Are you looking for information about the sun salutation? What are the movements to do in this yoga sequence? What are the benefits? In this article, I present everything you should know about the sun salutation.
A long time ago, it was said that a terrible curse was about to fall on the world. "Soon the light of day would be a memory. »
One evening among so many others, in front of the incredulous eyes of the whole world, the sun slipping behind the horizon, was about to disappear forever...
The world then fell into an infinite night. Every morning, the cold blew a little harder against the leaves of the trees. The days merged with the nights. Long and sad.
It was then that the inhabitants of a village called Rishikesh gathered. They decided to find together a way to reverse this sad fate. An intense desire animated all these people, who by chance were yoga practitioners. So, every morning, they agreed to make certain movements, in their pyjamas, at the foot of their beds.
They had one intention in their hearts: to see the sun return. They needed dozens of sequences every day. The minutes flew by, taking with them the tensions of their rigid bodies. And in the course of their routine, a smile appeared on their lips.
Despite the intensifying night, they never lost their motivation. After a while, they performed the ritual in such a state of presence that they seemed to know only him. Day after day, happy and proud, they formed side by side, one and the same vibration.
When finally, on the morning of December 21, dawn returned. It is said that so many yogis practiced together on that day that an aura encompassed the world and made the curse disappear. Daylight pierced the horizon, leaving everyone happier than they had ever been. That's when they decided to name the ritual: greeting to the sun.
Since then, it has been said that if the sun always takes its place from now on, it is because somewhere in the world, someone gets up every day to perform this ritual. Would you like to participate? Then let's see what it's all about.
The Sun Salutation explained
In yoga, the Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit is a sequence of yoga postures. This exercise is particularly appreciated by practitioners because it is relatively simple. It is therefore accessible to beginner yogis, to the most advanced and even to people who have never practiced yoga before. Here is what this sequence consists of in detail:
1. Tadasana: Place yourself at the front of your mat, feet together, heels slightly apart. Your two big toes are in contact. The back is straight, the pelvis is turned forward. Both arms are stretched out on each side along the body, palms facing forward.
2. Urdhva Hastasana: As you breathe in, sweep the energy on each side as you raise your arms up to the sky. Both hands join above the head. Your body leans back slightly. To do this, be careful not to arch your back too much and don't pull on the lumbar vertebrae. To help you do this, keep your lower back well covered.
3. Uttanasana: When exhaling, dive forward following the movement of the arms that fall on each side. The legs remain straight or bend slightly. The hands go towards the ground or touch the ground. Do not pull on the back to touch the ground at all costs.
4. Ardha Uttanasana: Inhale, hands come to rest on the knees. The eyes go forward. The back is straight as a table.
5. Uttanasana: Exhale, hands fall forward, back slackens again. (position identical to 3).
6. Kumbhakasana: Both hands are placed on the floor on inspiration. Then one lies down right leg and left leg backwards. One comes in board. Hands on each side of the shoulders, forming a straight line with the body. The buttocks are neither too low nor too high.
7. Chaturanga Dandasana: One can place the knees on the ground or leave them in alignment with the body. On exhaling, one comes in Chaturanga. This position, also called the yogi pump, consists of going down to 5 centimeters from the ground. This, while keeping the elbows bent close to the body (not outwards) and the body on the same line.
8. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Then, on inspiration, one puts the legs on the ground. One stretches the arms, raises the bust and the pubis from the ground to come as a dog head up.
9. Adho Mukha Svanasana: When exhaling, we push the soles of our feet into the ground and we come as a dog head down. We stay for five complete breaths. On inhalation, we look between the hands and on exhalation, we walk or jump to place the feet between the two hands.
10. Ardha Uttanasana: On one breath in, you extend your spine, your back is straight, your hands are on your knees or on the ground and you look straight ahead.
11. Uttanasana: On exhalation, one dives forward in a standing pinch.
12. Urdhva Hastasana: On a last breath, the arms sweep the energy on each side to meet above the head. And on exhaling, the joined hands touch the forehead and then the heart in Anjali Mudra.
You can find pictures of each of the postures explained here by typing their Sanskrit names on the internet. You will also find an explanatory video here.
When to practice the Sun Salutation?
The practice of morning yoga is often considered ideal. And when it comes to greeting the sun, it makes sense to practice at sunrise. In traditional yoga, it is advisable to practice the sun salutation at the hour slightly before sunrise.
In fact, this hour is called Brahma Muhurta, which means God's time. Indeed, it is the hour when your mind is not yet stressed by your day's concerns. You can therefore get out of bed and roll out your mat to practice in complete serenity.
It is best to do yoga on an empty stomach, before breakfast. Why is it better to do yoga on an empty stomach before breakfast? Simply because if you eat before these exercises, you may feel nauseous and have a bad digestion.
Practicing a few minutes each morning can become an excellent ritual. In fact, even if it is not possible for everyone to have an hour of yoga every morning, a few minutes at bedtime can be a good, quick way to exercise and take care of yourself. The morning is usually a time when you have time to focus on yourself. So why miss it?
Of course, the sun salutation can be practiced at any time of the day. For example, it will often be included in Vinyasa Yoga classes even if they take place at the end of the day. So practice this sequence as you wish.
The Benefits of the Sun Salutation in Yoga
We could spend many hours on the benefits of this sequence. However, the most obvious one, in my opinion, is the following: the Sun Salutation awakens the body. Indeed, when you feel blocked and tense after a night's sleep, the fact of making three times these movements will allow you to regain fluidity in your body. You will see that, as you move, you will become more flexible. This morning routine also gives you a time to take care of yourself during the day and puts you in a good mood to start your activities.
By mobilizing the whole body, the sun salutation is also a great warm-up at the beginning of a yoga session. This is why one always starts an Ashtanga practice with this set of postures.
In addition, this practice helps to mobilize the internal organs and stimulates the blood supply in the body. It is therefore excellent to strengthen one's health.
Who cannot practice the Sun Salutation?
In the sun salutation, there are many variants that can be used to adapt its practice. They are suitable for people in many physical conditions. However, the classic sun salutation, which I have described to you today, is not recommended for pregnant women, people weakened by illness, or those with back and wrist injuries.
Furthermore, I would advise you to take a first class of Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga (you will certainly do this set of postures). This will allow you to have your alignment corrected by a teacher before starting this routine at home. Otherwise, you are not safe from injury if you do not practice the postures correctly.
You now know what a sun salutation is in yoga and all its particularities. A morning ritual allows your inner sun to shine.