Tuesday, November 30, 2010

YOGA series: E1- Sun Salutation

It is been almost 2 years that I started to do yoga. I don't know about other people's experiences but I saw changes in me after the very first session, which I was quite surprised. As I continued my practice on regular basis I discovered that I am building much more than a fixable body. I was getting much calmer, and felt that I am in more control over my mind and emotions. And that made me happy, very very happy.

Personally yoga worked for me and I am enjoying it a lot. I recommended it to all my friends and most of them started to practice yoga and seems they are enjoying it too. so as I say about a lot of things, try it, maybe you find something good in it, otherwise you have nothing to lose.
so here in these series of posts I will talk about my yoga journey, different yoga practices and postures. I consider myself a new yoga learner ( level 0+) so I learn these stuff from somewhere and someone else probably and them mixed them with my own experiences  :) 

let's start with a little definition first:
The word yoga has many meaning; it is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj", meaning "to control", "to yoke" or "to unite". there is another possibility, that the word yoga derives from "yujir samadhau" which means "contemplation" or "absorption". the last definition is closer to yoga since it is through contemplation that discrimination between praktri (nature) and purusha (pure consciousness) occurs ( I read about these in some books  about yoga over the past 2 years, I will  look back and try to find the Ref.)

Sun salutation (Surya Namaskar)

The sun salutation practice is a sequence of movements that energizes the body which links body, breath and mind and it is practiced at the beginning of the class. So why the sun?
In many cultures light  is the symbol of awareness and our primary source of light is of course the sun. and one of the ways to honor the sun if by Surya Namaskar.  

It is taught by ancient yogis that each of us replicates the world at large; containing rivers, seas, mountains, starts,... the sun and the moon. However the outer sun is a symbol of our "inner sun" which is our spirit, our heart. 

it is very interesting to know that in yoga our wisdom is placed in our heart which is typically associated with our emotions, not in our brain. Actually in yoga, brain is symbolized by the moon, which reflects the sun's light and generates no light of its own. if you look at it carefully you will see why; it is true that we make our decisions by our brain but brain is limited to its knowledge ( light reflected from our brain is limited to the light that it received as knowledge). 

There are many sun salutation variations, personally I am aware (and practiced) only few versions of them but we always start and end with Tadasana (mountain pose) and you can always modify it and make your own version by adding something like chair pose or etc. 
as you move through, watch your breath closely. Slow down or rest completely if your breathing becomes labored. This is actually true for all the yoga posture, as one of my yoga instructors (Don) said "you should always breathe comfortably, if not, it is a way your body telling: you passed your limit buddy", so listen to your breath. 

Always breathe through the nose not your mouth, because Nasal breathing filters and warms the incoming air and helps to prevents any problems throughout the posture. 

Sun salutation is adoration of the light and our insight, so it is important that throughout the practice, turn our awareness inward, toward the heart and  make each movement as thoughtful and precise as possible. if your mind goes somewhere else return to your heart, which actually is a good thing, since you noticed it's gone so congratulate yourself for noticing.
Don't be hard on yourself and if you're at your first sessions ( or at any level)  never compare yourself with others, everyone has different body structure; practice and just try to listen what your body is telling you.
Hope you enjoy and Namasta ! 
* the picture had been taken form http://thefitnessworkout.com

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