There are many variations of Sun Salutation ~ here is one popular version to help you get started at home. This wonderful gift of yoga, if practiced regularly, can work wonders for every part of the body – from head to toe! Yes, Sun Salutation (also known as Surya Namaskar) is a set of 12 yoga postures that helps improve overall health and well being and isn’t that what we are all here for?
Sun Salutations are traditionally practiced in the morning to greet the new day, a wonderful way to begin. The sequence of 12 postures can be a complete practice in itself, or they can prepare you for a longer yoga workout or fitness routine. Sun Salutes are often performed in sets of 5, but if you are new to the practice it’s wise to begin with 2 or 3. Each time you flow through this sequence, focus your breath with the movements of your body and you will get the most benefit, feel energized and work your deep abdominal muscles at the same time, bonus!
To begin, stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Distribute your weight evenly over both feet. Begin with a slow, steady rhythm of breathing and find your center.
Next, inhale and reach your arms out to the side and then overhead into Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute). Extend your heart and arms to the heavens, sending your greeting to the sun, a beautiful way to begin the day.
As you exhale, pull in your belly and fold gently into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), connecting down into the earth. Keep your legs firmly engaged stretching through your entire posterior.
Inhale and lengthen your spine forward into Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend). At this time, the gaze is lifted, the spine is extended, and the fingertips can stay on the floor or rise to the shins, adjust your position as needed for your body, fitness & flexibility level.
Exhale and step your feet back behind you into Plank Pose. Your palms should be flat on the floor, shoulder-distance apart, and your feet should be at hip distance. Take a full breath in as you lengthen through your spine and hold your entire body steady.
Exhale and lower down into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), keeping your legs straight and pushing back into your heels or bringing your knees to the floor. Build heat in the center of your body as you hold this challenging posture.
Inhale and lift your chest forward into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog), directing that energy out from your heart. Pull your shoulders back and open your collarbones, engage your legs and relax your gluteal muscles.
Exhale and roll over the toes, into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog). Press down through hands and feet as you lengthen your spine. Remain for five breaths keeping focus on lengthening your spine.
On the fifth exhale, bend knees and look between your hands. Then inhale and step feet to between your hands, to Ardha Uttanasana.
Exhale back to Uttanasana, gently bending into the fold, with your arms on your lower legs gently pull down as you lengthen through the posterior.
Inhale, reaching your arms out wide to your sides and coming to stand through a flat back. Feel your energy as you draw your arms overhead into Urdhva Hastasana.
Exhale and return to Tadasana, home base. Remain here for a few breaths, allowing the movement of energy through your body, or move on to your next salute.