People all around the world begin their days differently. In some cultures, the day begins with prayer or quiet meditation, others with chanting or a community meal. In more fast-paced cultures, the day likely begins with emails, alarms, or rushing to catch a bus—while you cram a bagel into your bag. However you begin your day, the ritual of honoring a new day and greeting the morning has been practiced for centuries. Sun Salutations, the yogic asana that traditionally starts off your practice, originated as a way to greet the sun, heat the body, and connect with the soul before the bustle of the day begins. There are many physical and mental benefits of beginning your day with a series of Sun Salutations, and we connected with one of our favorite yogis, Stacy McCarthy, to lead us through both an invigorating and grounding series. You can follow the video along at home!
For reference, if you’re new to Sun Salutation sequence, you can follow the breakdown down here:
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
- Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
- Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
- Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
- Plank Pose
- Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Improved Mental Awareness
In many ways, Sun Salutations are a form of moving meditation. The transitions incorporate every part of your body through steady inhales and exhales, helping the mind to settle. If you tend to start your day in a flurry of to-do’s, take 10 minutes to move through a few rounds of Sun Salutations. You’ll quiet those thoughts of emails and errands—at least for a little while.
Reduce Sluggishness and Wake Up Your Body
Waking up after a long night’s sleep can leave you feeling still a bit tired. Sun Salutations are a great way to wake up your body and mind through standing poses and fluid movement. It’s certainly a more conscious (and lower-impact) start to the day than burpees, but it will also wake you up and connect your body and mind.
Kick-Start Your Metabolism
Sun Salutations are best practiced on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning. You’ll notice that you quickly build up some body heat as you move through the series. Sun Salutations are a great way to get your blood circulating and boot up your metabolism to start the day with a light cardiovascular routine. That said, we don’t suggest going through a vigorous round of Sun Salutations right after breakfast!
Have more questions about your yoga practice? Let us know in the comments! And look for daily yoga classes on our online schedule.