“For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
Nothing could be more true of the yogic Sun Salutations… This quotation comes from a great long poem about criticism, written by Alexander Pope over 300 years ago in 1709. For me, Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) is a flow of postures that one learns towards an intermediate level of practice. It is something that needs preparation for and, certainly for beginners, the postures need significant modifications.
I’m sure there have been many a bad back and groin strain by biting off a bit more than one can chew when some attend yoga initially. Pushing the body into many repetitions of Sun Salutations before any proper strengthening of the back muscles or opening of the hips can be dangerous. But please don’t let that put you off!! Sun Salutations are something to work towards and are not a sign that yoga is not for you if you can’t do it immediately.
There are many reasons to persevere with Surya Namaskara. Just practicing 1 or 2 rounds per day can bring marvellous benefits, so it isn’t surprising that people are often ambitious to learn it a little too soon. Some of the benefits include:
- Increases the heart rate and improves circulation
- Massages the digestive system
- Develops and strengthens the respiratory system
- Improves flexibility of the spine
- Improves flexibility of the hips, shoulders, knees, wrists, ankles and toes
- Strengthens all the major muscle groups
- Stimulates the endocrine function
- Balances the nervous system
Back to Popes poem (or essay as it is properly called) –
” A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.”
It is wise to ‘drink deep’ and learn correctly the alignment of each asana (posture) before bringing them together in this vigorous flow. There are hazards – especially for the knees and ankles if you continuously position yourself incorrectly. You may be doing yourself more harm than good. But, if you are having a go, I am pleased. Again to quote Pope –
” To err is human, to forgive divine.”
(So many wonderful sayings in 1 poem – you can have a read of it here if you have time!!) Keep up your practice, keep observing yourself both with mirrors and the air of detached witness and you will come to recognise any deficiencies and develop your own Sun Salutation – appreciating the sun in the sky and at the same time allowing your own sunshine to develop from within.