The Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar), is a yoga sequence that helps to warm up the body and improve flexibility. It's also a lovely way to start the day to move your body, let energy flow and let go of the ego.
Here's how to perform the Sun Salutation (see graphic below also):
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana):
Stand at the front of your mat with your feet together or hip-width apart.
Bring your palms together at your chest in a prayer position.
Stand tall, engage your core, and relax your shoulders.
2. Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana):
Inhale, raise your arms overhead, keeping your palms together.
Arch your back slightly and gaze up.
3. Forward Fold (Uttanasana):
Exhale, bend forward from your hips, keeping your back straight.
Reach for your toes or the floor. If you can't touch your toes, bend your knees slightly.
4. Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana):
Inhale, lift your upper body halfway, lengthening your spine.
Keep your hands on your shins or thighs, and look forward.
5. Plank Pose (Phalakasana):
Exhale, step or jump back into a high plank position.
Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core.
6. Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose):
Lower your body down by bending your elbows while keeping them close to your ribs.
Your body should be parallel to the ground.
7. Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana):
Inhale, lift your chest and roll over your toes.
Your thighs and the tops of your feet should be off the ground.
Keep your arms straight and your shoulders down and back.
8. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana):
Exhale, lift your hips up and back, forming an inverted V shape.
Press your palms into the mat, keep your heels pressing down and lengthen your spine.
9. Forward Fold (Uttanasana):
Inhale, step or jump your feet between your hands, coming back to a forward fold.
10. Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana):
Exhale, rise back up to an upward salute.
11. Mountain Pose (Tadasana):
Inhale, return to the standing position with palms together at your chest.
Repeat the sequence, starting with the opposite leg when stepping back in step 5 and 9. Continue for as many rounds as desired but twelve is a great number!
This will help you to feel a sense of balance, calm and focus. It's important to move slowly and mindfully, especially if you're new to yoga or Sun Salutations. Modify as needed based on your flexibility and fitness level, and don't push yourself into poses that cause discomfort or pain. If you have any medical conditions or concerns, consult a healthcare provider before starting a new yoga practice.