Yoga has been a vital part of my life for the past three or so years. I find it crucial to helping me keep a balanced body, soul, and mind. I can use my practice to calm my anxiety, boost my mood, stretch sore muscles, relax after a long day, or even connect to nature. I believe strongly that yoga has the power to benefit every single person in one way or another.
Some days I have time for hour long yoga sessions; others I barely have ten minutes! I realized that yoga, being such an important part of my life at this time, needed to be incorporated into my busy, and usually rushed, morning routine to wake me up and get me feeling positively about the day ahead of me.
It is a bit of a mystery on when the practice of Surya Namaskar, or sun salutations, began. Wide belief is that the practice is at least 2,500-3,000 years old. Some believe the Vedic people would practice sun salutations at dawn, alongside their ritual of making offerings of flowers and rice and reciting mantras. Others believe that sun salutations were invented in the 20th century by the raja of Aundh.
In the Hindu religion, where yoga originates, the sun is regarded as a physical and spiritual heart of the world, basically the center of life. The sun is the “eye of the world”, or loka chakshus, and essentially in practicing sun salutations you are honoring the sun, a new day, and yourself.
Sun salutations can vary in length, but usually consist of eight basic and simple poses in repetition while focusing on pairing your movement to your breath. They are a great workout and stretch for beginners or experienced yogis.
I have begun to fit a sun salutation into my daily morning routine and I plan to stick with it! I get up at about 5:45am, around the time the sun is getting ready to rise. After I convince myself to quit cuddling my dog and get out of bed, I have a glass of water to alert my body that it’s time to wake up. Then I roll out my mat in front of my bedroom window facing the mountains and do a ten minute sun salutation practice as the sun comes up. Immediately afterward, I feel a jolt of energy, happiness, and gratitude. I’ve also found that it’s a great, quick workout routine because my muscles get a good stretch and my heart rate gets going without putting too much stress on my body first thing in the morning.
Even if you’ve never tried yoga before, I highly recommend giving this sun salutation from Yoga with Adriene a go! She is my absolute favorite, and it’s easy for anyone to follow her direction. If you enjoy it, try incorporating it into your morning routine and see what difference it makes in your life!