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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Start your day with a round or more of sun salutation. This wonderful practice has many benefits, such as keeping you centred and grounded. As well as helping you find inner peace, it enhances focus and improves muscle tone, strength and flexibility. You can do as many rounds of sun salutation as you feel comfortable; you will always benefit even from a single round.
Don’t worry if this is new to you, as we will walk you through how to do a round of sun salutation. This can be practised by beginners and even the more experienced yogis – it’s for everyone!
To begin with, you will need:
Remember to breathe; keep inhaling and exhaling steadily throughout the sequence. Ensure you don’t hold your breath at any point.
Begin at the top of your mat with your feet hip-width apart. Stand up straight with a soft bend in your knees, look forward and bring your shoulders up and back to lengthen the spine. Place your hands together in a prayer position in front of your chest. You are now in pranamasana, also known as mountain pose namaste; this will be your beginning and ending pose of this sequence. Inhale and exhale; on your next inhale…
Raise your arms over your head. Look up, push your hips forward and slightly arch your back. If you struggle with back pain, do not attempt to arch your back; stay in mountain pose with your arms raised. Hold this pose for a few breaths.
Next, in one slow and steady movement, bring your arms down and lean forward into forward fold. Keep a small bend in your knees, and try to touch the floor with your hands. Your spine should be aligned through your back and neck, allowing your head to relax. If you feel tightness in the back of your legs, it can be helpful to modify your posture. You can do this by resting your hands on yoga blocks, on the shins, or by bending the knees more.
Now, place your hands on the floor on either side of your feet (again, you can use yoga blocks or similar here if you can’t reach the floor) and step your left foot back, placing the left knee on the floor. Keep your right leg forward at a 90-degree angle. Do not allow your right knee to bend over your toes, keep the calf nice and straight. You are now in a low lunge. You can either stay in this position for a few breaths or raise your arms above your head and look up while slightly bending your back.
Bring your hands back to the floor on either side of your right foot. Then step your right leg back, lift the left knee and come into plank position. Keep your arms nice and straight; remember, don’t stick your bottom up. If you find this challenging, you can do a half plank.
From here, slowly bend your elbows, keeping them tight to the side of your body. With your back straight, lower yourself into a lying position on the floor. For the more advanced yogi, you can move through chaturanga dandasana instead. Keeping your hands on the floor, lift your chest, look forward and come into cobra. You can choose whether to do low cobra, keeping your forearms on the floor and raising your chest slightly or high cobra, lengthening your arms (still keeping a slight bend in the elbows) and lifting your chest up, looking forward or up towards the sky. As for your feet and legs, ensure they are flat to the floor, and the tops of your feet are touching the floor, not turned outward.
Next, tuck your toes under, lift your bottom up to the sky and tuck your head under into downward dog. If you are feeling tight in the backs of your legs, you can bend your knees alternatively to help loosen you up.
Now step your left foot forward into a 90-degree angle and lower your right knee to the floor. You are now in a low lunge again but with the opposite leg to earlier. Again, you can either keep your hands at the side or raise them and take a slight back bend.
Next, place your hands on the floor and step your right foot forward to align with the left foot. Allow your head to relax and once again take a forward fold.
Slowly bring yourself back up to standing one vertebra at a time, and adjust your feet if needs be. Bring your hands over your head and take a slight back bend again, looking up to the sky.
Before finally lowering your arms and placing your hands in a prayer position in front of your chest, you are now in pranamasana / mountain pose namaste.
What’s next is entirely up to you, you can finish your practice after the one round of sun salutation, or you can continue to repeat the sequence as many times as you like. Many people see sun salutations as a meditative experience, it is easy to see why with its flowing moves and steady breathing. So now you know what a simple sun salutation entails, try adding it to your daily rituals to bring peace to your day.
For more information on the benefits of yoga, click here or for more information on meditation, click here. If you want to increase the energy flow in the room while you practice yoga, add a golden triangle to the area. Finally, don’t forget to tag us in your photos at @surrender_to_happiness. We love to see how all our readers are getting on.