Rolling out the yoga mat has been a weekly goal for me, but in just four days I have managed to change it from a goal to a daily desire. I already look forward to my time on the mat because of its ability to increase serotonin levels, its ability to relax, slow my breath and focus my attention on the present. All, of which, help with both anxiety and depression – two things I have been struggling with this year.
There are over 38 benefits of a daily yoga practice (and depending on the resource, there could be up to 50). My go to flow has been Sun Salutation A- and if you ever enter a yoga studio, this is the one that you should go in being a little familiar with.
As you can see, I am not a perfect Yogini. I have a lot of work to do in the flexibility department- my legs are NOT straight in forward fold, my heels don’t even come close to the mat on the downward facing dog, and my knees never get straight on the halfway lift. This doesn’t stop me from practicing. I enjoy the control, the focus and the breath during the practice, and I look forward to how this flow makes everything feel after just 25 minutes.
A yoga practice has so many health benefits.
This Sun Salutation A is most beneficial for…
Weight Loss– specifically for the core– as the yogi moves through the plank pose, the core is activated.
Improved Digestion– The flow allows for a deep massage through the digestive system to stimulate and remove waste from the body.
Good for the heart- This practice increases the heart beat and the circulatory system. The body receives fresh oxygen and encourages the lymphatic system to work more efficiently to combat germs, bacteria and illness. Any yoga practice also lowers blood pressure and blood sugar.
Improves Lung function– By focusing on the breath and movement together it allows the body to optimize the function of the lungs. By completely empting the lungs, the brain gets fresh oxygen which provides more energy.
Smooth kidney function-Moving from one position to the next massages the kidneys in a way that increases their supply of blood.
loosens muscles– Humans are notorious for lower back problems. By moving from a forward fold to a core strengthening pose (plank) allows the hamstrings to not only become more flexible but the core to strengthen, which is our #1 reason for back problems.
enhances skin and hair health– The forward fold allows blood to the brain and circulates to the scalp.
Good for your joints- all that circulation lubricates those joints, plus yoga doesn’t pound the pavement like a run does. This is an exercise that can be done forever.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety- The focus on the breath-movement connection allows for the yogi to be present and mindful during the practice. The deep, shallow breaths slow the heart rate and stressors.
If this flow is done quickly, it can provide a good cardiovascular workout.
If completed slowly, the postures can tone and relax the system.
Regular practice can provide the above benefits.
Sun Salutation can be done as a warm-up to the main postures of your practice.
This flow of ‘asanas’ or postures is very portable and can be completed anywhere you have space.
The week, I challenge you to roll out your mat (anywhere) and try to experiment with Sun Salutation A.
Take a few flows slowly
Take a few flows quickly
Focus and pay attention to how you feel.