Surya Namaskar is one of the oldest and most commonly practised Yoga Asana. Since ancient times, it has been practised by rishis and yogis to keep themselves fit and healthy, physically and mentally. Along with exercise, it is a way to pay respect or express gratitude to Lord Sun, believed by ancient texts to enable all forms of life on our planet. Surya Namaskar is a core yoga that builds stamina, develops flexibility, and improves the overall strength of the body. The twelve Surya Namaskar poses, if performed efficiently, can provide the benefits of both Asanas and Pranayama. Many people think that Surya Namaskar asanas are easy and don’t pay much attention to them individually. But it is important to perform it with proper precision to derive its maximum benefits. This blog delves into the five most common mistakes that seniors make while performing Surya Namaskar.
Mistake 1: Synchronization of breath and movements going awry
Some seniors do 108 rounds of Surya Namaskar in one go and lose the synch of breath and movements, which is not good. The synchronization between the breath and movements is very significant, else seniors cannot yield optimum benefits of this practice.
How to do Surya Namaskar correctly?
Firstly, beginners should never do Surya Namaskar at a fast pace, as the essence of the whole yogic practice is lost if rushed. Secondly, focus on breathing while going through the movements is imperative. In general, each pose of Surya Namaskar should be done with accuracy and mindfulness.
Mistake 2: Not lifting spine in the half lift
While performing ArdhaUttanasana (standing half-forward bend), seniors skim and barely lift their spine. They give little attention to this transitional pose, leading to skimping on breath and straining the neck. Besides neck strain, they miss out on the benefits of Surya Namaskar, such as strengthening and decompressing the spine. Often, seniors skip this pose or practice it in the wrong manner.
How to rectify this mistake?
While practicing it, seniors must properly lift the front of the chest and stretch the entire spine while placing the palms on the shinbone. Remember not to push yourself too much otherwise the muscles may get strained.
Mistakes 3: Not doing ArdhaChaturanga right
In ArdhaChaturanga (plank pose), the body needs to be kept straight and parallel to the floor with the support of toes and palms. While performing it, some seniors put the wrong pressure on their lower spine, which results in back pain.
How to do this Surya Namaskar step correctly?
To avoid it resulting back pain, abdominal and upper body muscles should be appropriately engaged.
Mistakes 4: Mixing up cobra and upward-facing dog
The upward-facing dog and cobra pose look very similar. Some seniors mix up Bhujangasana and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana and do some in-between pose. Due to the lack of fitness, they cannot master the intermediate stance or advanced variations of upward-facing dog.
How to do this Surya Namaskar pose in the right manner?
To avoid this mistake, seniors must get a good hold of the cobra pose before beginning with Surya Namaskar. Individual understanding of each pose, helps build a strong foundation to do Surya Namaskar correctly.
Mistake 5: Doing low lunge in a wrong manner
While transiting from Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog) to Anjaneyasan (low lunge), seniors struggle to bring their foot forward all the way between their hands. Often, seniors end up in a pose where knees are hyperextended, which is wrong. Doing so only puts excess pressure on knees and harms them over time.
How to do it correctly?
It is much better to lower your knee down before you lift. This way, you get all the benefits without any adverse effects.
Some Surya Namaskar poses may be slightly challenging for seniors. It’s important to remember not to feel frustrated if you’re having difficulty performing specific sequences of asanas during this practice, as it takes time to master these postures. Correctly doing Surya Namaskar requires a lot of effort and focus on every single thing, such as breathing and body posture, for instance. One golden rule to perform Surya Namaskar correctly is to stay in the present moment and remain mindful by focusing on the body’s movements throughout this process.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Doing Surya Namaskar poses incorrectly could give rise to several health problems, it may strain your muscles, give you back pain and lead to neck injuries.
Ideally, Surya Namaskar should be performed facing the sun, during the early hours of the day.
Surya Namaskar is way better than just walking or jogging because it employs all the major joints in the body. It helps improve the functioning of the lungs, heart, endocrine glands, etc. On the other hand, walking engages the lower part of the body and does not impact the nervous system.
Not really. Surya Namaskar will not help you gain muscles, but it will make your body flexible throughout and strengthen your muscles to help them withstand much more potentially strenuous postures. Yoga will help reshape your body, especially your tummy area, by getting rid of fat accumulated there and promoting good muscle tone through improved circulation.