January is a powerful month when we collectively wake up and renew our commitment to lead more conscious lives. Yoga can help us turn our intentions into actions through the practice of the sun salutations.
The sun salutations awaken us from the contemplative yin energies of the winter season to embrace the dynamic yang energies of the New Year.
A daily practice of Surya Namaskara clears our bodies of old stagnancies, and allows us to once again revitalize our bodies and minds.
Surya Namaskara: Why We Greet the Sun
In traditional Hindu mythology, Surya Namaskara is a form of ritual worship performed at sunrise to honour the solar deity Surya — the Supreme Being who ascended to the heavens on his golden chariot.
Today, this symbolic act reminds us that we too can embody the radiant qualities of our inner sun. We can learn how to do this simply by stepping onto our yoga mat.
The 12 Postures Of the Sun Salutation Sequence
The 12 basic yoga postures that create the sun salutation sequence can be practiced in a hatha yoga or a vinyasa power flow class. In either case, this yoga sequence is utilized to generate heat in the body.
The key to building a strong sun salute lies in the rhythm of our breath — we flow through the sun sequence with one breath per movement until intention, breath, and action become one.
Once we learn these 12 foundational movements of the Surya Namaskata, we can begin to add to them with variations of our favourite yoga postures, until our flow becomes uniquely our own.Flow for More Energy
Just as we greet the sun in the morning with our yoga flow, it is also inspiring to close out our day by saluting the sun. Sun salutations performed at sunset or dusk can be especially beneficial, especially if we cool down with a series of yin style yoga stretches.
Yet, no matter the time of day, our sun flow practice allows us to release what is no longer serving us, whether it be physical or emotional. Most importantly, the sun salutations draw more energy and vitality into our lives.
All we have to do is bring our New Year’s intentions to the mat. Each time we flow through a sun salutation we awaken more and more to the light of a new cycle in our lives.