Sun Salutation For Beginners

Photo By:  Studio Magnolia

Photo By:  Studio Magnolia

Sun Salutations are considered to be an important foundation for any yoga practice. They are most commonly used to build heat within the body at the beginning of the practice. However, with proper modifications, sun salutations could serve as your main morning or evening routine.  Depending on the modifications, let’s just say after a couple of Sun Sals you'll be sweating -guaranteed. 

Allow me to walk you through (both visually and verbally)  a basic Sun Salutation,  first without any modifications. 

- Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

  • Stand with feet hip distance apart, micro bend in the knees, tailbone released down to the floor.
  • Shoulders down and back, creating distance between the shoulders and ears.
  • Keep length in the back of the neck by tucking chin in slightly.
  • Palms open.
  • Option to close the eyes

- Take a deep inhale & raise both arms overhead to Urdhva Tadasana: 

  • Shoulders relaxed, option for palms to meet overhead.
  • Option for a slight back-bend by turning gaze up towards the hands

- Exhale and bring hands to heart center.

- Inhale and raise both arms overhead to Urdhva Tadasana (refer above)

- Exhale, forward fold to Uttanasana.

  • Deep bend in knees, relax neck.
  • Allow head to hang.
  • Option to sway from side to side painting the floor with the fingertips

- Inhale to flat back, Ardha Uttanasana.

  • Deep bend in the knees, tailbone tilted to the sky, option to place hands on shins or fingertips on floor, keep length in the back of the neck

- Exhale to Uttanasana.

- Inhale and step or hop back to plank, Phalakasana.

  • Hips in line with ankles and shoulders (not sinking too low and not raised too high).
  • Hands firmly grounded with fingers spread wide,
  • Inner elbows facing each other, micro bend in the elbows.
  • Create distance between shoulders and ears.
  • Slight tuck of the chin keeping length in the back of the neck.
  • Core engaged.
  • Heels reaching backward

- Exhale to Chaturanga Dandasana: 

  • Shift body weight forward so that shoulders are ahead of wrists.
  • Elbows stay tucked into the sides of the body.
  • Lower down, keeping hips in line, and stopping once biceps are parallel with floor

- Inhale, roll onto tops of feet.  Heart reaches forward to Cobra or Upward Dog, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana.

  • Elbows stay tucked in at sides.
  • Shoulders away from the ears, heart reaches up.
  • Slight tuck to chin keeping length in the back of the neck, option to lift thighs slightly off the mat (Upward Dog), hips sink creating a gentle back bend.

- Exhale and roll back over toes on the balls of feet.  Lift hips to Downward Dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana.

  • Deep bend in the knees (optional), heels reaching down.
  • Tailbone reaching towards the sky.
  • Fingers spread wide with middle-finger centered.
  • Micro bend in the elbows, shoulders drawn away from ears, with ears in line with biceps.c
  • Core engaged.

- Inhale and gently step both feet forward to meet the hands at top of the mat.

- Exhale, forward fold.

- Inhale flat back.

- Exhale, forward fold. 

- Inhale, reverse swan dive up. 

- Exhale, arms down to the sides for Mountain Pose or Anjali Mudra. (hands to heart center)

Not too shabby, am I right?

Kylie Gravlee
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