Summer Yoga - Salute To the Sun

Sun Salutations, or Surya Namaskar is a wonderful Summer yoga practice to do each day. It is also one to do when you are on holiday (just imagine yourself taking your mat down to the beach early in the morning and doing it as the sun is rising!) Most people like to start the day off with this flowing routine but it can be done at any time to give you strength, vitality and flexibility. 

Here are the different stages and postures and the breathing that goes with each. When you start however, focus on getting familiar with the postures and the flow before you try to incorporate the breathing into it, this will come more naturally with practice. 

So here we go.....

1. Begin by standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and really feel that you are balanced well and feeling strong in the pose.

Mountain

2. Now breathe in and stretch your arms up and above your head and reach back as far as it feels comfortable to you (Urdhva Hastasana). This is the greeting of the sun. 

 

3. Next, as you exhale, allow your arms to fall forward in a forward bend, keeping your back straight (Uttanasana) and looking down. As you breathe in look up to the sky (or ceiling) from this position and stretch into your back a little more. 

 Inhale and look up from the forward bend 

Inhale and look up from the forward bend 

4. As you exhale step (or jump back)  into Plank and then the go down to Lower Plank pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)  keeping your elbows in by your sides. This is quite advanced so if it feels too hard then simply go to Plank and then move to the next pose, Upward Facing Dog.

 Gradually build your upper body strength to get into this pose fully

Gradually build your upper body strength to get into this pose fully

5. Inhale and lift your chest up into Upward Facing Dog pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), draw your shoulders back, lift your breast bone and collarbones up as you lift the pubic bone up as well into a full stretch of the font of the body. Your thighs can lift up off the floor or stay down but ensure that your back is fully extended and stretched upwards.

 

6. Exhale and roll back into your downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Rest here for up to five breaths.

7. On your next breath in, from your Downward Facing Dog , bring your right leg forward into a lunge (Anjaneyasana) 

 Look up for a deeper stretch if you neck feels comfortable to do so

Look up for a deeper stretch if you neck feels comfortable to do so

8. Now spring back or walk back into your Downward Facing Dog on your breath out.

9 Take a deep breath in and then spring into a lunge with your left leg forward.

 Breathe out and rest here

Breathe out and rest here

11. Come back to the Doward Facing Dog as you breathe out and rest here for about 3-5 breaths

12. Take a breath in and then walk or spring back to the Forward Bend position with your head hanging down and breathe out. Then take a breath in, look up and come all the way up reaching back into the sun salutation stretch again!

13. Then take a deep breath in, look up and come all the way up reaching back into the sun salutation stretch again!

14. On you final breath out, return to Mountain Pose, your starting position with your hands in prayer position.

 

Well done, You've done it! Notice how you feel. 

Rest here for a few breaths and if you're ready to do a few more rounds then off you go again and enjoy! 

The Sun Salutation can be done as many times as you like depending on your level of fitness and how much time you have. If you do it in the evening you are likely to be more stretched and more supple so it's nice to take your time with it and spend longer in each pose. You can do sets of 3 or 5 or even 10 if you are feeling up to it. It invigorates and energises you!