Understanding the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, exercise is key to a relaxing and rejuvenating yoga practice. The 12 poses included in the sequence are thought to stretch and strengthen your entire body, and provide an effective form of physical and mental exercise.
The Mountain Pose is the first posture in the Surya Namaskar sequence. It is simple and effective way to center your body and focus your mind. Stand with your feet together, and channel a feeling of strength by keeping your head and chest held high and your arms by your side. Take a few deep breaths to prepare for the next pose.
Raised Arms Pose
From the Mountain Pose, you will transition into the Raised Arms Pose. Take a deep inhale and as you exhale, reach both arms up above your head in a V-shape. Your elbows should be slightly bent, and your shoulder blades should be pressed down and together. Push your hips forward and bring your shoulder blades back, while keeping your back leg straight and your front knee bent. Hold this pose for two or three breaths.
Standing Forward Bend Pose
The Standing Forward Bend Pose is the third pose in the sequence. Begin in the Raised Arms Pose and slowly lower your arms as you bend forward, reaching for the ground. Let your back arch naturally and, if possible, allow your palms to meet the ground. Hold the pose for two or three breaths before slowly coming up with an inhalation.
The fourth pose in the Surya Namaskar sequence is the Plank Pose. This requires you to find balance by planting both feet firmly on the ground and stretching your arms out to the sides. Bend your elbows and lower your body down until you are in a full plank position. Hold the pose for two or three breaths, then move on to the next pose.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose
From Plank, transition into the Four-Limbed Staff Pose, or Chaturanga Dandasana. Bend your elbows and lower your body, keeping your elbows alongside your body. Your feet should remain off the ground and your chin moved towards your chest. Hold the position for two or three breaths before transitioning back into a full Plank position.
The sixth pose in the Surya Namaskar sequence is the Cobra Pose. From Plank, lower your body down to the ground. Place your palms on either side of your