The sun salutation is one practice of yoga tradition in the most beneficial absolutely you can do. Thousands of yoga practitioners around the world, regardless of the style they practice, do it every day and there are countless researches that show that, when practiced consistently, health has improved exponentially. In this article, I will give you 3 valuable tips that will allow you to sun salutation for beginners.
Because of its incredible benefits, it has spread a great deal, which is wonderful. With the spread, there is also the problem that many people learn it self-taught and therefore make important mistakes, which make Surya Namaskara definitely less beneficial. And what’s more, injuries are always lurking.
Sun salutation for beginners
When I see students doing Surya Namskara in the classroom, I often notice that they breathe properly but attach much more importance to the body.
I’ve already written and repeated it thousands of times but, despite this, I will never tire of saying that breathing is the most important aspect of yoga practice. This also applies to sun salutation.
The breath should guide the practice and not the body. It is thanks to the breath that you can go deep into yourself and you can remove inner tensions, both physical and mental. Therefore, it should take precedence over the body.
How can we put this teaching into practice?
My advice is to start every vinyasa of the sun salutation, that is every movement associated with the breath, with breathing.
Let me explain better with an example.
If you have to stretch your hands towards the sky with an inhalation, do not start the movement and do not let the breathing follow it. Do rather the opposite. Begin by inhaling deeply and, after a few moments you have begun to inhale, start the movement of the arms.
Perfect positions one by one
The sun salutation is a very dynamic sequence for beginners. It should be a small goal, not a departure.
Its dynamism in fact is benefits because it allows to activate the energy and to fight the tamasic aspect of the body. It makes it a practice a little advanced for those who start doing yoga.
In fact, I recommend starting to salute the classic sun, but also the other versions, keeping each position longer. This will allow you to learn more about the alignments of each asana and to do it correctly when you perform the complete sequence.
It makes no sense to start immediately with Surya Namaskara dynamic if you don’t know all the positions of the sequence well. Therefore start by holding the positions for 5 or even 10 breaths. Then you can go down to 3 full breaths for each position. Finally, you can try to do the complete sequence respecting the correct vinyasa and combining each movement with each breath.
If you try to do so, you will feel that the final sun salutation is considerably better than the previous ones.
Cultivate listening in Tadasana
I often see many practitioners who open the yoga mat and immediately start saluting in the sun, without stopping even a few seconds in Tadasana.
In the position of the mountain, instead, it is essential to listen to your body and mind for a while. In the classrooms this is usually guided by the teachers but, if you practice at home and if you skip this “centering”, you begin to salute the sun with the mind still “out of the body”.
Instead, it is very important to cultivate introspection and awareness and these qualities must be practiced by listening to oneself that is done in moments of rest. So when you start saluting in the sun, take a few moments to feel your body, mind, breath, back, eyes, feet, hands, etc …
References in Tadasana for 30 seconds or maybe a minute, will help incredibly quiet the mind, to detach yourself from your everyday life and improve the practice you are doing.
You could also sing Om, the sacred mantra, or practice Anjali mudra, the gesture of prayer. They will help you focus your mind in the present moment.
This applies not only when you start doing Surya Namaskara, but also when you return to Tadasana after completing one or more cycles of sun salutation.
In this case, you feel the changes that have occurred in the body, in the breath and in the mind thanks to the sun.
Listening also allows you to adapt the practice according to your needs at that time.
If maybe you feel tired and your breathing is excessively irregular after a few greetings to the cola, you can also stop some more breathing in Tadasana, rest, wait for it to return to regular and then continue with the practice.
If you are practicing at the end of the day and feel that the body is tired, it is better to practice the sun salutation in a more relaxed and calm way, rather than dynamic. In this case, you could also choose to salute the moon, which is usually more suitable at the end of the day.
All this happens only if you cultivate listening in Tadasana. If you don’t practice it, the body will also scream but you will be deaf and will not listen to its messages. 😉
The next time you practice the sun salutation I invite you to put these tips into practice. I’m sure they will help you. If you want me to let you know how it went in the comments below, I am very pleased. Furthermore, if you want to go into this topic further, read the complete guide to the sun salutation where you can find much more information on this wonderful practice that is so widespread and so beneficial.