Solar Powered Yogis: How and Why we Salute the Sun

“Our primary source of light is, of course, the sun. When we look at our closest star, we may see nothing more than a big yellow ball. But for thousands of years, the Hindus have revered the sun, which they call Surya, as both the physical and spiritual heart of our world and the creator of all life itself.” (Here Comes the Sun, Yoga Journal)

Without the sun, we simply would not exist. There would be no life. We practise Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) as a way of honouring the sun. It is a practice of love and gratitude.

If you've ever taken a yoga class, chances are you've probably come across Sun Salutations. They are a sequence of postures, usually repeated several times, often modified and adapted to suit the style of the class. Moving in unison with the breath connects you not only to your own body, but to everybody around, moving and breathing together, honouring the sun.

Breathing – In yoga, we generally breathe in and out through the nose, unless instructed otherwise. Breathing through the nose filters the air and slows the breath down. Once Surya Namaskar becomes part of your routine, connecting the breath to the movement can become quite meditative.

Learning the sequence is easy enough but maintaining the alignment of each individual pose and connecting it to the breath is an ongoing practice. After all, if it was easy we'd get bored and stop practising. Sun Salutations are a great warm up for the whole body. They also serve as a well rounded stand alone practice. You can flow through however many salutations you feel like, just make sure you stay connected to the breath and mindful of the way that the body feels.

There are many variations of Surya Namaskar. The video below will guide you through Surya Namaskar A.

Thanks to Claire, Sarah and Georgina for sharing their practice.

Music is Infinite Possibilities by Ingmarlo.

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