Start Your Day with Yoga – the Sun Salutation

Starting the day well is a corner of a conscious lifestyle. This may mean something different for each individual, but having a certain structure, with a series of exercises or smaller (even internal) rituals is already a great foundation. We would like to help you to build a morning habit that will soothe, refresh and recharge you at the same time - the Sun salutations or Surya Namsakar.
Start Your Day with Yoga – the Sun Salutation

 

Sun Salutations – What, Why and How Often?

In the past, before the invention of light bulbs, it was normal to get up in the morning with the rising sun and go to bed when the sun set. This has created a strong relationship with the rhythm of nature. Here in Central Europe, with the winter months just beginning, we see less and less sunlight, so it is better to wake up to your own inner sun with the sun salutations. 

The ancient yogis taught that we each have a copy of the world inside of us, embodying “rivers, seas, mountains, fields … stars and planets … the sun and the moon” (Shiva Samhita, II.1-3). The outer day, they claim, is actually a symbol of our own “inner day,” which corresponds to our inner or spiritual heart. Here is the seat of consciousness and higher wisdom (jana) and, in some traditions, the abode of the embodied self (jivatman). This is why it is important to get in touch with our heart, that is, our inner sun.

In Sanskrit Sūrya denotes the day, the sun god, and Namaskar denotes salvation, greetings, bow to the heart.

Born from this phrase, is one of the best known series of yoga practices Surya namaskar, Sun Salutation in English.

sun salutations steps
Image: Kasun Perera 18

 

Anyone who is already in some way in contact with yoga must have heard of it. You can find lots of tutorial videos online, but if you want to make sure your posture is correct, you may want to go to a yoga class, or perhaps visit an instructor in person. Check out the best yoga studios in Budapest, where you can practice your sun salutation. Some even offer online classes. 

Since it is not rocket science, you can learn the basics at home, and you can already feel the positive effects after a few times of doing the exercises.

Surya Namsakar is a series of 12 yoga asanas, that help you mind to focus and to relax your body. There are several versions with small differences. In Ashtanga Yoga there are versions A and B, but you can also adjust it to your own needs by following just a few guidelines. 

Repeat this series of exercises as often as your time allows it. 3, 7, 9 and even 108 repetitions are quite popular. The number 108 is also considered sacred in several Hinduism and Buddhism. Malas (uddhist prayer garlands) also have 108 pearls and smaller bracelets have half, 54. 

YouTube video

 

Physiological Effects of Sun Salutations

Practicing Sun Salutations has a positive effect on the whole body. Some asanas are in opposite pairs, like when the spine is stretched and rounded in one direction first with Cobra pose and then in the other with Downward Dog. The purpose of this is to completely move and stretch the spine and the waist. In the same way, exhalation and inhalation are a fixed part of all poses. Aligning the body and breathing purposefully helps to create a relaxed state. 

Some of the positive effects of Sun Salutations are:

  •         Helps maintain cardiovascular health
  •         Stimulates the nervous system
  •         Helps stretch, flex and tone muscles
  •         Best practice for weight loss
  •         Strengthens the immune system
  •         Enhance cognitive functions
  •         Improves overall health, strengthens the body and relaxes the mind

With so many beneficial effects, why not give it a try. You can practice Sun Salutations in the morning or just visualize your inner sun at any time of the day.

Be Consistent with Your Routine on Weekdays and Weekends

It really has a very positive effect on our lives if we implant a healthy habit. If our everyday lives are hurried or stressful, we should also take some time out of our morning when we can pay attention to ourselves, and if it is just 5 or 10 minutes. Make yourself some morning tea, meditate, write in your diary, or practice sun salutations – in 5 minutes you can do them at least three times. And on the weekend, when you have more time, you can delve into multiple repetitions.

The point is conscious relaxation! Let’s be alert and relaxed.

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