It’s popular! It’s magical! It’s spiritual! It probably has 12 million pages- blogs-books- articles on the web all for itself! So I’ll spare you all of that and let the greatest preach all about it but here is a revealing of my 8 secrets on the Surya Namaskaras or Sun Salutations.
Before the salutations, here is a confession! Of the last 7 years that I have been practicing yoga, I did the surya namaskars wrong for about 5! Where to stretch, which muscle to engage, where to fix thegaze and how to draw the maximum benefit out of this amazing routine — I had no idea till I foundthe right teachers!
And now — The Sun Salutaion Secret Spill List
- Prayer Pose — It’s truly a great way to begin an exercise routine! To just stand straight, fold your hands, inhale a huge gulp of fresh air, and wait for the action to begin. It’s surprising how many practitioners don’t take this asana seriously! It really might look that you are just standing with your hands folded. The truth is that you are trying to elongate your upper body while keeping all edges of the foot nicely grounded! The Secret is to pull your anal muscles which does the trick of keeping the spine aligned and shoulders drawn back with the abdomen sucked in and keeping the body straight to find a BALANCE! Where’s the stretch? It stretches the mind and brings a calming effect!
- Raised arms pose — The Secret is to push your hips as forward as you can and going as backward down as you can! Another Secret is to stretch up more and not stretch backwards! Tone that spinal cord that is highly mistreated due to the gadgets in our world! Don’t close your eyes! There isn’t a better posture to loosen a tight back.
- Forward bend pose — Staying with the cardinal rule of life! What goes back must come forward! And here intensely forward! What I love about it is that, you are allowed to bend the knees a little bit, enough to help you touch your palms on the ground! A good yoga teacher can tell the Secret on how to make the forward bend by bringing in a beautiful stretch movement from the hips and not your back! And the blood rush upto the head is a major mind clearer. If you do get this, then suddenly the whole meaning of the forward bend will change!
- Low lunge pose — If you actually start your day doing surya namaskars, then this pose is a wake up asana! The Secret is to push and push those hips down to the floor as much as you can! You burst into that sweet pain as the stretch deepens in the upper thighs! And just in case you are a runner or a cyclist, do this to create that awesome opening sensation especially in that tight abdomen given bending forward for hours!
- Plank Pose- I find this hard to do but this one has been majorly responsible in getting my arms, shoulders and wrists strong! The Secret is to manage to maintain the weight on palms that should be nicely dug into the mat. And finally don’t forget to unlock the elbows. Keep them soft and avoid injury. Get those biceps to work hard instead. Feel the stretch right into your core! Planks are all about endurance building, enough said!
- Astanga pose ( Asth(eight) Ang(organ) pose — This one is all about the two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and chin touching the floor, all at the sametime. And is dedicated mainly to the back of the neck! The Secret is to keep the elbows hugged along the ribcage. It’s a sexy yet graceful push of the booty along with sucking in of the tummy! The stretch goes to the spinal cord and the shoulders.
- Cobra Pose — I call this the mood elevator! You can actually break the monotony of hours of sitting at the desk by just breaking into this pose 2–3 times in one go. The pose isn’t much if you don’t stretch your legs and lift your head up high and therein lies the Secret to unleash the energy channels. A lot has been written about how this asana has empowered people with greater confidence and lowered their stress levels. I definitely feel very bright after this! Remember to inhale nice and proper as you push the chest forward.
- Downward dog pose — I call it my wake up asana! The most mysterious of them all! A favorite and the most difficult to master! There are millions of pages on the internet about this one! The Secret to draw the maximum from this pose is to get the right yoga teacher who will tell you how to work the body while in the posture. Another secret (goading you to try ) is that once you are finally in the pose suck your abdomen in as much as possible because this is where the mind and the body start connecting! Also don’t forget to attempt to gaze at your naval while you do this or else the head just drops aimlessly! This asana wakes me up like nothing can! I feel super energetic! Sometimes the day is long and unending- and a minute of downward dog has brought me back to life.
I am a fan! And don’t worry if those heels aren’t touching the ground as yet. Yoga doesn’t take time, it gives time — to slowly and gradually get things right!
Which is your favorite Sun salutation pose? Is there any pose in Sun Salutaion routine that you can’t get right? Didn’t feel the stretch in a particular asana? Hustle with us! Write to us!
- Hustled by Tanya Agarwal.