Sun Salutation Yoga Sequence

The Salute to the Sun sequence is reputed to stabilize the mind and bring contentment. Symbolically, the act of prostration is a devotional one, representing the surrender of the self to the universal spirit or higher consciousness, which is said to be within—as well as outside of—ourselves.

The movements are best performed while repeating a specific mantra to help focus the mind. The sun salutation is an excellent warm-up routine, which limbers the spine, creates internal heat in the body, and prepares it for the rest of the sequence. The full sequence should be done five times.

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 sun salutation 1

Mountain Pose/Prayer Position - Tadasana

Stand straight with your feet and knees together, tucking your chin in and elongating your spine. Bring your palms together at the center of your chest, and focus your attention on your breathing. This is an effective pose, which helps to center the mind and body.

 

sun salutation 2

Hands Above the Head - Urdhva Hastasana

Inhale: Raise your hands outward, drawing a large circle in the air until your palms are touching again, over your head, in the Prayer Position (step 1). Lean your head back and look up toward your thumbs.

 

sun salutation 3

Forward Bend - Uttanasana

Exhale: Releasing your breath slowly, bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight. Bring your hands down to the floor on either side of your feet. Place your head between your knees.

BEGINNERS: If it is not possible to touch the floor with your legs straight, then you can bend your knees. Once in this position, try to extend your legs by lifting your buttocks and straightening your legs through the backs of your knees.

 

sun salutation 4

Head Up - Uttasana

Inhale: As you slowly inhale, lift your head up, keeping your hands flat on the floor. Look up toward your “third eye” in the middle of your forehead. Straightening your arms, make your lower back concave and extend toward your tailbone.

BEGINNERS: Come up onto your fingertips.

 

sun salutation 5

Four-Limbed Stick - Caturanga Dandasana

Exhale: Using the strength of your hands, jump back into a press-up position or straight line, with just your toes and the palms of your hands touching the floor. Your elbows should be tucked in close to your sides, holding your body parallel to the floor. Your feet should be hip-width apart.

 

sun salutation 6

Upward Dog - Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Inhale: Roll over your toes onto the tops of your feet. Bring your chest forward and up through your arms, rolling your shoulders over and back. Arch your back and look up. Try to keep your upper legs raised off the floor.

BEGINNERS: You may find it difficult to keep the legs raised, but this will come with practice.

 

sun salutation 8

Downward Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

Exhale: Pushing into the palms of your hands, roll back over your toes onto the soles of your feet. Take your heels down toward the floor and pull your hips up into the air. Keep your hands in line with each other and your feet parallel. Your arms should be straight, with the inner elbows facing each other. Tuck your chin down, look toward your navel, and take either five or eight long breaths.

 

sun salutation 9

Forward Bend/Head Up - Uttasana

Inhale: Jump into a Forward Bend (step 3) with the head up (step 4).

BEGINNERS: You can step the feet forward between the hands one at a time.

 

Forward Bend - Uttanasana

Exhale: Take the head down toward the knees.

 

Hands Above the Head - Urdhva Hastasana

Inhale: Stand tall, then bring your hands together in the Prayer Position (step 1) over your head.

 

Mountain Pose/Prayer Position - Tadasana

Exhale: Draw your hands down in a straight line to the center of your chest. Perform the whole sequence five times.

 

For more yoga sequences, check out Dynamic Yoga by Juliet Pegrum.

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