11 Tips to Better Sun Salutations

Sun Salutations

Are you practicing Sun Salutations? Want to brighten up your experience even more? Here are some simple and practical tips that can help make your Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) experience complete and blissful. Happy Sun Saluting!

Tip 1: Warm up the body before you start Surya Namaskar

It is a good idea to do some gentle warm-up stretches before you start with the Surya Namaskar rounds. This helps remove restlessness in the body and prepares it for Surya Namaskar yoga postures.

Tip 2: East or West?

Where to face while doing Surya Namaskar? Do it facing the East direction if you are doing Sun Salutation in the morning and the West direction if you are doing it in the evening.

Tip 3: Add the attitude of gratitude

It makes a big difference! You will be able to enjoy your stretches much more. That smile can keep the energy going.

Tip 4: Do your Surya Namaskars gracefully

This becomes important when you strive to achieve a higher target of Surya Namaskar rounds (some people may even go up to 108 sun salutations). Even when you pick up the pace, don’t do the poses with a jerk or with force. Allow the postures to flow gently and gracefully one into the other.

Tip 5: Keep a smile on your face

It makes a big difference! You will be able to enjoy your movement much more. That smile can keep the energy going.

Tip 6: Do your Surya Namaskars with awareness

This is a very essential element in the entire practice. Surya Namaskar could be very energizing (believe it or not!) if done with gratitude, grace, at a slow pace and with awareness on the breath. For example, in the Ashtanga Namaskara (6th pose), the solar plexus corresponding to the navel chakra, the reservoir of energy, gets activated, releasing a lot of energy in the body, making us feel very energetic. If done with proper awareness, one can feel the flow of energy starting from the navel chakra to the entire body.

Tip 7: Breathing Should Be Natural

While doing Sun Salutation, breathe normally (not in Ujjayi). Also, breathing should not be forceful. Breathe slowly, gently, and effortlessly, with awareness on each breath that you inhale and exhale. Try and keep the breath in harmony with every body movement.

Tip 8: Surya Namaskar is best done with mantra chanting

Through their power of vibration, the Sun Salutation and mantras have a subtle yet powerful and penetrating effect on the mind and body. Each of the 12 Surya Namaskar poses have 12 corresponding mantras recited in honor of the Sun. Further, as you do each posture, take your attention to the particular chakra (12 chakras for every posture). For example, in the first pose (Namaskarasana), we take our attention to the Anahata Chakra located at the heart level. Doing your Sun Salutations with mantra chants and awareness on chakras, adding a feeling of gratitude, adds a profound spiritual and meditative aspect to your practice.

Tip 9: Surya Namaskar can be a warm-up or a stand-alone practice

The latter works best for those who are pressed for time. A few rounds of Sun Salutation can provide a comprehensive body workout in a span of 10-15 minutes! As a routine practice, 6 sets or 12 rounds of Sun Salutation are sufficient. You can also do it as a warm-up exercise, before getting into Padma Sadhana or other intense yoga postures. If you are practicing Surya Namaskars as part of your warm-up, you can do them at a somewhat faster speed. When you practice them as part of the yoga posture practice, you can keep slow to medium speed. After a few rounds, the body feels light and flexible and the stretches in the active yoga postures become deeper. If you have backache, avoid practicing Sun Salutations at a fast pace.

Tip 10: Relax after finishing Surya Namaskar

As you finish your last round of Surya Namaskar, lie down and relax your entire body. For best results, it is advisable to lie down in Yoga Nidra, giving the body enough time to assimilate the effects of the stretches. However, if you are short on time, you can relax for a few minutes in Corpse Pose, for complete rest to the mind and body.

Tip 11: The secret is in putting effort and then letting go

Last, but surely not the least, this is the most important tip to enhance your Surya Namaskar experience. Like every yoga posture, when you start doing Surya Namaskars in the beginning, you will need to put in a little effort. That effort is required, as it helps channelize the Rajoguna or restlessness in the body and then what remains is simple harmony or Sattva. So Rajoguna gets exhausted with exercise and Sattva leads you to meditation – the feeling of letting go.

Including all of these in our daily practice of Surya Namaskar can make the experience a complete sadhana – one which includes asana (posture), pranayama (breathing), mantra (chants), and chakra meditation.

Join us this October for Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training – an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share.

Yogacharya Dinesh Kashikar, affectionately known as Kashiji, is the Director of Teacher Training for the global Sri Sri School of Yoga in India and part of the curriculum design team, bringing more than 15 years of training aspiring yoga teachers in the various dimensions of the study and practice of yoga.

 

 

 

Sejal Shah has been on the path of yoga and meditation for about 20 years. Having a strong foundation for understanding health, in terms of mind-body-soul state with her training in Homeopathy, Yoga and Ayurveda, she teaches people of all walks of life about healthy living, how to effectively manage their mind and emotions, eliminate stress, live in harmony amid diversity and bring greater peace and joy into their lives.

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