Sun Salutations: What are they and why do we practice them?

In the most literal sense, a Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar as it is called in Sanskrit, the language of yoga, is a specific series of yoga poses performed in sequence.

Sun Salutation Sequence 2

While the history of the physical practice of the Surya Namaskar sequence is a bit unclear, it is known that it was originally a sequence of sacred words honoring the sun that would be chanted at sunrise each morning rather than the sequence of poses we are familiar with today.

Why do we honor the sun? As Shiva Rea, creator of Prana Flow Yoga and founder of the Global Mala Project put it, “All of life on Earth depends on the sun.”

Sun Salutations are an energizing sequence that links body, breath and mind in a moving meditation of gratitude for the life force and healing energy that the sun provides. And while they can be practiced at any time of the day, it’s often suggested that the early morning hours are a particularly good time for Sun Salutations since the mind is most likely calm and clear first thing in the morning.

The Sun Salutation sequence is an important foundation in the vinyasa (or flow) yoga practice. This series is used as an energy building warm up and is repeated often throughout a practice as a smooth transition between other sequences. Because Sun Salutations are repeated many times during a class it is important to practice them with proper pose alignment and breath work.

To learn more about Sun Salutations, proper pose alignment and transitions and how to work them into your personal practice join me on Saturday, March 5th  from 1-3pm for a special Sun Salutation Workshop! 




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