Sun Salutation is probably the most popular Yoga sequence and how I usually start my day. Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation consists of 12 yoga poses and is best to be practiced in the morning in order to wake up the body and greet the sun. Making a practice of starting the day with yoga when traveling ensures that you get your workout in for the day, no matter where you are in the world.
The sequence can be also done any time during the day (at least 2 hrs after eating) in order to calm or rejuvenate the body & mind. Sun Salutations can be practiced by anybody and anywhere – all you need is a mat or a towel, a little space and the willingness to spend 15 to 30 minutes. It is a gratifying experience to do the exercise outdoors listening to the gentle hum of the waves or chirping of birds as you breathe in the fresh morning air and feel the soft rays of sun on your skin.
Yoga is a perfect exercise to practice from home or when you are traveling. You can turn your home or hotel into a yoga studio. Use the instructions for the Surya Namaskar steps below or stream some high-quality yoga classes and tutorials on your favorite devices. Practice yoga on your schedule. You can find thousands of yoga classes online covering all skill levels, you can grow your practice at your own pace.
Start the day with Yoga & Surya Namaskar
As you move through the Yoga poses, follow your breath carefully. The transition from one yoga posture to another is facilitated by the breath. Inhale as you extend or stretch, and exhale as you fold or contract. Always slow down or stop if you are straining, breathing too hard, or if your breath is shallow. Breathe through your nose (and not the mouth).
The nose filters the air and warms it up. Since the sequence is a “salutation” to the sun, try to be as aware during the movements as possible, with your mind focusing on your breath.
It is best to start your practice with one or two rounds, eventually building up to more (some people perform 10-15 daily). In traditional practices in India, 108 rounds were done.
Each round consists of two cycles, one begins with the right foot backwards into the launch and the other one with the left. Make sure you always include both of the sides, in order to keep the body & mind balanced.
Picture and sequence credit: http://gethealthyu.com
After your Yoga Practice
During allergy season I sip this Lemon Ginger Turmeric Tea after your yoga practice for an immune-boosting and refreshing start to the day.
Sometimes after doing the sun salutations I like to drink a glass of warm water with some local honey or a spoon of Apple Cider Vinegar. If you don’t like the taste of ACV, try these Gummies that are gluten-free, gelatin-free and vegan. They taste sweet like apples and are made from, organic beetroot, apple, and pomegranate. Use code PriyaVin to get 10% off the gummies.
You can either make this refreshing and simple Acai green smoothie or if I’m in a hurry pop another Gummy. This one has superfruit (Açaí and Goji Berries, Acerola Cherry, Indian gooseberry) that improves collagen formation and skin elasticity, helps restore skin’s radiance, supports a healthy immune system and so much more. The older we get the more help we need!
The Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar Sequence
There are many variations of the individual Yoga Poses in the Sun Salutation sequence. The following sequence is one of my ways of starting the day with yoga:
1. Start in Mountain Pose
Place the feet together or 2-3 inches apart, parallel, and facing forward.
Inhale lifting out of the waist and sweeping the arms up reaching towards the sky.
The palms are lightly pressed together with the shoulders back and down.
3. Exhale into a Forward Fold
Press the palms flat to the floor; if necessary, bend the knees slightly. If you have the flexibility, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.
Reach the nose towards the knees.
4. Inhale and step the right foot back into Crescent Lunge
Make sure the left knee is directly over the ankle and the toes and knees are pointing forward.
Shoulders are back and down, the chest presses forward, crown lifts up, and the back leg is straight.
5. Step the left foot back into Plank
The body is one straight line and in a push-up position.
Press the heels back and reach the crown of the head forward.
6. Exhale down into Chaturanga
Bend the knees to the floor if desired, then bend the elbows to lower the chin and chest to the floor.
Hips stay slightly above chest with abs engaged.
7. Inhale into Up Dog
Scoop the chest forward, straighten the arms, and roll onto the tops of the feet.
Reach the crown of the head up, press the chest forward, and lift the hips and legs off of the floor. Bend the elbows slightly if it feels like you are straining the low back.
8. Exhale into Down Dog
Tuck the toes under, bend the elbows and lift the hips up and back.
Press firmly into the hands and arms to press the hips back. Relax the back of the neck. Press the heels into the floor. The legs are straight or can be slightly bent to flatten the back.
9. Inhale and step right forward into Crescent Lunge
Step the right foot forward between the two hands. Adjust the leg so that the knee is directly over the ankle and the toes and knee are pointing forward.
Keep the back leg straight as you sink the hips down. The crown lifts up, and the chest and gaze are forward.
10. Exhale into Forward Fold
Press the palms flat to the floor. If necessary bend the knees slightly. If you have the flexibility, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.
Reach the nose in towards the knees.
11. Inhale and come back to Mountain Pose
Lift out of the waist and sweep the arms up reaching towards the sky.
End by lowering hands down to your sides in mountain pose or continue on to another sun salutation.
Get yourself some nice yoga pants (I love the style and support of these eco-friendly ones) and, a good yoga mat, some pillows, and start your practice today!
Benefits of starting the day with yoga and learning the Sun Salutation
There are a lot of benefits of yoga to both the mind and body. Yoga needs to be practiced in a very subtle, gentle way, not in a forceful muscle building way because yoga is not just about exercise, it has lots of wonderful benefits…
- Increases circulation and warms up the whole body
- Strengthens the digestive & elimination systems (reduces constipation, gas and other digestive difficulties)
- Cleanses/detoxifies the body & mind
- Stretches the spinal column and the whole body (including all of the important large muscles)
- Tones up the abdominal muscles
- Increases the lung capacity and oxygenates the blood
- Strengthens the heart
- Balances the endocrine system, especially the thyroid gland
- Strengthens the nervous system and improves memory
- Calms anxiety, stress, depression
- Reduces insomnia
- Increases metabolism and reduces fat
- Promotes health, strength, flexibility and longevity
Yoga poses to release Stress, Anxiety & Emotions
Try adding a few of these yoga poses to your morning routine after you do start your day with Sun Salutations. These yoga poses will help reduce anxiety, release stress and emotions. A few of my favorites are: Goddess, Garland Pose, Lord of the Fishes, Happy Baby and Child’s Pose – Yoga always helps me start my day a little stress-free 🙂
5 Simple Yoga Poses For A Flat Stomach
Here is easy to follow video of five yoga poses to get toned abs that you/we have been always working for 🙂
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