Yoga Fundamentals Part I: What is a Sun Salutation & Why Practice Them?

what is sun salutation and why practice them 

Sun salutation is an incredible practice for beginners to embrace the magic of yoga in an easy and effective way. Having at least a few sun salutations in our routine can be so beneficial for both our physical and mental health but do we know all about them? Let’s find out all the benefits and the foundations behind sun salutations for a great practice. 
sun salutation for beginners: what is a sun salutation
The Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit) is a yoga practice that incorporates a sequence of twelve positions (like the hours on a clock) aimed at involving the whole body in a holistic way. Thanks to this "completeness" it can be performed both as a warm-up before the start of a prolonged yoga session, and as an exercise in its own right.

The sun salutation can be practiced at any age, by novices and experts, as it does not include particularly difficult asanas (positions). Sometimes it is also performed by chanting 12 different mantras, one for each asana, thus adding a deep spiritual element.

As a practice, the sun salutation was initially used in Hatha Yoga, but later became common in all yogic schools due to its versatility. Although there are no sources that allow us to place its precise origin, we know that this practice dates back to the era of the Vedic Upani?ads, around the first millennium BC.
What is it for?

Its purpose is to awaken the body's receptivity to create an energy source directly from the sun. In the Vedic tradition the sun is a symbol of consciousness and, therefore, has been worshiped for many centuries as a deity in Indian culture.

In addition to being a tribute to the sun, a source of life and energy, this exercise can also be interpreted as a way to wake up our body and “make the mind rise”. This is why it is performed mainly in the morning, especially at dawn, when the air is full of vital energy, turning east to look at the sun.

As in all yoga and meditation practices, breathing plays a very important role: breathing forcefully during exercise compromises its effectiveness and correct execution. The breath must be regulated according to the movements of the body and always kept natural and deep, accompanying each position.

Why practice sun salutation for beginners?
The main benefits of sun salutation for beginners

Improve the nervous system
Improve the respiratory system
Improve the circulatory system
Improve the digestive system
Balances the psychophysical energy of the body
Improve blood circulation
Tones and strengthens the body
Improve digestion
Strengthens the immune system
Increases the flexibility of the back and legs
Promotes the elimination of toxins
It decreases menstrual pains and the difficulties of menopause
Improves the condition of the uterus and ovaries

No special equipment is required to perform sun salutation for beginners, but a yoga mat is very useful for balancing your position and resting firmly on the ground.

The exercise should be practiced calmly and following the movements of the body in the most fluid way possible. It is not the speed that determines a good result, but the fluidity with which one moves.

At the beginning we recommend that you practice each asana separately, in order to perfect the position and master it. When you feel ready, you can start performing the asanas one after the other without haste. Eventually, with a little practice, you will be able to perform the "flow" dynamically and repeatedly.

The sun salutation consists of a sequence of twelve positions, each related to the previous and the next: the aim is to "evolve" each asana into its next form with the maximum degree of flexibility, like a natural "dance" of the body. . Each position must be held for a few seconds before moving on to the next.

There are two main variations of the sun salutation, namely form A and form B. Sun Salutation A is the perfect sun salutation for beginners as it’s easier and it involves some yoga basics posture all beginners know and master perfectly! 

Sun salutation for beginners, the importance of breathing

We have already written it, but we repeat it: the 12 positions also include breathing, which not only must be coordinated with the movements but must also be fluid and support the body in order to allow it to wake up from the torpor of the night and prepare to better enjoy the new day.

Precisely because it is a repeated sequence, its speed is not constant but depends on who is practicing. In general, there is a tendency to a very slow practice precisely to activate all the nerve centers and thus allow you to start the day in the best way.

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