With the hurried pace of life, one is barely able to sleep the recommended hours, let alone have time for yoga. However, it is important now more than ever that we create a routine that incorporates yoga asanas not only to stay healthy and fit, but also to have enough energy to go through the hectic day. When the body is fit, we are able to do things effortlessly without having to deal with the fatigue caused by the lethargy in the body. The good news is that there are yoga postures that can perform both as a cardio workout as well as meditative practice.
The Sun Salutation or the Surya Namaskar is an ancient and unique yoga practice that originated in India. It serves both as a cardio workout and as a meditative practice. Doing Surya Namasakar on the daily basis brings overall resilience in the body, mind and is a great support for those on the spiritual path. The sun salutation is a complete practice in itself with 12 steps/postures done as one round for right side and one round for the left side. Therefore, one cycle of sun salutation consists of 24 steps inclusive of both the right and the left side postures.
If one does these 12 steps at a fast pace it shifts into a fantastic cardio workout. However, if one does it slowly with deep breaths it turns into a meditative practice, one that harmonizes the body, mind and breath. Whether one does it fast or slow it is important to ensure that breathing is relaxed. There should be no exertion, panting or puffing of the breath. The breathing should always happens through the nose and not the mouth.
Just like how the Moon goes through it waxing and waning phases every 28 days, which in yoga we consider as one cycle of the moon, so also does the Sun. One cycle of the Sun spans about 12 years. The Sun is the sole provider of the energy that gives life to all things on earth. Therefore the Sun symbolizes vitality, vibrancy, health and stability. In the yogic system, the right channel or the pingala is associated with the Sun. So doing the Surya Namaskar tunes our energies to the cycles of the Sun which in turn enhances overall balance and stability in the system.
Doing the Surya Namaskar daily has numerous benefits.
1) This yoga sequence improves blood circulation and aids in maintaining good health.
2) Because it consist of 12 steps each for the right and left side, it balances the right (yogic name is pingala) and left (yogic name is Ida) energy channels. Having a balance of the Ida and Pingala brings mental stability.
3) It engages the major muscles of the body to bring strength and flexibility in the spine.
4) It boosts the immune system, improves digestion and increases the lung capacity.
5) The practice naturally balances the hormones, endocrine system and metabolism, giving the skin a healthy glow.
7) Finally, it acts as a great energy booster.
Surya Namaskar is a simple, potent and unique exercise that can be practiced by one and all. It is wonderful way to kick start the day! So need you think more? It is time to start with 12 cycles of Surya Namaskar daily and experience the total wellbeing that it offers.
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