The Sun Salutation is a 12-part warm-up exercise. It limbers up the body and mind in preparation for the ensuing yoga session. Each of the 12 positions brings a different vertebral movement to the spinal column and is tuned to the inhalation or exhalation of the breath, thereby instilling a feeling of balance and harmony. The positions follow on from one another, making this Salutation graceful to perform. Attempt to do at least six sequences at the start of every session.
Stand up straight with you feet together and your arms by your sides. Take a deep breath, and then exhale while bringing your palms together at chest level.
Inhale and stretch your arms up over your head. Arch your back, so your hips come forwards, and stretch as far as is comfortable.
Exhale as you stretch forwards and bend down into the third Sun Salutation position. Bring your hands down to the floor, and place them next to your feet, with the palms downwards. Your hips should be kept as high as possible. If necessary, bend your knees so you can touch the ground. Tuck your forehead in towards your knees.
Inhale as you stretch your right leg back as far as possible and bend your right knee, lowering it to the floor. Stretch your head and look upwards. Your hands should stay in the same position throughout the movement.
PUSH UP POSE
Retain the breath. Bring your left foot back, next to your right foot. Keep your spine straight and do not let your head or hips drop.
LOWER CHEST TO THE FLOOR
Exhale, Lower your knees to the floor and your chest straight down between your hands, without rocking your body. Bring your forehead to the floor (a beginner may need to lower the chin instead).
ARCH YOUR CHEST
Inhale as you slide your body forwards and bring your hips down to the floor. Arch your chest towards and tilt your head back. Slightly bend your elbows into your body.
Exhale, tucking your toes under, and raising your hips to come into the inverted “V”. Do not move your hands or feet as you come into position.
Inhale as you bring your right foot forwards and place it between your hands, dropping your left knee to the floor. Raise your head and look up to the ceiling.
FOREHEAD TO KNEES
Exhale as you bring your left foot forwards and place it next to your right foot, so that the tips of your fingers and toes form a straight line. Raise your hips and stretch them upwards, keeping your hands in the same position. If you cannot straighten your legs fully, allow your knees to remain slightly bent, but keep your hips up throughout. Bring your head down as far as possible and tuck it in as close to your knees as you can manage.
Inhale and then stand up, stretching your arms over your head as you straighten your body. Stretch your arms back, arch your chest and hips, and keep your feet together.
RETURN TO START
Exhale and straighten up, lowering your arms to your sides. Now take a deep breath and prepare to begin another Sun Salutation sequence.