Begin the Day with Sun Salutations

The sun is often a symbol of life and wellness in cultures around the world. Light is associated with life, well-being and happiness. As the source of light on earth, the sun is an important part of maintaining life on the planet. It’s not hard to imagine why beginning the day with sun salutations will have benefits on a mental, emotional and spiritual level.

Here are some other benefits of starting the day with Sun Salutations:

Honoring Life and the Heart: It’s not a coincidence that a sun salutation places the hands in front of the heart. Sun salutations are a method of mentally and spiritually honoring life and the emotional aspects of life. It is recognition of the sun as a source of life and an essential part of existence.

Providing an Excellent Warm-up Exercise: Sun salutations are a form of exercise that helps improve circulation, warms the muscles and prepares the body for what lies ahead.

Meditative Benefits: Sun salutations offer movements that are gentle, slow and focused- allowing the mind to focus on every step and adjustment. Being present in the moment also allows one to clear the mind and let stress fade away. As a moving meditation, Sun Salutations honor the light and energy of the universe and within one’s own body.

Providing a Total Body Workout: Sun salutations are a total body workout that is ideal when time is limited. If performed quickly, sun salutations are a great way to lose weight and exercise the cardiovascular system, while stretching and toning the muscles throughout the body.

Here is an example of a common sun salutation:

1. Begin in Tadasana (standing or mountain pose).

2. Swan dive down into Uttanasana (forward fold).

3. Inhale and lift to a flat back (or Ardha Uttanasana), then release back down into Uttanasana.

4. Step the right foot back into a lunge.

5. Step the left foot backwards to meet the right foot, bringing the body into a plank position.

6. Exhale and lower down into Chaturanga.

7. Inhale and move into a low cobra or upward facing dog.

8. Exhale and push up and back into downward facing dog.

9. Inhale and step the right foot forward into a lunge.

10. Exhale and bring the left foot forward to meet the right foot.

11. Pause once more in Uttanasana (forward fold).

12. Reverse swan dive and come to standing in Tadasana with the hands in prayer position at the heart.

13. Repeat the sequence on the left side of the body.

Sun salutations are a great way to start the day. To incorporate these movements into one’s day, begin with a 15-minute morning practice with 10 minutes of sun salutations followed by 5 minutes of final resting pose (Savasana).

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