In your yoga class, you may have been confused hearing your yoga teacher talk about sun salutations. Sun Salutation, known as Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, is a complete body workout comprised of many various yoga postures that are preferably done in sets.
Doing a minimum of 12 Sun Salutations a day to care for both your physical and mental health.
Keep reading to learn more about Sun Salutations.
What is a Sun Salutation?
A Sun Salutation is a combination of several yoga postures performed in sets. Depending on the pace and types of poses you are doing, it can be done as a complete body workout or a relaxing, meditative workout. If you’re looking for a cardio workout to get your heart pumping and burn some calories, then doing several sets of a fast-paced Sun Salutation yoga is the choice for you. If you’re looking for a meditative workout to relax the mind, then doing a Sun Salutation yoga at a slower paced is a good option for soothing the muscles and giving your mind a good relief from stress.
When is the best time to do a Sun Salutation?
For the best results, its best to do Surya Namaskar in the morning on an empty stomach. It’s best to practice in an open space with good ventilation and fresh air. However, if you’re not a morning person, there is an alternative called Moon Salutation or Chandra (moon) Namaskar. The Chandra Namaskar is very similar to Surya Namaskar and has the same sequence with the exception of one additional posture.
How many Sun Salutations should you do in a day?
Typically, it’s advised to do to at least 12 sets of Sun Salutations, unless you are new to yoga. It’s important for beginners to not overdo the salutations and to allow yourself to grow at your own pace. One you become comfortable with the poses, you can do up to 108 or more Sun Salutations in one practice.
To reap the best benefits, the yoga steps must be done evenly on both sides of the body. For an even greater effect, it is also suggested to push yourself every so often and attempt more challenging yoga poses. Just like with any other yoga types, consistency is key. If you want to experience all of the wonderful benefits that Sun Salutations have to offer, get into the habit of practicing on a regular basis.
What is the significance of 108 Sun Salutations?
The number 108 is sacred and significant number that appears in a variety of disciplines ranging from astronomy to yoga. Here are some examples:
- The number 108 appears in many ancient, sacred texts such as the 108 Upanishads and the 108 Tantras.
- In numerology, 108 equals 9 (1 + 0 + 8= 9), which signifies universal love, eternity and awakening.
- In Aryuveda, there are 108 sacred points on the body.
- In astronomy, the distance between the Sun and Earth is approximately 108 times the Sun’s diameter.
- Mala bead necklaces are made up of 108 beads that are used to count during meditation.
Sun Salutations do not have to be practiced with any particular frequency. Typically, practicing 108 Sun Salutations is reserved especially for the change of seasons such as the Winter and Summer Solstice, and the Spring and Fall Equinox. Some people even like to practice sun salutation in light of the new year, as well as for other major life milestones such as marriages or new births in the family.
What are the benefits of Sun Salutation yoga?
There are so many benefits of Surya Namaskar yoga, which is why it has become such a popular practice. Similar to other types of yoga, practicing Sun Salutations on a regular basis can work wonders on our physical body as well as our emotional health. Surya Namaskar yoga has been shown to relieve physical and mental stress as well as helping you become more fit and flexible.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of practicing daily sun salutations.
Sun Salutations Health Benefits
Sun Salutations yoga consists of yoga poses that calm the mind and stretch the body. Here are some of the health benefits of Sun Salutations:
- Can relieve stiffness in the physical body by releasing tension in the joints and muscles, while simultaneously strengthening them.
- Improves spinal health by increasing flexibility and range of motion in the spine, replenishing the nervous system, and having an overall positive impact on brain health and mental wellbeing.
- Helps achieve balance in the left and right brain hemispheres since it is practiced on both sides of the body. This improves the symmetry between the two halves of your body that connect to opposite centers in the brain.
- Massages the solar plexus chakra and improves breathing. The smooth transitions between forward bends and back-bending movements stimulates the solar plexus chakra, promoting proper breathing techniques and enhancing lung capacity.
- The synchronized flow of contacting the muscles and then releasing them helps to dissolve mental stress and physical tension. When we flow smoothly through rounds of sun salutation like a moving meditation, we are able to let go of negative emotions that we may be holding on to.
- This is a great workout for grounding that can help us connect with the forces of nature, specifically a practice that connects us to the life-giving energy of the Sun.
Keep in mind that just like other types of yoga, it’s always preferred to get guidance from a trained and seasoned certified yoga instructor. However, If you are suffering from certain medical conditions such as cardiac disorders or hernia, you should avoid practicing Sun Salutations altogether.
Why do Sun Salutation yoga?
You might be wondering why you should do Sun Salutation yoga instead of, or in addition to, regular yoga practice. We’ve already established that it is a great workout for the entire body, but it also gives us an amazing opportunity to express gratitude to the sun. Without our sun, we would not have the life on earth that we know and love.
This yoga practice is also an efficient method for losing weight since it involves stretching and toning your muscles. Some of the poses that are done in Sun Salutation yoga are mountain pose, forward bend, plank pose, and downward facing dog. If you want to lose weight, try practicing a few rounds of your sun salutation sequence at a fast pace. Practicing yoga postures in a fast-paced motion will not only benefit your spiritual practice, but will also give you a complete fitness experience that helps you burn body fat.