How To Do : A Sun Salutation

If you're wanting to bring some yoga practice into your life then this is the routine to start with.  I use it as my warm up but this is a great introduction into yoga. You can repeat it as many times as you want.
I've produced a step by step guide to help you get started!

Sun Salutation / Surya Namaskar

1. Mountain Pose.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, arms down by your sides and stood upright, looking ahead. Take a few slow, deep breaths in this position.

2. Mountain Pose with Arms Up
Inhale as you bring your arms above your head, look towards your hands and add a lean back. Only go as far as you can without feeling pressure on your lower back.

3. Standing Forward Bend
Exhale and bring your arms to the side, bending forwards from the hips, bring your hands to the floor in front of you.
If you're a beginner, remember if you can't reach the floor, that is perfectly fine, go as far as you can.
I've taken my pose further and find this arm variation works for me.

4. Lunge
From the last pose, inhale. Put your arms down to the mat and take a step back with your right leg. Once balanced hold your arms in the air and stay there for 5 deep breaths. Keeping your focus on your breath.

5. Plank 
From the lunge, place your hands on the mat beside your left foot and step the foot back. Hold your breath while you hold your plank for a few seconds. 
Beginners - Put you hands on the mat in front of you, shoulder width apart and put your knees on the mat.
Intermediate - Put your forearms on the mat (or have straight arms) and straighten your legs. On your toes, push your heels away from you, keeping your back straight.
Advanced - From a straight armed plank hug the arms into your sides, holding your body parallel to the ground. This is a variation of a plank called a four limbed staff pose. 

6. Cobra 
Inhale. Place your hands beneath your shoulders, you can start off by bending your arm, pressing your palms into the mat and lifting your chest up. If you want to advance this you can use straight arms and push your chest up and roll your shoulders back down. If you feel a nipping in the lower back, you're going too far.

7. Downward Facing Dog
From cobra, lift your body up, pushing back and exhaling into downward dog. Make sure you don't lock out your arms by keeping a slight bend in the elbow. Push your chest towards your thighs and your heels into the mat. Stay in this pose for 5 breaths.

8. Lunge
From downward facing dog, take your right leg forward. Hold your arms in the air. Stay in this pose for 5 breaths. 

9. Standing Forward Bend
Leaving your lunge, exhale, bringing your arms down to the mat whilst stepping your left leg forward to meet your other foot. Bend forward again, with your hands on the ground or any variation that help you to bring your chest closer to your thighs. 

10. Mountain Pose with Arms Up
Inhale, coming back up to standing, adding your lean back. 

You can end it here or simply go back to the beginning and do it again!

You could do this in the morning to wake you up and get you ready for the day or at the end of the day, to wind down from the day you've just had. Do it if you want an easy stretch or you want to relax and tune into your body. Whenever you do a sun salutation I hope you enjoy it and get a sense of peace from it. 
I hope this guide was simple enough to follow. Any questions just fire them my way. 

Just remember never force yourself into a pose, only go as far as your body is telling you it can go. 


Lucy Steel

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