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How to Do a Sun Salutation

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A Sun Salutation is a dynamic sequence of 12 yoga postures. Its main goal is to synchronize the movement of the body with the breath. It’s an easy enough practice that is fit for all levels of learners, even for beginners. It’s usually introduced at the beginning of a yoga class as a warm-up exercise.

5-Minute Crafts will show you how to do a sun salutation step-by-step. Keep in mind the importance of working both sides of the body to maintain balance.

1.

  1. Stand up straight and keep your feet together. If you find this hard to do, you can separate them hip-width apart.

  2. Balance your weight equally on both feet.

  3. Join the palms of your hands together in front of your chest.

  4. Try to connect with your breathing simply by feeling each inhalation and exhalation.

2.

  1. Breathe in and bring your arms up to the ceiling.

  2. Arch your back slightly backward while raising your arms.

  3. Keep your chest wide open. Your elbows should be completely stretched, and your shoulders should be relaxed.

  4. Softly tilt back your head.

3.

  1. Exhale while bringing your hands down to the floor and bending your back forward.

  2. Place your hands beside your feet.

  3. The palms of your hands should be completely flattened on the floor with your fingers spread.

  4. You may bend your knees to allow your hands to touch the ground, since they need to be pressed against it in preparation for the next posture.

4.

  1. Inhale and look up.

  2. Bring your left leg all the way to the back.

  3. Your right knee should form a 90° angle, and your hands should be touching the floor at both sides of your ankles.

  4. Place your left knee and the bridge of your left foot on the floor. Look up.

5.

  1. Exhale and take your other leg back. Lift the hips up to bring the body into an inverted ‘V’ pose.

  2. Bring your shoulders down and rotate your elbows inward.

  3. Try and keep your heels on the ground and firmly press down into your hands.

  4. Move your head so that you can look at your navel. Keep your back straight and feel yourself go deeper into the stretch. Breathe in and out 5 times.

6.

  1. Inhale and lower your hips until your legs and arms are fully stretched. Your shoulders should be aligned with your hands and feet, as if pushing back.

  2. Your back should be as straight as a board.

  3. Breathe out and bend your knees to bring them down to the floor.

  4. Lower the chest using the strength of your arms to help you. Lastly, rest your chin on the floor. Try and keep your elbows pressed against the sides of your body.

7.

  1. Breathe in and bring your hips and legs down into a Cobra Pose.

  2. Raise your chest up, helping yourself with your arms. Bend your elbows back.

  3. Bend backward, spreading your chest open, and tilt your head, so that you are looking upward. Your ribs should be anchored to the floor.

  4. Once this has been accomplished, press the bridge of your feet into the floor.

8.

  1. Breathe out and place the tips of your toes on the floor. Lift the hips up to bring the body into an inverted ‘V’ pose.

  2. Lower your shoulders and bring your elbows inward.

  3. Try and keep your heels on the ground, while at the same time pressing your hands firmly into the floor.

  4. Fix your gaze toward your navel. Keep your back straight and feel it go deeper into the stretch.

9.

  1. Inhale and bring your right foot forward between your hands.

  2. If you struggle when bringing your foot forward, use your hands to position it.

  3. Your knee should be at a 90° angle, and your hands should be pressed against the floor.

  4. The left knee goes down on the floor. Look up.

10.

  1. Breathe out and bring your other leg forward.

  2. Position both feet together and bring your head down facing your legs.

  3. Place your hands at the sides of your feet.

  4. You may bend your knees if necessary, so that your hands can reach the floor.

11.

  1. Inhale and lift your arms toward the ceiling.

  2. Bend your back slightly backward while raising your arms.

  3. Keep your chest wide open, your elbows stretched, and your shoulders relaxed.

  4. Softly tilt back your head.

12.

  1. Breathe out and join your palms in front of your chest, like you did in the first posture.

  2. Stand with your back straight and your feet together. If you find this hard to do, you can separate them to be hip-width apart.

  3. Balance your weight equally on both feet.

  4. Do the Sun salutation sequence again, but this time start by taking your right leg back in the fourth step.

Bonus: Benefits of yoga practice on our health

  • It provides overall physical well-being by helping relieve stress, deal with anxiety, and promote relaxation. Yoga keeps us focused on the present and enables us to stay connected with our body during practice, thus mitigating symptoms of anxiety.
  • Since it helps reduce inflammatory processes, especially those associated with specific illnesses, it also contributes to preventing these illnesses.
  • It improves cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of cardiovascular illnesses by keeping your blood pressure low. This practice will only be effective when combined with a healthy lifestyle.
  • It enhances flexibility and balance, even among the elderly, as some postures work specifically on these 2 abilities.
  • It improves your quality of sleep by stimulating the secretion of melatonin—the hormone in charge of your sleep cycle.
Preview photo credit DmitryRukhlenko / Depositphotos
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