The Sun Salutation: It’s Not Just a Warm Up
Sun salutations are one of the most popular exercises performed at fitness centers all over the world. They’re also known as “warm ups” or “cardio.” However, it is not just any old cardio routine that will get your heart rate up and burn calories; it must be done correctly. You have to do it right!
A proper sun salutation requires perfect form. If you don’t feel like you’ve got the strength to complete such a task, then you haven’t practiced enough. A good way to start practicing is with some simple arm circles and hand movements while sitting down on a chair or bench. Try doing them slowly so that they become second nature and build up your endurance before moving onto something more strenuous.
Here are some tips for performing a correct sun salutation:
Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Keep your head slightly tilted forward (not too far) and keep your neck relaxed. Your eyes should remain open throughout the whole sequence. Don’t look directly at anyone else during the exercise.
Take a few seconds between each repetition to breathe deeply and exhale completely through your mouth. Do not hold anything in or around your body during the exercise. Relax everything. If you are holding tension in any part of your body, you need to let it go before continuing with the next pose. When breathing, you can inhale through the nose and exhale through either the nose or mouth. It doesn’t matter as long as you remain consistent throughout the entire exercise routine. Before beginning the exercise, it is best if you stand in a quiet place without distractions. Once you begin, be sure that no one interrupts you. If someone should approach or try to speak with you, let them know that you are in the middle of a training session and wish to be undisturbed.
Sun Salutation A
Stand straight with your feet together. This is the starting position.
Keeping your arms at your sides, exhale while raising your hands up over your head. Inhale while bending forward and placing your palms flat on the floor. Your fingertips should point away from your body.
Exhale while raising your buttocks and bending your knees so that your torso folds forward and your head hangs down towards the floor. Your arms should remain straight and reach out as far in front of you as possible.
Inhale while slowly straightening your arms and lifting your head until you are once again upright.
This is one repetition. Ideally, you will do this exercise for a full minute without stopping.
Sun Salutation B
This exercise is done in the same way as sun salutation A, with two exceptions. In this exercise you will not bend your knees when you lower your torso to the floor and you will perform the entire exercise twice instead of once. Once you’ve completed the second repetition, go on to the next exercise. Do not perform any other exercises until you’ve completed this entire routine at least twice.
This exercise begins in the same way that sun salutation A begins. Once you are in the starting position, however, you will hold that pose for a full minute instead of doing repetitions.
This exercise is very taxing so you may take breaks by lowering your knees to the floor. You may also rest by lowering your chest to your knees. You may not rest by lowering your entire torso to the floor.
After the minute is up, go on to the next exercise.
Begin this exercise in the starting position. Maintain a solid position with your arms and back for as long as you can. You do not have to keep the same straight line. In fact, a slight curve is perfectly fine.
Do not, however, allow your bottom to leave the floor and do not allow your back to sag.
This is the last exercise of this routine. Begin this exercise in the same starting position that you used for the press-up. After holding that position for a few seconds, exhale while curving your body into a position resembling an upward facing bow. Inhale while returning to the starting pose.
These exercises are very demanding so you may rest in between repetitions and you may take as much time as you need.
This routine should be done at least three times per week for the best results.
End of “A Timely Routine”.
Sources & references used in this article:
Here Comes the Sun by R Rosen – Yoga Journal, 2003 – bimfitness.ca
A mathematical model of effects on specific joints during practice of the sun salutation–a sequence of yoga postures by SN Omkar, M Mour, D Das – Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 2011 – Elsevier
Could hatha yoga be a health-related physical activity? by M Grabara – Biomedical Human Kinetics, 2016 – content.sciendo.com
Asanas: 608 Yoga Poses by BVR Nagarjuna – J Nurs Health Sci| Volume, 2016
Seeing feelingly: A phenomenological inquiry into the mind/body experiences of six drama students by D Mittra – 2002 – books.google.com