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12 steps to Sun Salutation

by Michaela Žáková
Sun salutation

Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) is a sequence of 12 asanas. It has a positive impact on body, soul and mind. Best performed in the morning on an empty stomach, but generally you can practice this sequence any time throughout the day. There are two rounds of Sun Salutation – left and right side – each round composed of 12 poses. With practicing this sequence we express gratitude to the Sun for raising every day, giving us new opportunities and hopes. Let us bring this warm energy into our lives. We will now show you how it’s done step-by-step with certified yoga instructor Erika Ochodnicka.

1. Prayer pose (Pranamasana)

Stand at the top of your mat with your big toes together, correct your posture, slowly close your eyes and place your palms together in front of your chest. Relax and breathe normally.

2. Raised arms pose (Hasta Uttanasana)

Inhaling, separate the hands, raise and stretch both arms above the head, keeping them shoulder width apart. Lift up the chest, look up, arms and upper body slightly backward, core strong.

3. Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)

Exhaling, bend forward from the hips until the fingers or palms of your hands touch the floor on either side of your feet. You can keep the knees slightly bended, your head near them.

4. Equestrian pose (Ashwa Sanchalanasana)

Keep your hands on the floor beside the feet. Inhaling, stretch the left leg back. At the same time bend the right knee. Left heel flat, lift your arms up, your head facing up, pressing your chest forward.

5. Plank pose (Phalakasana)

Return your hands to the floor, tuck your toes on the left leg and exhaling, put the right foot back beside the left foot. Keep your limbs straight, your core tight, body in one line.

6. Salute with eight parts or points (Ashtanga Namaskara)

Keep your hands and feet in place. Hold your breath, lower your knees, chest and chin to the floor, feet up on the toes.

7. Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)

Keep the hands and feet in place. Inhaling, slide the chest forward and raise first the head, the shoulders, then elevating the elbows arch the back into the cobra pose. Heels flat, hips on the floor, tilt your head back, gazing up. Your elbows remain slightly bent.

8. Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)

The hands and feet do not move, push your toes into the floor and exhaling, use your core strength to lift your buttocks up and lower the heels on the floor. Here you can slightly bend your knees, but importantly, keep your spine straight.

9. Equestrian pose (Ashwa Sanchalanasana)

Palms are flat on the floor. Inhaling, bend the right leg and bring the right foot between your hands. Simultaneously, lower your left knee so that it touches the floor, heel flat and push your pelvis forward. Lift your arms up, pushing your chest forward, facing up.

Sun salutation

10. Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)

Exhaling, put your arms down, bring the left foot forward next to the right foot. Try to bring your forehead as close to the knees as possible, hips up, knees straight or slightly bended.

11. Raised arms pose (Hasta Uttanasana)

Keep the arms and spine in one line. Inhaling, raise your torso and stretch your arms above your head. Arms are shoulder-width apart, bending your head, arms and backwards slightly, looking up.

12. Prayer pose (Pranamasana)

Exhaling, join your palms together and bring them in front of your chest. Harmonize with your body and feel the foundation from Mother Earth, feeling connected.

Now repeat the sequence on the other side 🙂

Benefits of Sun Salutation:

  • strengthens the back and helps balance the metabolism
  • stimulates and balances all the systems of the body, including reproductive, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems
  • influences endocrine glands, helps to balance the transition period between childhood and adolescence in growing children

Synchronizing your breath with the physical movements of Sun Salutation ensures that you, at least for a few minutes daily, breath as deeply and rhythmically as possible, increasing mental clarity by bringing fresh, oxygenated blood to your brain.

Try practicing this sequence as a part of your morning routine, to bring positive flow to your day. You will feel more energized and your limbs will get a nice stretch instead of heading to work all stiff. Use all these benefits to benefit yourself in the first place, you will feel the difference in no time!

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