Why We Love Sun Salutations

‘…For thousands of years Hindus have revered the sun, which they call Surya, as both the physical and spiritual heart of our world and the creator of all life itself. One of the means of honoring the sun is through the dynamic asana sequence Surya Namaskar(better known as Sun Salutation)…’

(credit: Shanti Yoga Shala)

When it comes to keeping fit and healthy, focus and determination are big factors- especially when travelling! When you travel a lot like we do, it is handy to have a routine that is sustainable- one that you can stick to even without a gym or yoga studio handy!

This is why we LOVE sun salutations- especially on a holiday when we can actually do them in the sun and soak up some vitamin D!

Sun salutations are a great little workout to do at anytime- but especially first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up (BEFORE brekky!). This is because they are an effective way of boosting the metabolism and getting the digestive system going. Sun salutations are a complete cardiovascular and strength workout- the best way to start your day! They can also be a very mindful and spiritual exercise, using the breath and doing them slowly allows you to connect your mind and body while saluting the sun- the main energy source for all living things on earth.

If you can’t do your sun salutations before breakfast, they are still effective at any time of day because they help to build strength in the legs muscles and core, raise the heart rate and burn calories- and there is never a bad time for those benefits!

If you can do your sun salutations in the morning sunlight, even better! Getting some sun (sensibly) will increase your vitamin D intake- which helps with our moods, our weight management and our immunity- some very sunny benefits for your body!

 

Not sure how? We’ve got you covered with some easy instructions:

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Stand at the top of your mat, feet together with your arms down by your sides or in prayer in front of the chest.

 

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As you inhale, sweep your arms up, looking up towards the fingertips, biceps by the ears

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Exhale, swan dive forward by sweeping your arms out (or keep in prayer at the chest) as you tilt from the hips with a straight back until you are in a forward fold. Place your hands on the mat along side your feet.

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With your next inhale; sweep your right leg back into a low lunge. Right foot is on the toes with the leg strong and straight. Front knee is directly stacked on top of the front ankle, making a vertical line with the shin. Align the hips and shoulders, look forward. Bend and lower the right knee to hover just above the ground, feeling the opening stretch through the right hip. Hold for three breaths.

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On your next inhale, sweep the left foot back to meet the right into plank pose. Create a straight line from the ankles to the shoulders by engaging through the core. Look to the top of your mat (option: lower the knees to the ground for support).

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On your next exhale, keep your elbows close to the body and lower yourself down into a triceps pushup. On your inhale push yourself back up by straightening the arms.

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On your next exhale, come half way down into the same style of pushup, then roll forward on the toes, leading with the chest into upward-facing-dog. Tops of the feet are hip-width apart and pressed into the mat, legs are engaged so that they rise off of the ground. Hands are stacked under the shoulders, fingers spread. Look up towards the sky (without creasing the back of the neck). Open through the shoulders and chest and hold for two breaths.

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On your next exhale, roll over the toes and push the hips up, coming into downward-facing-dog pose. Feet are hip-width apart, legs straight (option: slightly bend at the knees) with an aim to lower the heels down to the ground. Hips are pressed up towards the ceiling and the chest is pressed towards the thighs, accentuating a triangle shape. Arms are strong and straight, hands slightly wider than the shoulders with the fingers spread for grip. Hold for three breaths.

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Inhale sweep the right leg up into three-legged-dog, exhale bring the right foot forward between the hands, coming into another low lunge pose (as done previously). Hold for three breaths.

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Inhale, push from the left toes and bring the left foot up to meet the right. Hands to heart center and rise with a flat back.

Repeat on the other side. Once you have completed each side, you have done one set. Repeat 10 sets.

 

Enjoy!!!

Mike & Suz 🙂

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