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Yoga students and private clients with stiffness
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August 7, 2005 - 10:12 am
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I have come to the conclusion that the back bend series is not possible for many students who have back stiffness but that the sun saluation is a great fill in and compromise series to get the students motivated and working on patterns to memorize and repeat for health benefits.

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January 1, 2008 - 8:44 pm
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Stiffness is a result of many things, but a proper warm up will help. As I learned from Paul, student age, time of day, fitness level, skeletal compression, and warm up time, are some of the reasons for stiffness. Some yoga students have a lot of muscle, which has never been stretched. As an example - the long distance runner who cannot touch beyond his knees.

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June 2, 2010 - 1:26 pm
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Namaskar Fellow Colleagues:

Moderate practice of Surya Namaskar is good for students who experience excess stiffness. Yoga has so many benefits and many surprise results. If your initial goal is to get more limber, reduce anxiety or turn your life around you'll also find that you'll receive additional gains. The Sun Salutation is called Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit.

It consists of twelve different asanas and is unlike holding postures, it has a nice effect on the heart because it is synchronized and repeated at a pace that stimulates the cardiovascular system. If you do the sequence slowly this will slightly occur, but if you repeat twelve to fifteen cycles without pausing then you will significantly increase the rate of your cardiovascular circulation.

What is unique about this sacred sequence is that it not only tones the muscles but there is a strengthening as well as stretching of muscles. It is also good for increased bone density. It incorporates some asanas such as the cobra and downward dog enabling one to stretch both forward and backward. Also, Surya Namaskar creates a state of mental focus. It's hard for one's mind to wander around, an engage in worry or other distractions because you need to focus on each posture.

You can use props, but traditionally props are not used and one only uses one's body to complete it. Many people practicing surya namaskar start their morning with this before work. Each school of yoga has it's own variations. For instance, the Sivananda's school of yoga approaches it differently than ashtanga flow yoga. In kundalini yoga it isn't often part of the kriyas though it is done at times. Certain schools have it as part of each yoga class.

The sequence is best learned in a class with a competent Yoga Guru. You may find it is a bit difficult to keep consulting a book as the body moves around through twelve asanas. It is recommended by traditional schools of yoga to warm up a little first in order to fully engage in the twelve poses. Beware of extending yourself too far initially so that you don't experience pain or push yourself too far.

Hari Om Tat Sat

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July 3, 2010 - 8:45 am
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Surya Namaskar for stiffness in the back? I think I would teach circular warm ups first. A student with a naturally stiff back is likely to hurt himself doing Surya Namaskar when the muscles are cold.

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