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Saluting the Sun in June!

Less than a month remains until the summer solstice, when we’re able to soak up the most rays! To celebrate the closeness to our golden star, Pearl Yoga & Fitness is focusing this month on the powerful sequence of sun salutations!

There are two main types of sun salutations, or “Surya Namaskara.” Surya Namaskara A is comprised, typically, of 12 different poses. However, as there are different forms of yoga, there are also different methods of performing a sun salutation. Each movement is performed in a gracefully linear way to build strength and flexibility. Surya Namaskara B is an extension of sun salutation A and consists of 17 movements. Later this week, we will look at the slightly more advanced salutation that is Surya Namaskara B.

The body warms up when performing Surya Namaskara, which is why it’s frequently used as a warm-up in traditional yoga. Surya Namaskara encourages relaxation and stress relief, as well as serving as a great way of promoting cardiovascular health. The extension of our limbs and steadying of breaths prepare us to ease into more complicated poses while gearing us up to take on the day.

In 2015, body-positive yoga enthusiast Jessamyn Stanley demonstrated a typical sun salutation for Buzzfeed, consisting of the following steps:

  1. Mountain pose (Tadasana) – Keep your shoulders down and back while pressing the tops of your thighs back and the tailbone toward your heels

  2. Upward salute (Urdhva Hastasana) – Inhale while raising the arms and placing the palms together

  3. Standing forward fold (Uttanasana) – Exhale while placing your hips over your heels and stretching your core

  4. Half-standing forward bend (Ardha Uttanasana) – Inhale and stretch your fingertips forward

  5. Plank pose – Exhale and maneuver into a plank, keeping the core tight and palms against the mat

  6. Four-limbed staff pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) – Tuck your elbows into your chest and lower into a typical Chaturanga pose. This can also be modified due to the complexity of Chaturanga.

  7. Upward facing dog pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) – Inhale and press the tops of your feet into the mat, thighs above the floor

  8. Downward facing dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – Exhale and push yourself up into a downward dog

Following downward dog, we repeat backwards from step 4 – half-standing forward bend, followed by standing forward fold, followed by upward salute and culminating in mountain pose.

While you can practice Surya Namaskar at any time, it’s best to do it in the morning on an empty stomach. Art of Living website recommends “at least 12 rounds of Surya Namaskars daily (one set consists of two rounds – six with the right leg, six with the other).” This way, it keeps your body as close to balanced as possible!

Pearl Yoga & Fitness is going to be focusing a lot on these energizing sequences in June; pop in to one of our classes and treat your body to a great physical experience!

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