In ‘Feel Good Friday Yoga’ Flow, we took a closer look into Sun Salutations (Sūryanamaskāra: “salute to the sun”).
Traditionalists believe sun salutions are at least 2,500 years old. However others believe that Sun Salutations are a more modern development dating to the early 1900s with European influences including gymnastics and weight training. In fact, there’s a book published in 1928 which shows an image of the poses of the Sun Salutation as ‘The Ten-Point Way to Health.’
Whatever the origin, back then Sun Salutations would be performed facing east, in the location facing the sun, usually outdoors. This might be a perfect wake-up routine in some countries, where it’s usually warm outside but it might not be quite as appealing with the UK climate!
The poses involved in a Sun Salutation depend on which variation you’re performing—Sun Salutation A contains fewer poses, while Sun Salutation B contains a longer sequence of slightly more challenging poses, such as Chair pose and Warrior I. Both sequences are designed to engage, stretch, and invigorate the whole body, while keeping the focus on meditative breathing. So whichever you opt for, you’ll reap a bounty of benefits.
Aside from being a great way to ease yourself into practice, the range of asanas involved in a Sun Salutation sequence is designed to open up all areas of the body and leave you feeling more balanced by the time you reach the final stretch. The breath leads you in and out of the movements.
A 2015 study found that after practicing Sun Salutations for 20 minutes every morning for two weeks, college students suffering from stress symptoms were found to display far higher “physical relaxation and mental quiet” compared with those who didn’t take part in the daily practice. Researchers also found that the students described themselves as feeling more “at ease/peace, rested, and refreshed.” Increased feelings of joy and strength were also reported, as were fewer negative feelings and better sleeping patterns. That all sounds pretty good!
I love to weave Sun Salutations into my classes. Feel Good Friday Yoga Flow will be resuming in-person very soon. All being well, the first class will be on 25th June (once all restrictions are lifted). Join me on the mat for yoga in Rugby on Friday mornings 9.20am-10.20am. Register now and then once bookings are open, you will be able to reserve your place!