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Surya namaskar or sun salutation is a sequence of 12 powerful yoga asanas. It has a great, energizing impact on the body and the mind while also making for an amazing form of cardiovascular workout.
While there are several versions of it, the regime and poses remain the same throughout. However, for it to be effective, especially for weight loss, it is important that you do it with utmost perfection. It requires you to focus on your breathing and movements, staying aware of them throughout the course.
Here are five common mistakes that you should avoid to reap the benefits of this powerful asana if you’re trying yoga for weight loss:
1. Not following the breathing techniques properly
Focusing on the breathing is one of the key features of yoga. So, even during surya namaskar, your body movements and your breathing should be in sync. Of course, it will require you to be conscious of your breathing, something we generally aren’t but gradual practice will help you perfect that which will help yield the desired results.
2. Skipping the hasta uttanasana
Hasta uttanasana appears twice in a single round of surya namaskar. The purpose of this asana is to warm up and strengthen the spine. It gives a great stretch to the entire length of your spine, enabling you to breathe deeply and more fully.
By skipping the hasta uttanasana, you could be breaking the breathing and movement balance. Your spine doesn’t get the required strength and stretch, putting unnecessary strain on your neck and back.
3. Not doing chaturanga dandasana right
Also known as the four-limbed staff pose or low plank, this pose requires your body to be straight and parallel to the ground with the support of palms or toes.
What you could be doing wrong is placing pressure on your lower spine. When you do that, the lower body sinks toward the floor and gives you back pain. To avoid that, remember to engage your abdominal and upper body muscles.
4. Confusion between the cobra pose and the upward facing dog pose
The cobra pose and the upward facing dog pose (urdhva mukha svanasana) are pretty similar. You could be confusing them and be doing something that is totally different.
So, we say you get a good hold of doing the cobra pose before starting your surya namaskar practice.
5. Not moving forward while doing the ashwa sanchalanasana
A round of surya namaskar, right before it ends, has a transition from the downward facing dog pose to the equestrian pose. Do you end up extending your knees further than you should? That could be inflicting too much pressure on your knees, and also won’t allow your hip flexors to stretch.
How to fix it? Drop and bend your knees a little longer and then move your foot backward.
Remember, surya namaskar in particular and the practice of yoga in general requires your undivided attention for you need to perform it correctly. It requires your body and your mind to be aligned towards focusing on each and every breath and position. The one golden rule is to stay in the present moment, aware and focused.