Yoga teachers often say that if you do only one asana a day, it should be the Sun salutation. For people with limited time, the Sun Salutation is excellent because it stretches and strengthens all the major muscle groups in the body and exercises the respiratory system.
In Hindu mythology, the sun god is worshipped as a symbol of health and immortal life. The Sun Salutation gives reverence to the internal sun as well as to the external sun, the creative life force of the universe that the yogis believe to radiate inside as well as outside the body.
The Sun Salutation limbers up the whole body in preparation for the asanas. It is a graceful sequence of twelve positions linked by a continuous flowing motion, and accompanied by five deep breaths. Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing. One round of Sun Salutation consists of two sequences, the first leading with the right foot in steps 4 and 10, the second leading with the left. Keep your hands in one place from steps 3 to 11. Co-ordinate your movements with your breathing. Start by doing four rounds and gradually build up to twelve rounds. As always in yoga, do it slowly and consciously.
Positions 1 and 13 - Establish state of concentration and calm.
Positions 2 and 12 - Stretch abdominal and intestinal muscles, exercise arms and spinal cord.
Positions 3 and 11 -Aid in prevention, relief of stomach ailments. Reduce abdominal fat. Improve digestion and circulation. Limber spine.
Positions 4, 5 and 10 - Tone abdomen, muscles of thighs and legs.
Positions 6 and 9 - Strengthen nerves and muscles of arms and legs. Exercise spine.
Positions 7 and 8 - Strengthen nerves and muscles of shoulders, arms and chest.
[Go To: A Step By Step Practice of Yoga]
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