Sun Salutation is known also as Surya Namaskara. The sun symbolises spiritual consciousness and was once worshipped daily. The group of asanas (poses) used in Sun Salutations where an addition to the original asanas. This is a wonderfully effective way of stretching and loosening all the joints and muscles in the body as well as enlivening and toning the internal organs. There are several variations of Sun Salutations…..here is one you can try at home using my instructions and images to help.
Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Inhale, sweep the arms up sideways
Exhale, hands down to Prayer position in middle of chest. Keep the lift throughout the upper body, legs and belly firm, shoulders moving down
Inhale, arms up, palms facing each other, feel spine stretching and lengthen tailbone down
Exhale, fold slowly into forward bend
Soften the knees if you need to
Arms are either straight, placed on the floor
or folded above your head
Inhale, step right foot back into Lunge exhaling knee softly to earth
Inhale, hands flat on floor and head up
Sink the pelvis and feel stretch in legs and buttocks
Hold breath, step left foot back into Plank
Hands directly under shoulders
Legs strong and ease belly up to the spine
Exhale knees softly down. Chest and chin to ground, buttocks up, keeping elbows close to the ribs and shoulders down the back
Inhale, slide upper body forwards between the hands into Cobra
Tuck the tailbone towards feet, strong legs, elbows slightly bent and held in to the sides of the body. Ribcage and heart centre moving forwards and opening
Exhale, release body to the ground, tucking toes under and flow up into Downward Dog.
Reach buttocks up, press thighs back
Activate hands and feet
Inhale right foot forward into Lunge
Exhale left knee down
Inhale, ease head up gently, hands flat on floor
Exhale bring right foot forward into forward bend
Knees still bent and soft if needed
Inhale and curl up gently into Mountain Pose, arms sweeping above head
Exhale and draw the hands down into Prayer at centre of chest
Repeat on the left side by taking left leg back into Lunge and this completes one full round
Build this practice slowly up to 6 or 9 rounds at a time. It warms you up and stretches you out!
For more information; Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, published by the Bihar School of Yoga is a great resource for all who would like clear guidance in the practices of hatha yoga.