You have probably heard about the Yoga Sun Salutation Sequence, but did you know it has been practiced for centuries ago!? Besides strengthening and stretching the muscles, there are many reasons why this traditional practice is so effective and still going very strong—being the connection of body-mind-spirit its primary benefit.
If you are here, it is because you are interested in learning how to practice the Sun Salutation Yoga Sequence, and I am here to show you how! In this article, I explain step by step how to follow this practice (and I made a PDF guide you can download and access anytime). Additionally, I’m sharing two videos. In the first one, I explain the sequence step by step, and in the second one, we practice this flow together until we complete five Sun Salutation flows. But before I share the step-by-step guide, let’s talk about what is the Sun Salutation and the benefits it can bring you.
What’s the Sun Salutation?
Named in Sanskrit as Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation consists of 12 powerful yoga poses with profound benefits for the mind and body. It works on muscle strength, mobility, and flexibility, while the flow helps to unify the body, mind, and spirit through movement and breath.
Benefits of practicing sun salutation regularly
The power of the Sun Salutation Sequence lies in the following:
– It provides a cardiovascular workout (good for the heart, lungs, and circulatory system).
– Stretch big body muscles (legs, thighs, abs, back, neck).
– It takes the spine through a complete range of motion.
– When used with the breath, it unifies the body and mind.
–It allows the practice of presence; and works as meditation through movement.
– Provides an opportunity to express gratitude for the sun that sustains life on Earth daily.
– Can be used as a warm-up routine or as an exercise.
How to do the Sun Salutation?
The most important thing here is to connect your breath with each pose. Please don’t worry about making the “ideal” pose, but try to be mindful of when you inhale and exhale. This way, start with an inhale while going up (arms, neck, and body) and exhaling while going down. Meaning focuses primarily on your breath. Remember, the main goal is to connect the body & mind through the breath. The pose’s alignment will come with time.
Learn the Sequence
Depending on your preferred style of yoga, you may be familiar with one of the many versions of this sequence. In my case, I will show you the Sun Salutation I learned back in the Hatha Yoga School I assisted in India while taking the Yoga Teacher Certification.
Each Sun Salutation round consists of 2 sets of 12 yoga poses. The first set starts on the right side of the body, and the second on the left side. You have completed the sequence when you finish both sets (right and left).
Steps to follow
The most important thing here is to connect the breathing with each pose (the inhale and the exhale). Please don’t worry in trying to make the “perfect” pose.
1. Pranamasana (Prayer pose)
Stand at the edge of your mat, keep your feet together and balance your weight equally on both the feet. Expand your chest and relax your shoulders. As you breathe in, lift both arms up from the sides, and as you exhale, bring your palms together in front of the chest in a prayer position.
2. Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms pose)
Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the arms straight. The effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers. To deepen the stretch, push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure that you are reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backward.
3. Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot pose)
Breathing out, bend forward from the waist, keeping the spine erect. As you exhale completely, bring the hands down to the floor beside the feet. You may bend the knees, if necessary, to bring the palms down to the floor. To deepen the stretch, straighten the knees.
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
Breathing in, push your right leg back as far as possible. Bring the right knee to the floor and look up opening your chest. The left foot is in between the palms.
5. Dandasana (Stick or Plank pose)
As you breathe in, take the left leg back and bring the whole body in a straight line.
6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight points to the ground)
As you exhale, bring your knees, chest and chin down to the floor. Take the hips slightly back.
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Slide forward and raise the chest up into the Cobra posture. Keep your shoulders away from the ears. Look up.
8. Parvatasana (Mountain pose)
Breathing out, lift the hips and the tail bone up, chest downwards in an ‘inverted V’ posture. If possible, try and keep the heels on the ground and make a gentle effort to lift the tailbone up, going deeper into the stretch.
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
Breathing in, bring the right foot forward in between the two hands, left knee down to the floor, press the hips down and lookup. In this position, make a gentle effort to push the hips down towards the floor, to deepen the stretch.
10. Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot pose)
Breathing out, bring the left foot forward. Keep the palms on the floor. You may bend the knees, if necessary and gently straighten the knees and if you can.
11. Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms pose)
Breathing in, roll the spine up, hands go up and bend backwards a little bit, pushing the hips slightly outward. The idea is to stretch up more rather than stretching backwards.
As you exhale, first straighten the body, then bring the arms down. Relax in this position, observe the sensations in your body.
Sun Salutation Yoga Sequence Video
Ok, now that you read it, I invite you to watch the video where I show all the Sun Salutation Sequence step by step 🙂
Sun Salutations are best done early morning on an empty stomach. non the less, you can practice it anytime you prefer. My recommendation is to practice it at least 5 round in coordination with your breathing.
Get your guide!
And now, please grab your mat and let’s practice together.
I hope you enjoy your sun salutation for beginners complete guide and works well for you, if you have any doubt just DM!
With love and gratitude,