The “Sun Salutation” or Surya Namaskara A, is one of the primary conditioning exercises of India’s Kshatriya warriors and is considered a great way to build flexibility, strength, and body unity. The series of postures or asanas stretches and conditions the shoulders, legs, waist, and back. The traditional Ashtanga method includes holding the “Downward Dog” posture (Adho Mukha Svanasana) for five deep breaths. When done correctly, this weight-bearing partial inversion strengthens and conditions the shoulders while creating a very grounded and centered state of focus.
The Sun Salutation is a flowing sequence of yoga postures that are performed in a specific order and rhythm, creating a moving meditation that strengthens the body and calms the mind. The Ashtanga method of Sun Salutation includes 12 postures, each one flowing seamlessly into the next and it’s a great way to warm up the body before a yoga practice.
The “Downward Dog” posture is an essential posture in the Sun Salutation and it’s considered one of the most important yoga postures. The posture is a weight-bearing posture and it’s great for stretching the entire body, it strengthens the arms, legs, and core. Holding the posture for five deep breaths is a great way to improve focus and concentration.
Shown above is a demonstration of Ashtanga Yoga’s Surya Namaskara.