learn to do sun salutation

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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


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.

  1. Uttanasana to Flat Back

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

really flat.

  1. Plank Pose


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

Chaturanga Dandasana

If you are a beginner:

Exhale. Lower to your knees, chest, and chin. Keep your butt high and your elbows hugging

your ribs.


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

over time.

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

if necessary.


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

Flat Back

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



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