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Practice of Sun Salutations and its Applications for Health and Wellness

History
Sun Salutations is an integral part of practical training session on Yoga poses, essentially it is great foundation for the practice of series of the asana practices of different families such as forward, backward bending poses. History and importance of solar tradition reveals that the practice of the sun salutation is well known discipline for the health and wellness. Sun worship has been practiced by many of the early civilizations such as that of the Egypt, Indo Americans in order to be blessed with the good life and light. It has been part of the ritual since from the Vedic period in India. People used to worship the sun for the health and harvesting as the sun is the major source of the energy in abundance. Konark Sun temple is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site built around 13th century is a monumental representation of the sun deity and its significance.
Practice
Surya Namaskar is comprehensive practice of Yoga Teacher Training in India. It is a practice bestowed by the enlightened sages of the ancient India for the expansion of the consciousness through the energy system of the spiritual practice. The technique is combination of the yoga poses, pranayama and mantra chanting. The collective experience of the sun salutations practice is the establishment of the harmony in the life through the balance of bio rhythms of each individual practitioner. The sequential practice of twelve yoga poses with the proper synchronization of the movements with the inhalation and exhalation brings the form and energy with beautiful rhythm for the health and happiness in the life. Sun is represented as the Pingala nadi or the right nostril responsible for the activities of the sympathetic nervous system.

Sun salutations are best practiced early in the morning during the sun rise, which is the most energetic and wonderful time of the day. Some practitioners also practice them during sun set also. The practice of joint loosening practices will be of great help for the preparation to Sun Salutations. Most of the Yoga Schools in the world begin their morning asana practice with this wonderful recharging experience with an expression of the gratitude to the divine nature of the Sun.

Sun Salutation
Mantras of Sun Salutations
Along with the postures and rhythmic breathing patterns the technique also includes the chanting of the mantras which is a unique feature of the sun salutations. Each of these mantras reveals the great qualities of the sun such as the friend, energy giver, brilliant and lord of the dawn etc. The sound vibrations of these chanting are very helpful to recharge the mind and body quickly. It is important to maintain the awareness and relaxation while in the practice. Following are the twelve mantras of sun Salutations.
 
1. Mitraya Namah
 
2. Ravaye Namah
 
3. Suryaya Namah
 
4. Bhanave Namah
 
5. Khagaya Namah
 
6. Pushne Namah
 
7. Hiranyagarbhaya Namah
 
8. Marichaye Namah
 
9. Adityaya Namah
 
10. Savitre Namah
 
11. Arkaya Namah
 
12. Bhaskaraya Namah
Sun Salutation is one of the practices of strong purification. In order to make the smooth progress and development of Sun salutations practice it is required to maintain a discipline in the lifestyle and food habits. It is also necessary to keep the regularity. For general health, normally a practice of 12 rounds is good enough. However one can reach even 108 rounds for the higher intensity and to realize some specific goals. Sun salutations are practiced prior to the practice of the Yoga Poses.

There are no particular limitations to Sun salutations practice as such in case of general health conditions, but it is always, necessary to take precautions in case of limitations and contraindications for the safe practice. Some of the limitations for the practice include,
 
1. Pregnancy
 
2. Chronic Back injuries like slip disc, sciatica
 
3. Hernia
 
4. Hypertension
 
5. Cardiovascular diseases
Benefits
There are wonderful applications of Sun salutations for the health and wellness. The important benefits of are broadly experienced as psycho physiological effects and therapeutic applications. The regular practice brings the physical, mental and emotional health to the practitioners. It will play the role of panacea for various health issues of the modern life. The effects are found in the whole body. The movements in the practice are helpful in the following ways.
Strength and Flexibility:
The poses bring the good health for the muscles and joints improving the skills, composure and strength for better neuro muscular co ordination.
Healthy Digestion:
The effects of contraction, massaging and relaxation during the stretch on the abdominal region improve the functional capacity of the organs of the abdominal cavity for healthy digestion.
Purification:
Elimination of waste materials from the body is enhanced due to the stimulated activity of the peristalsis as well as the profuse sweating which normally removes the metabolic wastes from the body. The impact of the massage of the kidneys, lungs and sweating on the skin influences the process of strong purification.
Nourishment of the Body:
The improved blood circulation and healthy digestion are helpful to bring the best possible absorption and assimilation of the nutrients to the body in order to maintain the proper nourishment using the sun salutations.
Immunity:
The practice speeds up the movement of lymphatic fluid by enhancing the activity of the spleen. This will be helpful to relive the excess toxins from the body during the effective blood circulation while the microbial parasites are eliminated by means of macro phagocytes. This is great advantage to keep the body free from any possible infection with increased immunity for the resistance of the diseases.
Harmony in the Hormonal Secretions:
The rhythms of the movements in sequence, the breathing patterns and the vibrations of the mantra chanting are known to play an important role in the establishment of homeostasis conditions. This will bring the fine tuning of the endocrinal harmony for the proper secretions of the hormone to maintain healthy working of the different systems including the metabolism.
Balance
The alternative movements of each round of the practice brings the effect of the balance in many ways including the channelization of the pranic energy of Ida and Pingala and the corresponding changes on the parasympathetic and sympathetic activities of the nervous system . This is beneficial for the sense of balance in the body and calmness of the mind.
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