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A beginner's guide to Sun Salutation




A Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) consists of a sequence of 12 asanas (postures) that flow together smoothly. The practice is designed to honor and connect with the energy of the sun, which is considered a symbol of life and consciousness.


These are the 12 Surya Namaskar poses for a radiant mind, body, and spirit:

#

Pose Name

Description

1

Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

Stand at the top of your yoga mat with your feet together, and your palms together in front of your chest

2

Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

Inhale and raise your arms up overhead, keeping your palms together

3

Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose)

Exhale and bend forward from your hips, keeping your spine straight. Place your hands on the floor beside your feet (or as far downwards as you can reach)

4

Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

Inhale and step your right foot back, lowering your right knee to the floor. Keep your left foot between your hands, with your knee directly above your ankle

5

Dandasana

(Stick Pose)

Exhale and step your left foot back, bringing your body into a plank position. Keep your arms straight and your body in a straight line

6

Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight-Limbed Salutation)

Lower your knees, chest, and chin to the floor, keeping your elbows close to your sides

7

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Inhale and lift your chest off the floor, keeping your arms bent and your elbows close to your sides

8

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

Exhale and lift your hips up and back, coming into an inverted V-shape

9

Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

Inhale and step your right foot forward, lowering your left knee to the floor. Keep your right foot between your hands, with your knee directly above your ankle

10

Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose)

Exhale and step your left foot forward to meet your right foot, keeping your hands on the floor beside your feet

11

Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

Inhale and raise your arms up overhead, keeping your palms together

12

Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

Exhale slowly and bring your palms together in front of your chest


3 Basic yoga poses to help you get started with Surya Namaskar


If you're having difficulty with the Surya Namaskar, here are some individual yoga poses that you can practice to prepare your body for Surya Namaskars.

#

Pose Name

Description

1

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, and arms at your sides. Engage your core muscles, lift your kneecaps, and lengthen your spine. This pose can help improve your posture and balance, which are important for Surya Namaskar.

2

Uttanasana (Forward Bend)

From Tadasana, exhale and fold forward from your hips, keeping your spine straight. Let your hands hang down towards the floor or grasp your ankles. Bend your knees if needed to avoid strain on your lower back. This pose can help stretch your hamstrings and prepare you for the forward folds in Surya Namaskar.

3

Phalakasana (Plank Pose)

Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Then, step your feet back one at a time until your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core muscles, and press down through your hands to lift your shoulders away from your ears. This pose can help build arm and core strength, which are important for the upper body movements in Surya Namaskar.


The Do’s and Don'ts of Practicing Surya Namaskar


To get the most out of of your Surya Namaskar practice, here are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind:



Remember to listen to your body, and modify the poses as needed to suit your own level of strength and flexibility. With consistent practice, these poses get easier to do and help you build the foundation you need to eventually practice Surya Namaskar.

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