Sunday, September 09, 2007

What is a Sun Salute?

Some of you were asking me about sun salutes after I mentioned that I was participating in the Yoga Aid Challenge (where I am doing 108 sun salutes in a row). Simply, a Sun Salutation (or Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit) is a sequence of around 8 postures, which are traditionally performed in the morning to greet the new day.

The sequence can be a complete practice in itself, or can prepare you for a longer asana routine (I will often start my classes with a handful of sun salutes to warm the body up in a hatha practice). Each time you move through the sequence you'll find a flow with the breath, making it a strong and beautiful practice.

You can find a fantastic explanation at Yoga Journal describing this practice, but here is an abridged version below, of the practice that I teach in my classes.
Surya Namaskar - Sun Salute Sequence
Start in Tadasana, Mountain Pose.
Inhale - arms up high
Exhale - swan dive forward from the waist, flat palms to floor
Inhale - come up to finger tips and pull shoulders back away from the ears
Exhale - flat palms, jump or step back to plank pose with strong, straight arms, flow down through chattarunga
Inhale - push up on the arms and come to upward facing dog, or bujangasana (baby cobra)
Exhale - push back to plank position and downward facing dog, hold for some breaths
Inhale - lift the gaze and lightly step or jump the hands through to the feet
Exhale - fold forward with forehead leaning towards shins
Inhale - lift arms up to the sky to greet the sun again
Exhale - back to tadasana
There are many variations on this pose, but this is the basic salute.
What a wonderful way to start the day, no?

stella x

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