LEARN TO DO SUN SALUTATION SEQUENCE
Sun salutations are a key part of any vinyasa flow style yoga practice. You may not even
realize you are doing them, but many teachers use them as a warm-up at the beginning oF
class or even base whole classes around them. If you learn this sequence, it will really
help you out if you ever want to practice at home, since one of the biggest obstacles to
doing yoga on your own is figuring out what to do when you first get on your mat. Sun
salutations are the obvious answer.
The breath is a very important part of this sequence. Movement from one pose to the next
is always done in conjunction with either an inhalation or exhalation of the breath. You
can control the pace of the sequence by altering the number of breaths in each pose, just
make sure to always move to the next pose on the correct breath.
1.Begin in Mountain Pose
Tadasana and Urdhva Hastasana
To begin, bring yourself to the front edge of your mat in mountain pose (tadasana) with
the hands in anjali mudra at your heart. This is traditionally where you might stop and
set an intention for your practice if you choose to.
Inhale. Bring the arms out to the sides and up to the ceiling to join your palms above
your head in raised arms pose (urdhva hastasana). Lift your gaze to your thumbs and slide
your shoulders away from your ears.
- Uttanasana to Flat Back
Exhale. Release your arms to either side and forward bend over your legs (as if you were
doing a swan dive into a swimming pool) to come into a forward bend (uttanasana).
Alternatively, you can keep your palm together and pass them in front of your heart as
you fold forward.
Place your fingertips in line with your toes. Flatten your palms if possible or tent your
fingers. Place your hands on blocks if they don’t reach the floor when your legs are
straight. You can also bend the knees a little if that makes you more comfortable.
Inhale. Lift your head as you come to a flat back (ardha uttanasana), coming onto your
fingertips or placing your hands on your shins, whichever allows you to get your back
- Plank Pose
Exhale. Plant your palms and step or jump back to a plank position. In plank, make sure
your shoulders are over your wrists and your butt is neither sticking up nor drooping
down. A straight line from the crown of your head to your heels is what you are going
for. Take an inhale here.
As an alternative for more experienced yoga students, you can plant the palms in
uttanasana, jump back directly to chaturanga dandasana on an exhalation, and go through
your vinyasa from there.
4.Knees, Chest, and Chin or Chaturanga Dandasana
If you are a beginner:
Exhale. Lower to your knees, chest, and chin. Keep your butt high and your elbows hugging
If you are more advanced:
Exhale. Shift your shoulders forward a few inches and lower down to four-limbed staff
pose (chaturanga dandasana). Bringing the shoulders slightly in front of the wrists
before lowering helps you get the alignment right in the final pose. If you are getting
tired, lower to your knees since doing chaturanga incorrectly can injure your shoulders
5.Cobra or Upward Facing Dog
Cobra or Upward Facing Dog
If you did knees, chest, and chin in the previous step:
Inhale. Come forward to a low cobra. Anchor your pelvis and the tops of your feet to the
floor but try not to press into your hands as you come up into the backbend.
If you did chaturanga in the previous step:
Inhale. Roll over your toes (if possible) to come into an upward facing dog. Bend your
elbows out to the sides at first in order to bring your shoulders down and away from your
ears. Then straighten your arms. Make sure your legs are straight and your knees are
lifted off the floor.
6.Downward Facing Dog
Exhale. Push back to downward facing dog. You can come through hands and knees on the way
Stay here a few breaths (or more) if you need to take a break. If you are going for a
brisk pace, just stay one breath.
7.Step or Jump to a Forward Bend
Exhale. Step the right foot next to the right hand and then bring the left foot to join
it in standing forward bend (uttansana). You may also choose to jump forward instead. To
do this, bend the knees on an exhalation and jump your feet to meet your hands. Try to
land with your toes in line with your fingertips.
Inhale up to a flat back and then exhale back to uttanasana.
8.Finish the Sun Salutation
Mountain Pose – Tadasana
Inhale. Lift your arms out to the sides and up, reversing the swan dive to return to
raised arms pose.
Exhale. Come to stand in mountain pose with your hands in a prayer position at the heart