Asana · Blog · Experience · Travel · Wellness · Yoga

Benefits of 9 Sun Salutations

As summer is coming to an end on the Northern Hemisphere, the chances of enjoying the benefits of long days of sun is also. On Summer Solstice this year, which also coincided with International Yoga Day, a group of us woke up around 6am to salute the sun, which was said to be more potent and powerful compared to others. Rolling into Autumn, that day seems so long ago. Read full article here.

As I am in Barcelona, a lot of my routines and rituals, needed some adjustment, which I am perfectly ok with. This morning, I chose to do a different meditative practice, that of 9 sun salutations. I went near the location the UNICEF Yoga Day hosted by DIR and W Hotel was held on the day I actually arrived, 5 hours before. I was initially upset that I missed out, but am so grateful that I have the Mediterranean Sea at my doorstep for about a month. Currently, what I am working on in my sun salutations is the handstand hold during the jump into chaturanga. It is so exciting that there is always a challenge even after years of practice. See video below or click on link and let me know what you think.

Yoga Journal has a wonderful blog post about the various schools of thought on Sun Salutation A (better known as Surya Namaskar A) and how to get started with what most people who attend yoga for the very first time, get introduced to it, regardless or not they know what it is called at the moment .

Sun Salutation A - Ashtanga Style
Sun Salutation A – Ashtanga Style
There are variations on this fundamental flow, which is to

energize your body as you stretch and strengthen all of its major muscle groups in sun salutations, or surya namaskar.

The traditions of this practice, besides being good for your body, provides nourishment for your soul. As one faces the sun (or the “light”) honoring their existence and the suns, as we open and close this practice with the hands near our heart, one is honoring herself and the source that truly provides sustenance to so many beings.

As I meditatively practiced 9 (108 is the goal), but 9 also does the trick in terms of astrological/spiritual numerology, I came out thinking about how much love I have for this foundational sequence.

Here are 9 out of numerous benefits of Surya Namaskar A:

  1. If you are a beginner, you can learn 8 basic postures, while an advanced yogi can work on the intricacies of these 8 asanas and do variations with handstands and pikes. Yoga Journal’s outstanding step by step guide can help you get started.
  2. You can get into a meditative state after about the 4th one. Imagine if you were to do 108.
  3. Stronger biceps and back and more so of a “workout” with the three chaturangas (yoga push ups) in the next sequence, called Surya Namaskara B.
  4. Learn to breath with movement. In many yoga classes teachers mention the importance of pranayama (breath work), but the importance of correctly breathing in your practice can make a huge difference and this series helps you realize when and how to breath.
  5.  With just 9 “faster” versions of these, you can get a sweat going. So, it’s good for the heart too.
  6. You can do it at your own pace. The slower the practice, the more meditative and relaxing, though.
  7. You can invigorate your morning instead of going to the coffee machine first. In fact, it will get your digestive and nervous system totally ready for the day.
  8. It can improve your physical and mental poise.
  9. You can use this as a warm up to get into more advanced and challenging poses. In fact in Ashtanga Yoga, about five of these are considered the first set of warm ups.

So, if you’ve been curious about yoga, I urge you to give Sun A a try.

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