Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar is a series of 12 asanas that are done rhythmically synchronized with the breath. Surya Namaskar is a fundamental aspect of every yoga pose as it stretches and warms up the entire body. The breathing during surya namaskar is very important as it guides the rate of movement and helps to improve co-ordination and control. It can either be practiced quickly or slowly, depending on the nature of the class. When practiced slowly it provides muscle regeneration and deeper stretches and when preformed quickly it has an immediate aerobic effect burning calories and increasing blood circulation. If you are a beginner it can be considered the challenging portion of the class and for those more advanced it’s considered a warm up.
The breath should be used to move you from one posture to the other- most attention is paid to the breath during the transitions. When holding a pose it is important to continue breathing normally, the only point where the breath is retained is in plank pose. In combining breathing with the movements, always inhale when you stretch upwards and exhale when stretching downwards. For example, moving from arching back to bending forwards exhales helps to deepen the pose, if you go against the flow and inhale during forward bends you will feels unnatural because your chest, diaphragm and abdomen lifts up and expands during inhalations whereas and you need it to hollow down so you have the space to fold downwards. Thus, the breath not only guides the movements it also helps to ensure that the pose is performed fully bringing together all aspects of the body.
Our fitness booster yoga program is taught in the sequence of sun salutations, we vary the pace and intensity of the poses depending on our clients but this fluid movement helps us increase the heartrate, challenge our stamina and improve our strength and flexibility. We will use the traditional surya namaskar to start the class before adding variations to focus on different areas of the body such as the hips, legs, arms and core, all in all a work out is guaranteed!