What is Sun Salutation and How To Practise It

Use Sun Salutation to progress throughout your yoga journey, perfect for beginner and seasoned yogis.

The sun salutation is a sequence of gracefully linked Asanas (poses).

Also known as ‘Surya Namaskara’ this ritual metaphysically awakens our inner sun, radiating a deeper connection to the mind and body, helping to maintain an inner calmness whilst also improving strength and agility.

This practice is often self motivated and can provide a string of benefits for both health and mental wellbeing when infused with meditation and pranayamic breathing. 

Easy Steps to Practise Sun Salutation:

1. Tadasana or Mountain Pose

Begin at the front of your mat in Mountain Pose or Tadasana. 
Inhale take a deep breath and Exhale as you bring your hands palms together at your heart. 

Tip: This is a great place to set an intention for your practise or think of something you are grateful for.

2. Urdhva Hastasana or Raised Arm Pose

Inhale as you bring your arms up and above your head into raised arms pose.
Lift your gaze to your thumbs and slide your shoulders away from your ears.

Tip: You can step back to help with balance or maintain a straight posture through this pose.

3. Uttanasana or Forward Fold

Exhale as you bend into forward fold.
Placing your fingertips in line with your toes and flattening your palms if possible. Alternatively, tent your fingers.
Place your hands on blocks if they don’t reach the floor when your legs are straight.  

Tip: You can also bend the knees in this pose if that makes you more comfortable. 

4. Adho Mukha Svasana or Downward Facing Dog

Lift your head, placing your hand on your shins or come up onto your finger tips to flatten your back.
Inhale as you step back into downward facing dog, keeping your back straight and inline with your shoulders.

Tip: You can also bend the knees slowly in a peddling motion to warm up your hamstrings.

5. Anjesayana or Low Lunge

Exhale as you step forward into low lunge, lowering your knee to the floor with the top of your foot connected to the mat,
Inhale, bringing your torso upright. You should feel this stretch in your groin.

6. Phalakasana or Plank Pose

Exhale stepping back into Plank Pose.
Maintain a straight back with palms flat to the floor and directly beneath the shoulders.

7. Urdhva Mukha Svasana  or Upward Facing Dog

Inhale, lowering your body. Bend your elbows and push through into upward facing dog.
The tops of your feet should be connected to the mat and your torso stretching up and back.

To complete the Sun Salutation work back through the poses:

Exhale, bringing yourself into Plank
Inhale, stepping forward into Low Lunge with the opposite leg.
Exhale, stretching up into Downward Dog.
Inhale, stepping into Forward Fold.
Exhale, opening your arms up into raised arms pose.
To Finish, Inhale as you bring your hands palms together towards your heart.

To use this practise as a warm up you can move through the poses at a rapid pace.
Repeat the practise five or six times to start with and build up to twelve or more. Alternatively you can set a timer for a three minute flow and gradually increase to ten minutes.
This sequence is also great for use as a wind down, moving deliberately through the poses and maintaining focus on slower breathing transforms the Sun Salutation into a more meditative practise.