chair in front of you, in an exhaling motion, bring one foot back into a low lunge then move the other foot back into a…
  5. Laying the plank
  6. Chaturanga Dandasana (four limb pose)
  7. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
  8. Adho Mukha Svansana (Downward facing dog pose)

The best way to learn yoga postures, including Sun Salutations, is with a yoga teacher so they can correct alignment and help you coordinate your breath with your movement. Of course, there’s always YouTube and who doesn’t like to learn something from YouTube? I think one of the best approaches to the Sun Salutation is to work on getting familiar with the basic poses individually and then linking them together.

Sometimes I incorporate all the standing poses into my sun salutations by adding a new standing pose to each sun salutation. It also tests my memory of the standing poses I’ve done and the ones I have yet to do.

This week, try revitalizing your body and refreshing your mind with some Sun Salutations. Some even say Sun Salutations are good for depression.

Please let me know your thoughts on [email protected].

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Ashton Graham is an educator, book editor, photographer, cowgirl, and yoga teacher. She is currently studying to become a certified yoga therapist and lives on a ranch in West Texas.

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