Sun salutation is one of the popular practice among yogi. It is a systematic sequence of yoga asanas that involve stretching and flexion along with a breathing workout. The cycle of sun salutation includes 12 steps in which linked 8 yoga poses.
The cycle of Sun Salutation
Sun salutation is started with Pranamasana followed by yoga asana namely Hasta Uttanasana, Uttanasana, Ashwa Sanchalanasana, Phalakasana, Ashtanga Namaskara, Bhujangasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana. Once get into the Adho Mukha Svanasana cycle is repeated backward from the fourth step i.e. Ashwa Sanchalanasana, Uttanasana, Hasta Uttanasana, and complete the cycle from getting back to the origin of cycle Pranamasana.
It is important to synchronize the breathing with the poses, Inhale during the stretching poses and exhale during flexion or fold poses. Stretching increases the blood flow and oxygen to the organs deep inhaled during these poses will help to boost oxygen and blood flow.
Yoga Poses and Its Benefits
- Pranamasana / Prayer Pose
Sun salutation begins with Pranamasana. This is performed in a standing position with keeping the palm pressed together close to the chest and keeping the body relaxed and straight.
- Hasta Uttanasana / Raised Arm Pose
Hasta Uttanasana is the second and eleventh step in the sun salutation. In the standing position, raise both hands above the head with the palm pressed together and gently bend backward while gazing at palms. It will take the shape of a curve.
– Tone the muscles and abdomen
– Utilize lung capacity to its fullest as the result of an increase in oxygen intake in this position.
Anyhow it’s advised not to train this pose who is suffering from backache, neck injury and should not over do the bend.
- Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend
Uttanasana is to bend forward from a standing position and place the palms beside the feet or touch heel from behind. In this pose should not bend from the knees but from the hips.
– Stretches the hips, calves, and hamstring.
– Stimulating kidney and liver.
– Relieves headache.
– Reduces anxiety.
– Relieves symptoms of menopause
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana / Equestrian Pose
Ashwa Sanchalanasana is a low lunge posture. The front foot between palms placed on the ground and bent from the knee forming 90 degrees while stretching the other leg back as possible. The upper body should keep a firm parallel to the thigh of the front foot.
– Increase the flexibility in the back and strengthen the spine
– Strengthen Knee and ankle.
– Enhance the lung capacity.
- Phalakasana / Plank Pose
Lying face down, Placing hands on the floor to the slighter wider than shoulder length and keeping toes and heels together. Then lifting the body with hands keeps the body on a perfect line like a plank.
– Strengthen the shoulders, upper arms, wrists.
– Improve respiratory system
– Relieve stress by improving general stamina in the body.
– Toning the muscles hamstring, Quadriceps, Calves, abdominal.
- Ashtanga Namaskar / Eight Limb Pose
Ashtanga Namaskar is positioned touching the ground with eight body parts i.e, both feet, knees and palms, chest, and chin.
– Stretches and strengthen the muscles
– Enhance flexibility
– Stimulate internal organs
- Bhujangasana / Cobra pose
Keeping the lower body flat on the ground and lifting and slightly bent backward the upper body with the hand. Palm should be placed on the floor slightly wider than shoulder length and keep the elbow straight while lifting the upper body.
– Strengthen the back and shoulders
– Toned the abdomen
– Improve blood circulation
– Reduces stress
– Improve the flexibility
- Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog
Feet and palms are placed on the ground and raised from the hip with the head down. It takes the form of an inverted V shape. In this position, feet keep a bit apart from each, and for the better work, out also can try to push head towards the knees.
– Energized the body.
– Strengthen arms and legs
– Helps relieve symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.
When to Practice?
Sun salutation is an ideal workout to start a day with. The whole act gives yogi the benefit as it stimulates internal organs and stretches muscles which increase the oxygen intake and prompt the blood circulation for the whole more efficiently. But it also can be practiced in the evening though it’s more efficient to practice in the morning.
How many Sun Salutations?
The rounds(2 cycles of sun salutation make 1 round as during one cycle the entire sequence work on one foot) of sun salutation practice can vary as capability of person and time permit but at least a minimum of 12 to 20 rounds daily is ideal for better result.
Sun salutation practice in different ways by different disciplines or use different poses in certain steps. It’s important to maintain accurate body alignment in certain steps and also can cause injuries especially stretch beyond capability. For the better work out other yoga poses also can be added following the sun salutation.
by staff contributor