Following are some of the common blunders beginners make while attempting Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation):
1. Not performing the breathing techniques properly
During yoga, you must synchronize your body moves with your breathing. This is true in the case of Sun Salutation also. Sacrificing your breathing techniques for movement does not yield the desired result. Practice slowly but correctly.
2. Skipping the Hasta Uttanasana
Skipping the Hasta Uttanasana breaks the cyclic balance of breathing and movement. It also takes away the opportunity to strengthen and decompress your spine. Furthermore, your neck also experiences unnecessary strain.
3. Dropping the lower spine during Chaturanga Dandasana
While performing the Four–Limbed Staff Pose, beginners often place pressure on their lower spine. As a result of this, the lower body sinks toward the floor and people end up developing back pains.
The solution to this problem is simple. If you are making the same mistake yourself, first press your legs and palms into the ground. After that, engage your abdominal and upper body muscles. This will ensure that your spinal cord stays erect.
4. Confusion between the Cobra Pose and the Upward Facing Dog Pose
Many times practitioners confuse the Cobra Pose and the Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana). The result of this confusion is that they end up performing neither poses; instead, it becomes something completely different.
To avoid getting confused, it is recommended that you first master the Cobra Pose. Once that is done, and you’ve completed your Surya Namaskar routine, you can move on and practice the advanced dog yoga poses separately.
5. Not moving forward while doing the Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Toward the end of Sun Salutation, the transition from the Downward Facing Dog Pose to the Equestrian Pose can be quite tricky, especially while trying to move your foot between your hands.
Beginners often end up in a weird posture during which their knees are extended way further than they should. As a result, too much pressure is placed on the knees, and your hip flexors are not properly stretched. To avoid this mistake, you should drop and bend your knees a little longer and then try moving your foot backward.
6. Not warming up properly
Instead of performing light warm-up exercises, many beginners tend to jump right into their Surya Namaskar routine. This can lead to muscle injuries, especially if your body is not flexible.
Apart from warming up, cooling down is also equally crucial after a workout, including yoga. So before practicing Sun Salutation, start with some light stretches and joint rotation. After completing the sequence, end it with some relaxing stretches.
7. Regularly increasing the number of sets
For starters, it is recommended to perform four sets of Surya Namaskar daily and then slowly increase the number of rounds. This will give you enough time to understand the movements involved in all the yoga poses correctly. If required, you may also adjust the asanas as per your needs so that they are more beneficial.
8. Uncomplete cycle
In Sun Salutation, after performing all poses, you have to go back to Pranamasana position. This marks the completion of one cycle. After that, you enter into the new cycle. However, many starters end up skipping this pose, which creates an incomplete circle.
9. Incorrect Alignments
In Surya Namaskar, every pose requires your undivided attention and must be performed correctly. Alignment errors can hurt your joints, cause muscles strains, and intensify back pains. So, while practicing, be aware, and stay in the present.
10. Performing all 12 sets in a single go
Surya Namaskar should be done slowly. However, some students try to complete all 12 rounds at the same time. The fear that they might end up losing their momentum does not allow them to stop.
You should avoid this. It is better to take breaks and progress at your own pace. While creating momentum might make it easier to perform the sets, however, it is not a requirement for this yoga routine.