Five Minute Yoga Flow
17th February 2020
I was lucky enough to enjoy some sunshine whilst staying at the amazing House for Essex. The bright colours, especially the yellow, made a perfect backdrop to the Sun Salutation flow which you can watch, and practice with me, right here.
Sun Salutation (or Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit) is a series of dynamic, flowing body movements, devised to stimulate the whole body. Sun salutations increase the heart rate and blood pressure improve functioning of the cardiovascular system. Freshly oxygenated blood is circulated throughout the whole body bringing nutrients and helping to remove waste products and toxins. It warms up the muscles, joints and other connective tissue. It increases production of synovial fluid within joints which in turn improves flexibility and reduces the risk of injury later in your practice. Sun Salutations also help focus the mind as you coordinate mind, body and breath.
Traditionally, Surya namaskar is practiced at the start of the day towards the rising sun. The Sun Salutation consists of 12 positions done in succession. When one round ends, another one begins in a perfect circle. In this way, Surya Namaskar represents the cycle of life and the seasons, the ebb and flow of the natural world.
At this time of year particularly, we might find ourselves suffering from a lack of natural light. Vitamin D has an essential role in bone health and is increasingly being shown to have a crucial role in many aspects of overall health and disease prevention. Our bodies need direct sun-exposure to make vitamin D. Seasonal affective Disorder is also linked to a lack of sunlight. The theory is that in some people, the hypothalamus stops functioning properly when the body is not exposed to sufficient sunlight. The hypothalamus plays a crucial role in regulating hormones and growth, sleep cycles, appetite and emotional responses. It may particularly affect the production of serotonin, a hormone responsible for regulating mood, low levels of serotonin are linked to depression.
Studies have shown that people have higher serotonin levels on bright sunny days than on cloudy ones. The sun definitely has the power to uplift our spirits, even just imagining the sun shining down on our bodies and warming us, brings about a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation.
So whenever you get a chance to practice Surya Namaskar in natural light, you’ll increase its benefits. But whatever the weather, there’s a good reason this flow is included in the majority of yoga classes- it just feels great! What’s more, it can be enough to make a miniature home practice all on its own. By just following this five minute video each morning, you’ll soon find that your range of movement, overall fitness as well as your energy levels and sense of wellbeing will improve significantly. It’s a brilliant way to start the day.