When you introduce yoga in your life you will slowly realise that it is more than a simple exercise, it goes beyond the ability to perform “acrobatic” postures. It is a way of life.
Its philosophy is rooted in a physical culture of health and well-being that is still emphasised today and explains why over 15million people in the world now practise this ancient tradition.
Every yoga asana (pose) has a different name and varies from standing postures, seated twists, backbends, arm balances, inversions and core holds.
When you start practicing Yoga, you are first introduced to a flow called Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations). A series of movements cleverly designed to prepare body and mind for the practice of asanas.
As it comes as an introduction/opening of most Yoga classes, I thought to be the perfect topic to start my first contribution to The Field’s blog.
Let have a closer look to the Surya Namaskar.
From the point of view of both Yoga teacher and practitioner, I find Sun Salutations to be one of the most useful tools in Yoga and/or as warm up before any exercise or workout, as it is extremely functional and effective both physiologically and also as a way to cease the fluctuations of the mind.
Sun Salutations are the key to open the body and building heat to fuel your practice. In the beginning to allow the body to slowly loosen up with the repetitions of the movements. And, as we move through the cycle of Namaskars, forward fold deepen, backbends become more expansive, and core strength is activated, allowing movements to become increasingly effortless.
Each movement is led by the breath. Inhalations and exhalations are used to guide the body into the flow. As such, I find Sun Salutations to be the most effective way of connecting body with breath.
Most of the time people come to me after the class, telling how difficult and challenging it is to link the breath with the movements. I always try to explain that this happens due to the fact that most of us have become so disassociated with our own breath that to stay aware of our inhalations and exhalations is extremely difficult.
But, as we continue to practice, we start to be able to move following the cues of the breath, and to use the breath to stay focused on the body.
By the moment you start connecting with your breath, and use it to explore the body. You will notice no more attachments to the thought, so you mind starts to quiet.
You may also noticed that there is different Sun Salutations, depending on the style of yoga you be practicing. I find the classic Sivananda Surya Namaskar the more beneficial to my practice, not only because it gradually becomes physically demanding, helping me to increase my strength and flexibility. But also, because it includes lunges which helps to stretch and prepare the hip flexors to the practice.
Currently, I’m more likely to use my creativity every time I’m practicing Sun Salutations. While I still incorporate many traditional aspects, such as back bends, forward bends, down facing dogs, tadasanas …I also like to experiment with different combinations of poses and ways of moving.
Once you start experiencing with Sun Salutations you will find an endless list of possible routines.
The beauty of yoga is that it can be practiced pretty much anywhere, on your own or with other yoga enthusiasts. If you have been inspired to give yoga a go there is no better place than “The field Centre”. Come and join us…