By Paul Jerard
For exceptional benefits to the thyroid and parathyroid, it is arguable that other asanas would be more effective, especially if held longer. For example: The shoulder stand, (Sarvangasana), held for a longer duration, would be more beneficial for sending oxygenated blood to the thyroid and parathyroid.
However, the condition of a Yoga student’s neck should be a prime concern when performing the shoulder stand. Therefore, in this instance, the standing forward bend with a chin lock, performed in a Sun Salutation, is much less risky.
The Sun Salutations will help eliminate toxins from your body. By creating healthy circulation and speeding up the elimination systems, within your body, the Sun Salutations work like a tonic. All of this physical movement, that occurs while practicing the Sun Salutations, will thoroughly oxygenate your blood and open your breathing passages.
In turn, the body is more relaxed, flexible, and stress is reduced. Yoga students, who perform Sun Salutations on a regular basis, will sleep better at night and become much calmer.
Just remember to allow a few hours between the end of the Sun Salutations and the beginning of bedtime. This will allow your body and mind the time to wind down and relax. Also, this is just one more good reason to practice Sun Salutations during the morning hours.
Strength, muscle tone, and coordination are also benefits that Yoga students can expect to see and feel. During my experience while teaching Yoga classes, I have noticed that students, at any age, noticeably improved in strength, muscle tone, and overall coordination, when they regularly practice Sun Salutations.
Some of them even loss weight, but diet is also a large factor in this. Yet, some that did not lose weight did lower body fat. We know this because privately- trained Yoga students do have their body fat checked when they start. This is not a requirement, but it is an option. Some Yoga students must see and feel the physical benefits first, in order to “stick with the program.”
Mental health benefits of Surya Namaskar are many, but when anxiety and stress are lowered; the quality of life goes up. With this in mind, the odds of becoming depressed are drastically reduced. Some Yoga students practice Sun Salutations just to keep depression “at bay.”
With all of the above-mentioned benefits, Sun Salutations should be considered a very valuable part of Hatha Yoga practice. They can even be modified for Chair Yoga practice. Therefore, always consider Surya Namaskar to be an essential part of your class – especially, if you teach a form of Hatha Yoga. Always remember that Surya Namaskar is much more than a warm-up.
© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
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