1. Increase your energy circulation.
Sun Salutations are a great way to energize the body first thing in the morning. It is easy to do, and with modifications, it’s available to everyone! Start with your rounds, and you will feel your heartrate increasing. These Sun Salutations will improve blood circulation, purify your blood, and strengthen the physical body.
The lungs, digestive system, as well as muscles and joints will all benefit from practicing Sun Salutations. This practice also increases the vital energy of prana in your body, which helps remove energy blockages. A series of Sun Salutations can, in itself, be a nice cardiovascular exercise benefitting the whole body.
2. Lengthen and tone your muscles.
A continuous practice of Sun Salutations will bring more strength, flexibility, and tone to the body. It will open the hamstrings, shoulders, and the chest, as well as release tension. As you move through the poses, you are also lubricating the joints, in turn aiding in keeping the full range of motion in the body.
Sun Salutations offer a great release of tension on the spine, which creates length and increases flexibility. Forward Bends and the slight back bend of Cobra Pose help us add space and breathe into areas of tightness. The health of the spine is especially important to our overall wellbeing. We are as young as our spine is supple!
3. Experience moving meditation.
The Sun Salutation is a series of asanas woven together with the breath. As you move from one posture to another, you follow the breath and let it lead the way. The breath provides a bridge between the body and the mind, and this gives a perfect moment for a quiet, moving meditation.
Let the mind follow the breath, and when it wanders, bring it back to the breath. Practice being present. Practice enjoying the moment, and not thinking about how many rounds you have done already or how many there are still to go. Be aware of the stories in your mind, and try to find a place beyond them.
4. Practice honor and respect.
A daily practice of Sun Salutations gives us the perfect place to observe our body. We are different every day, and the practice should reflect this. Some days the body feels supple and capable, and on other days it may feel stiff and tired.
Respect your body everyday as it is. Watch it grow with your daily practice, and modify the sequence as needed. Try not to let your ego dictate the practice–you don’t need to go faster or deeper, as there are no end goals or requirements in yoga. It’s just you and your body, slowly moving and enjoying the journey.
5. Be centered and grateful.
Gratefulness is a wonderful gift. Share it with yourself. The more you are grateful about things around you, the more you will find things to be grateful for! It’s a wonderful upward cycle.
With these Sun Salutations, you can practice this gratefulness each morning. Be grateful to have woken up, that there is a new day, and that you are able to move your body as you wish. There are so many things we take for granted and appreciate only when they are gone.
Sun Salutation, as the translation indicates, is a gesture of respect and acknowledgement to the sun, but you can also salute any area of your life for which you are particularly grateful. Dedicate each round to one thing you are grateful for, no matter how small or big, and soon after, you will feel the uplift in your mood and spirit!
This article was originally published on doyouyoga.com