If you have practiced yoga, hot yoga or Oconomowoc yoga before; you have probably heard of sun salutations. Some people, like myself before I took my first yoga class, might be wondering what the heck sun salutations are, why we practice them, how we do them and what the benefits of the sun salutations are. Well you are in luck, today is your lucky day, because we will review all of that and more.
So, first thing is first. Let’s talk about what is Sun salutation A and B are. Sun salutation in Sanskrit is called Surya namaskara and the sun salutations are a pose or group and/or set of poses that is performed in a certain sequence or order and is linked to your breath. At Oconomowoc yoga or at home, when you practice Sun salutations (and all other yoga poses) make sure that when you extend you inhale and when you exhale your bend.
Let’s take a little bit of time to talk about what the purpose of these sun salutations is. Sun salutations, such as sun salutation a and b in Oconomowoc yoga, can be used as a warm-up in many yoga classes and as a short and quick sequence that is easy to remember and can be practiced if you are looking to get just a quick yoga flow in or if you would like to get a quick stretch. Sun salutations and practicing sun salutations, especially during Oconomowoc yoga helps build heat within the body and also helps bring oxygen into the blood which means that it helps strengthen your heart and helps build stronger and aids in better or proper digestion. In addition to these great benefits, pairing your breath to the poses or movements, which we call breath to movement in yoga, helps calm your nerves, increase endurance and boost your immune system. In addition, focusing on your breath either while doing yoga poses such as sun salutations during Oconomowoc yoga or just in your everyday life helps relieve stress and helps you calm down from challenging or upsetting situations.
Let’s talk about the different hoses that are in Sun salutation a and how to do the poses coordinated with your breath. For sun salutation a, you will start in Mountain pose and when you inhale you lift your arms over head and gaze towards the ceiling envisioning a long straight line throughout your body so standing up nice, tall and proud. Next, when you exhale you come into a forward fold so you bring your chest forward and your knees can be slightly bent, the crown of your head should be facing the ground or your mat. The next step is on your inhale to come to a halfway lift with a flat back and in this position you can gently rest your hands on the front of your shins if that helps provide some extra support for your back and helps to ensure that you have a flat back. On your next exhale you will come to a plank position, so you will place your hands on the mat about shoulder-width distance apart and step your feet back behind you so that they are extended straight creating a flat line throughout the entire back of your body and with straight arms and shoulders protracted. In this position you want to make sure to engage your core to give you some balance and stability in this pose. In the same exhale you will move to low plank so you will bend your elbows backwards and at a 90 degree angle so that your body is hovering just above the mat. And on your next inhale you’ll come to a forward facing dog with straight arms lifting your thighs off of the mat with the top of your feet resting on the mat and your gaze can be shifted towards the ceiling. And your next exhale you will push your hips up to the sky coming into downward facing dog and here you want to make sure that you are hinging at your hips and that your back is nice and flat with your neck and head relaxed and in line with your arms. The soles of your feet do not have to be touching your mat so maybe take a slight bend in your knees if that helps relieve some tension and your back. On your next inhale you’ll travel to the top of your mat either by simply walking your feet to the top of the mat or jumping slash floating to the top of your mat and you will take another forward fold here. On your next exhale you will again come to a halfway left with a nice flat back. And almost finished here on your next inhale you’ll bring your arms over head again standing nice and tall you’re gaze can be shifted towards the ceiling. And I like to end this sequence by bringing my palms to touch overhead and drawing my hands down to my heart.
Sun salutation a is a very common sequence of poses that we practice quite often in our yoga classes. As we mentioned before, it’s also a great set of poses to practice at home or maybe first thing in the morning to bring some movement to your body. It’s also a great sequence to practice during a class at our studio because you can evaluate how your body feels and how you’ve progressed in the poses as you practice them with more time. You may also notice that if you practiced Sun salutation a during different times of the day such as first thing in the morning versus maybe midday or at the end of the day you’ll notice maybe some different pain points or spaces where you’re holding tension and then you can work into those areas a little bit more or stretch them out for a longer period of time to reduce that tension at our Oconomowoc yoga classes.
To practice sun salutation a with us or if you would like to try a hot yoga class for yourself please visit us in person at our studio in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin or visit us online at www.sweatshophotyoga.com or give us a call at 262-269-1466. We can’t wait to meet you!