How Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) Can Improve Your Health & Yoga Practice

Do you find your Yoga Sun Salutations troubly? Worry no more! We are here to guide you through. In this article, we will try to teach you about the health benefits Sun Salutations can bring in your life as well as how these can improve your yoga practice. No matter if you are on a Wine Tasting Yoga Retreat or a simple Yoga and Cooking Retreat, Sun Salutation should be an important part of your yoga practice.

Sun Salutations on a Yoga Retreat at Akasha Wellness Retreat in Transylvania

First Of All, What Is A Sun Salutation?

Surya Namaskar, or the way we call it - Sun Salutation, is a series of postures that was designed to warm, strengthen, and align the entire body. Many teachers around the globe are using these Sun Salutations at the beginning of a yoga practice class and sometimes, they even base an entire class around them. Practicing these Sun Salutations Asanas can improve your at home yoga-practice-routine and the reason I am saying this is because Surya Namaskar can definitely influence your yoga practice, especially when you first get on your yoga mat and have no clue about what you are doing.

Watch out your...BREATH

Like any physical activity, it all comes down to one thing: your breathing. Movement from one Surya Namaskar position to the next one must be done in conjunction with either an inhalation or exhalation. Of course you can always play with it a little bit, just make sure that you always move to the next position on the correct breath.

The only Origin of Surya Namaskar aka Sun Salutations

This asana sequence (Sūryanamaskāra, as we call it) literally means “salute to the sun” (surya = sun, namaskara= salute). In his work “The Yoga Body” Mark Singleton focused on tracing the origins of different Yoga Styles, including the Sūryanamaskāra. It is even mentioned that in the past, bodybuilders used to practice dynamic sequences as a warming-up exercise before starting weightlifting and yes, obviously, the what we call Sun Salutations and Yoga were part of the same body of knowledge or practice. Unfortunately, there is no evidence before 1930 that Sun Salutations practice was part of a physical practice we call yoga. There are also other sources that mention other origins of Sun Salutations ( The Vedas, Ramayana, Surya worship, Hatha yoga texts, and many other sources).

The true meaning of Surya Namaskar

Surya Namaskar can be interpreted by others as "eternal salutations to the sun." The core of this kind of practice is to awaken the body’s intelligence so that it creates energy directly from the sun. Sun is the symbol of consciousness in the Vedic tradition, which means that it has been venerated daily in the Indian culture.

There is a number of 12 Asanas to complete 1 set of Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)

  1. Pranamasana or Anjali Mudra / Prayer Pose

  2. Utthana Hasthasana / Upward Salute

  3. Padahastanasana or  Utthanasana / Hand To Feet or Intense Forward Bend

  4. Ashva Sanchalanasana / Equestrian Pose

  5. Phalakasana or Dandasana / Plank Pose

  6. Ashtanga Namaskra /  Salute With Eight Limbs or Knee Chest and Chin

  7. Bhujangasana / Cobra Pose

  8. Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog

  9. Ashva Sanchalanasana / Equestrian Pose

  10. Padahastanasana / Hand To Feet

  11. Utthana Hasthasana / Upward Salute

  12. Pranamasana or Anjali Mudra / Prayer Pose

Now, enough with the introduction. Let's jump straight to the Health Benefits we were mentioned in the title. As previously mentioned, Sun Salutations are a great way to improve your body strength, boost your blood circulation and your brain functions, it definitely lowers the most popular term nowadays called stress and it is a great weight loss booster.

Blood Circulation

How a Sun Salutation can improve my blood circulation? Well, easy. A Surya Namaskar practice will always make sure that you have the needed oxygen will n all of your organs and muscle groups while having your blood flowing. This comes with increased overall energy levels, and provide a healthy boost to your morning.

Weight Loss

If you start stimulating your metabolism first thing in the morning, your body will start burning calories and fat passively throughout the entire day. Also, sun salutations before a yoga class will definitely prepare your body and metabolism for the exercise that is about to come; adding this to your daily routine and you will likely see a change.

Eases Menstruation

Women with irregular periods can use this practice to regulate menstrual cycles. Surya namaskar not only helps you to regulate the monthly struggle but it can improve your mood too.

Skin Care

Lowering the stress levels, focusing on a better quality of life, improving circulation, this morning practice can help boost your complexion which will eventually protect you against all sorts of skin inflammation.

Boosts Brain Function

Besides the previously mentioned benefits, Sun Salutations are very popular for their effects on mental health. Wondering why is that? Well, this type of practice can help your focus and concentration and can really prevent future memory loss.

Hair Care

For some of us, the hair growth process means a lot of struggle. However, there are several yoga practices and poses, including Surya Namaskar, that can improve the health of your hair. Wondering how? This is likely due to the boost in circulation, which means, obviously, more oxygen and nutrients to the scalp.

Better Posture

Women Practicing Sun Salutations at Seaside

Using this morning warm-up not only can help you continue your day with a boost of energy but it can help regulate your posture all day. How many times did you find yourself in a wrong posture while at the office? Many of us struggle to maintain a healthy posture, including me. While being aware of the fact that a wrong posture can have long-term negative effects (poor circulation, arthritis, etc.), a Surya Namaskar Postures Guide was the best decision I could ever take for me and my body posture.

There are of course various ways where you can practice Surya Namaskar or your Sun Salutations. Depending on where you are, it is recommended to practice it outside if possible. No worries if there is no outdoor yoga shala where you can take your salutations to the next level because indoor practice is welcomed as well.

Want to practice your Surya Namaskar while facing the mountains and breathing the fresh air of Transylvania? Check out these nutritious and affordable summer yoga retreats!

Mena Curiteanu

Mena is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Akasha Wellness Retreat in Transylvania, and she loves everything related to travel. She is also a make-up artist and she enjoys going to the gym and taking long walks with her three dogs.

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