12 Reasons You Should Start Your Day With The Sun Salutation

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

It seems as if everyone is talking about yoga lately. Yoga has suddenly become extremely popular for a dozen good reasons. Ok, there are actually more than 12, but we will limit ourselves to 12 in this article.

One of the best yoga practices is called Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutation in English.  This is a flowing series of 12 yoga postures that is, as the name implies, meant to be done first thing in the morning as a means of greeting the sun and starting your day off right.

The best way to do this exercise is to perform it outside, enjoying the fresh air and the rays of the sun on an empty stomach. This s a great way to wake up your body and get all the vitamin D you need for the day.

It’s important to note that those who might be suffering from back pain, a hernia, a slipped disc, or heart disease should speak to their doctor before performing this routine.  Pregnant mothers should also skip the sun salutation after their first trimester unless they get an OK from your doctor.

If you have been practicing yoga for a while, you are most likely familiar with the sun salutation, but if you are new to yoga, this is a great place to start.

This set of 12 poses is meant to be done 12 times, but if you can’t do that many, or if you don’t have time for that, even just three or four repetitions are good. Many people like to track their progress and take satisfaction in noting that, perhaps in the beginning, they could only do three or four reps but with time, they find they can complete seven or eight reps with no problem.

 

Are you ready?

First, the 12 poses of the sun salutation are:

  • Salutation posture (pranamasana)
  • Raised arm posture (hasta uttanasana)
  • Hand to foot posture (padahastasana)
  • Equestrian posture (ashwa sanchalanasana)
  • Mountain posture (parvatasana)
  • Salutation with 8 limbs (ashtanga namaskara)
  • Cobra posture (bhujangasana)
  • Mountain posture (parvatasana)
  • Equestrian posture (ashwa sanchalanasana)
  • Hand to foot posture (padahastasana)
  • Raised arm posture (hasta uttanasana)
  • Salutation posture (pranamasana)

As you can see, this is a sort of a circle of poses that starts and ends with the salutation. This is a complete set of exercises that many find not only gives them physical benefits, but it also improves their mental health.

Let’s take a look at the top 12 reasons why you should start practicing the sun salutation.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

1.  There Is No Better Way To Wake Up

Even if time is short, practicing at least three reps of the sun salutation each morning is an absolutely wonderful way to wake up your body, stretch out your muscles, and say good day to the world. If you are new to yoga, please be gentle with yourself.  Try to focus on doing the poses correctly, rather than focusing on speed. Many people find that doing the sun salutation gives them feelings of empowerment and gives them a more positive outlook on their day.

 

2.  Terrific For The Muscles And Joints

The sun salutation is also super for the joints and muscles. These poses will work the legs, neck, and shoulder muscles, which can help  improve posture, balance, and strengthen these muscles over time. Doing the sun salutation regularly will improve flexibility in the spine, neck, and leg muscles, which will help you maintain your height as you age.

 

3.  Helps With Detoxification Of The Body

As you do the sun salutation poses, you should breathe deeply. This means extending the lungs and filling your body with oxygen-enriched blood. This helps the body do its natural detoxifying process. A thoroughly detoxed body remains healthy and free of many of the most annoying symptoms that come from too many toxins such as headaches and fatigue.

 

4. Improves Digestion

The sequences of poses in the sun salutation is good for the digestive system, increasing blood flow to the entire digestive tract and stimulating the natural action of the intestines so they process food and eliminate waste properly.  Doing the sun salutation regularly will get rid of constipation and dyspepsia.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

5.  Improves The Complexion

Want a more natural glow to your face? Want that radiant, ageless skin that just screams “health?” Look no further than the sun salutation. These yoga poses are considered by many to be a natural way to prevent wrinkles and keep the skin free from acne and other skin problems.

 

6.  Helps With Insomnia

Even though you do these yoga poses in the morning, they will help you deal with insomnia or other sleep-related problems. The sun salutation is a unique combination of relaxing exercises combined with deep breathing will calm the mind and body, which can encourage a sounder sleep and improve the sleep quality as well.

 

7.  Can Help You Lose Weight

Practicing the sun salutation regularly can help you lose weight because it burns more calories and stimulates the metabolism for hours afterwards, resulting in more calories burned during the day. Some of the postures in the sun salutation stretch the abdominal muscles and can help you reduce belly fat.

 

8.  Helps Control Diabetes

If you suffer from diabetes, you can also benefit from doing the sun salutation. Some of these yoga poses will stimulate the pancreas through gentle pressure placed on it. This will also improve the output and the use of insulin. These yoga poses will also improve circulation, which is vital for anyone suffering from diabetes.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

9.  Helps Prevent Hair Loss

Since these yoga poses are known to improve the blood circulation in the body, it only makes sense that improved blood flow to the scalp will help prevent hair loss. Many people say that after they began to do the sun salutation regularly, they noticed that their hair grew faster, and some say that it even stopped their dandruff.

 

10. Reduces Stress And Anxiety

Performing the sun salutation reduces the buildup of tension and encourages relaxation of the entire body and mind. These yoga poses reduce the amount of the stress hormone, called cortisol, which leaves you feeling stressed out or even depressed. Yoga has been shown in studies to increase the production of serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters in the brain that causes us to “feel good.” Yoga, including the sun salutation, is known to be very effective at relieving feelings of stress, anxiety, and even depression.

 

SEE ALSO: 12 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Osteoporosis (Ladies, This is Vital Info!)

 

11.  Regulates Hormones

Ladies, if you suffer from irregular menstrual cycles or PMS, doing the sun salutation can help you tremendously. These yoga poses will help to control the adrenal glands and the pituitary glands, which can regulate and control the menstrual cycle, as well as reduce pain during menstruation.

 

12.  You Establish A Personal Relationship With The Sun

If you can do the sun salutation while facing the morning sun, you might begin to feel that you are literally drinking in the sunlight, in the same way trees and plants do. Many describe feeling that they are connecting with ancient energy, light, and wisdom. Sunlight can awaken thoughts and feelings in you, similar to the way a seed is awakened and will grow. You might have all sorts of thoughts as you do these poses, but we guarantee  they will all be positive ones.

Performing the sun salutation will make you feel powerful. This is an energetic sequence that is designed to make you feel strong, confident, glowing with health, and filled with positive energy.  Why not try it tomorrow morning?

References:

Nccih.nih.gov

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Health.harvard.edu