• Karla Neblett

What are the benefits of sun salutations?

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

Last week’s class

Although Storm Dennis was howling outside nine people arrived for our second KarmaTree class. To counteract the chaotic wind and rain, Marc focused on grounding and calming our energies. We began by slowing the breath. Starting with five-second inhales and five-second exhales, then holding the breath a while before increasing the count to seven second and ten second inhales/exhales before finally holding the breath out as long as possible. Breath control is crucial to yoga as “the act of breathing is an essential aspect of most meditative practices”[1]. We then moved onto sun salutations.

Surya Namaskar

Surya = Sun

Namaskar = To bow down

Sun salutations are made up of a series of basic poses[2] where we bow down to honour the sun, the energy giver of all things.

There are two schools of thought as to where sun salutations are believed to have originated from. Some believe sun salutations have been practised for around 2,500 years beginning during Vedic times when people followed the Vedas (or holy texts) in ancient India (there is some dispute, however, as to whether yoga originated from the Vedic or Tantric philosophy). Others believe sun salutations stem from the early 20th century from the raja of Aundh.

Benefits of sun salutations

When practised daily, sun salutations increase muscle strength and are “an ideal exercise to keep oneself in (an) optimum level of fitness.”[3] According to Ayurvedic tradition they’re also believed to balance the doshas or primary elements/constitutions of the body:

· Vata = elements are space and air = movement, thought and emotion

· Pitta = elements are fire and water = digestion, metabolism

· Kapha = elements are water and earth = lubrication, immunity, strength

The circulatory, nervous, immune, respiratory and digestive systems, as well as vital organs and our minds, are all positively impacted.

How many sun salutations should you do?

Marc has led us through rounds of sun salutations that can be practised at home daily. If you haven't been to one of our donation-based classes, find a YouTube tutorial to guide you. Start with between 2-4 rounds of salutations before increasing this to an amount that you feel comfortable with.

  1. [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6137615/ [2] https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/here-comes-the-sun [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3289222/

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