Are you a beginner to Sun Salutation? You would be curious to know all about Sun Salutation – how to do it right, when to practice it or how many rounds at one time. When we start any yoga posture practice, it is natural to be motivated in the beginning. Yet it is important to do Sun Salutation right and know important facts to get the best results. Here’s a list of some of the ‘must-knows’ for Sun Salutation beginners.
#1 Why do Sun Salutation? This is probably the first question that comes to most of us. Sun Salutation is important for two reasons. One, it can be a great workout for the whole body – stretching, flexing and toning the muscles, an excellent exercise for weight loss. It also offers numerous health benefits beyond the physical level, relaxing the mind, leading it to meditation. Two, Sun Salutation gives us an opportunity to express gratitude to the sun, without which life on earth would be impossible!
#2 Best time to do Sun Salutation? It is a good idea to do Surya Namaskar early morning at sunrise, on an empty stomach.
#3 Can I do Sun Salutation in the evening? Yes. You can practice Sun Salutation at sunrise and sunset. When the moon is visible, you can practice Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar) which has one additional yoga posture in the Sun Salutation sequence.
#4 Where should I do Surya Namaskar? Although there is no restriction to the place of practice, you might enjoy your stretches more outdoors or a well-ventilated room, overlooking nature.
#5 Respect your body limit; do not overstretch. As a beginner, you might be tempted to imitate your yoga teacher or fellow practitioner. But remember, each body has a different capacity and different flexibility. The idea is not to compete with anyone. Do only as much as you can or your body can take.
#6 What is the ideal number of Surya Namaskars? It is a good idea to do at least 12 rounds of Surya Namaskars daily (one set consists of two rounds – six with the right leg, six with the other). However, as a beginner to this yoga practice, you could start with two to four rounds and then gradually go up to as many as you can comfortably do (even up to 108 if you can!)
Ideally, the practice is done in sets. This will ensure that both sides of the body are equally used.
#7 Sun Salutation alone is not sufficient; combine it with other yoga postures Although Sun Salutation is a complete body workout, it is good to top it up with other more intense yoga postures for a complete fitness experience. Consult your Art of Living Yoga teacher to find the best yoga poses that should follow Surya Namaskar.
#8 What speed should I follow for Sun Salutation? Practicing Sun Salutation at different speeds (slow, medium or fast) can have different effects. If done at a slow pace, it can help strengthen and tone body muscles. Use the breath as an effective tool in slow movements to bring the body, mind and breath in harmony and enjoy a complete meditative experience. A few rounds of quick Sun Salutations can be a great cardiac workout. If you are doing Surya Namaskar as a warm-up exercise, do it at a fast pace. But if Sun Salutation is included in the entire yoga posture package, you can do it at slow to medium pace.
#9 Learn Sun Salutation under supervision. Like any other yoga posture practice, it is important to learn Sun Salutation under the guidance of a trained and experienced yoga teacher.
#10 Consult a doctor if you have a back problem. If you are suffering from persistent back pain, any other pain in the body or some chronic physical problem, it is advisable to consult a doctor before beginning the practice.
#11 Be regular and committed to your yoga practice. To achieve best results, ensure that you practice Sun Salutation regularly. Only then would you be able to experience its benefits. To quote Krishan Verma, senior Art of Living Yoga teacher, “It is better to practice daily for 20 minutes than to practice for an hour occasionally.”
Find an Art of Living Yoga Course near you to learn Sun Salutation correctly from an Art of Living Yoga teacher. Send your questions and queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to helping you with your yoga practice.
This article is based on inputs by senior Art of Living Yoga teachers: Dinesh Kashikar and Krishan Verma (Yoga Shiromani and Yogacharya).