Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations
It's most beneficial to do your sun salutations in the morning, as they will help keep you revitalized throughout the day. Your first step to serenity is to connect with your deeper self... connect your body, breath and mind.
Their are many variations of Sun Salutations. Each Yoga tradition or branch will typically have at least one variation of the sequence. Traditionally there should be 12 postures on each side aligning with the 12 astrological signs. It is important to sync your breath with each movement. Good Yogic breath as described below. It is advisable to stretch or warm up before you dive deep into Sun Salutations or just start very slow and and pick up your pace as you warm up. Never push through pain or extreme discomfort. Let your breath be even and controlled throughout the practice.
1) Start in Tadasana / Mountain posture
Stand tall and reach through the crown of the head, roll the shoulders back and shoulder blades down with arms at your sides and palms facing forward. Feet are rooted and at hip width distance, toes point forward , arches are active, and pull up on the kneecaps activating the thighs with always a slight micro bend in your knees. Take a few breaths getting your inhales and exhales to match up in duration breathing in and out through the nose. Fill your whole torso up with the inhale so your belly, lower back, and sides all fill up evenly. This is how all your inhales should be for the entire sequence. When you exhale imagine you're getting all the breath out but don't force it. Gently draw the belly in at the bottom of the exhale. As an option you can pause for a moment at the end of each inhale and exhale.
2) Inhale into Urdhva Hastasana / Upward facing hands posture
Sweep your hands up and bring the palms together as you look at them and take a comfortable back bend. Keeping the shoulder blades down and reach out of your pelvis keeping the low back long.
3) Exhale into Uttanasana / Full forward fold
Swan dive down with a flat back
4) Inhale Ardha Uttanasana / Half fold
Come up 1/2 way to a nice flat back with a natural spine resting your hands just below your knees. Don't lock the knees out. Always keep at least a slight micro bend in your knees throughout your practice. Never lock the knees out.
5) Exhale Ashwa Sanchalanasana / Equestrian posture
Stepping the right leg back into a low lunge with the back knee on the ground and up on the back toes. Hands frame the front foot on your mat and are under the shoulders. Take one full cycle of breath here.
6) Inhale to Phlankasana / Plank posture
Straighten the right leg and when you step back with the left leg try to keep the left foot from touching your mat.
7) Exhale to Ashtanga Namaskar / 8 point prone posture
You lower down to knees, chest, and your chin and your buttocks face the sky. You hug your elbows in as you lower and maybe stick your butt back a little towards the heels. Think like a caterpillar moving along a branch.
8) Inhale to Bhujangasana / Cobra posture
So stay low as you come forward out of your " caterpillar " and lift your heart through your arms as you press into your hands reaching through the crown of the head keeping the neck long and shoulder blades down your back. Look up and drop your head back as you reach a peak.
8A) Exhale back down to your mat, tuck your toes, leave the knees down and push back to your heels.
8B) Or as you advance you can go straight into Down dog using your core muscles to flip over the toes as your sitting bones reach for the sky.
9) Exhale to Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog posture
Sitting bones reach up, heals reach for the mat, knees have a slight micro bend, hands are planted firmly, fingers spread wide, thumb out only 2/3 with index finger pointing forward. Rooting all the knuckles down gently pull up on the palm for a Hasta Bhanda or Hand lock. This will help keep your wrists safe and really anytime you put weight on your hands in yoga this set up is desirable.
9A) Look forward, pick up your heels and lightly jump to the top of your mat on your exhale
10) Inhale Ardha Uttanasana / Half fold
11) Exhale Uttanansana / Full fold
Put a comfortable bend in your legs, root your feet, find a natural curve in your spine and keeping the back straight reverse the swan dive on the inhale up to # 12
12 ) Urdhva Hastasana / Upward facing hands posture and release to Tadasana / Mountain posture on an exhale to start on the other side.
Do all the same postures stepping the left leg back on step # 5 and when done that is one complete set of Surya Namaskar.
When you have done your sets. Rest in Savasana by lying on your back, eyes closed, arms to sides and palms face up. Feet are a little wider then your hips. Make sure your shoulder blades are flat on your back. Let everything go and allow the earth to support you. Breathing is back to normal. Stay as long as you like.
Continue your journey to serenity and we'll help guide you the rest of the way with Yoga, Meditation and Plant-Based nutrition.