Classic Sun Salutation

The classical series is used in most hatha yoga traditions with the exception of Ashtanga or power yoga. Sun salutations are practiced 2-6 times in a row and are traditionally practiced at sun rise. Level: Beginner.

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Contraindication: Recent or chronic injury to the back, knees, hips or unmedicated high blood pressure.

1. Start in Mountain with the palms together.

mountain tadasana

A. Place the feet together or 2-3 inches apart, parallel, and facing forward.

B. The palms are lightly pressed together with the shoulders back and down, and the chest presses in towards the thumbs.

C. The crown of the head lifts up, and the chin is parallel to the floor.

2. Inhale and sweep the arms up

mountain tadasana

A. Stay in Mountain alignment.

B. Look up at the thumbs.

C. Lift out of the waist, reaching up towards the sky.

3. Exhale into Forward Fold.

forward fold

A. Press the palms flat to the floor; if necessary, bend the knees slightly. If you have the flexibility, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.

B. Reach the forehead in towards the legs.

4. Inhale and step the right foot back into High Lunge.

Low Warrior / ardha virabhadrasana I

A. Make sure the left knee is directly over the ankle and the toes and knees are pointing forward.

B. Shoulders are back and down, the chest presses forward, crown lifts up, and the back leg is straight.

5. Step the left foot back into Plank.

A. The body is one straight line and in a push-up position.

B. Press the heels back, and reach the crown of the head forward.

6. Exhale down into Caterpillar.

Eight-Limbed Pose

A. Bend the knees to the floor, and bend the elbows to lower the chin and chest to the floor.

B. Reach the hips up towards the sky, arching the back.

7. Inhale into Upward Facing Dog.

Upward Facing Dog Pose • urdhva mukha svanasana

A. Scoop the chest forward, straighten the arms, and roll onto the tops of the feet.

B. Reach the crown of the head up, press the chest forward, and lift the hips and legs off of the floor. Bend the elbows slightly if it feels like you are straining the low back.

8. Exhale into Downward Facing Dog.

A. Tuck the toes under, bend the elbows, and lift the hips up and back.

B. Press firmly into the hands and arms to press the hips back. Let the head hang from the neck. Press the heels into the floor. The legs are straight or can be slightly bent to flatten the back.

9. Inhale and step right forward into High Lunge.

Low Warrior / ardha virabhadrasana I

A. Step the right foot forward between the two hands. Adjust the leg so that the knee is directly over the ankle and the toes and knee are pointing forward.

B. Keep the back leg straight as you sink the hips down. The crown lifts up, and the chest and gaze are forward.

10. Exhale into Forward Fold.

forward fold

A. Press the palms flat to the floor; if necessary bend the knees slightly. If you have the flexibility, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.

B. Reach the forehead in towards the legs.

11. Inhale and sweep the arms up

mountain tadasana

A. Stay in Mountain alignment.

B. Look up at the thumbs.

C. Lift out of the waist, reaching up towards the sky.

12. Exhale and bring the palms together in Mountain.

mountain tadasana

A. Place the feet together or 2-3 inches apart, parallel, and facing forward.

B. The palms are lightly pressed together with the shoulders back and down, and the chest presses in towards the thumbs.

C. The crown of the head lifts up, and the chin is parallel to the floor.

 

Comments 9

  1. thanks for this. i love it as a preface to performing a sequence (the beginners sequence for now). again the audio was very helpful! cheers.

  2. Hi Love your site, but I have been taught that you should come down through chaturanga when coming up into upward dog ?

  3. hazel44 – Yes, that is Ashtanga yoga version, and that is shown in another sequence: Sun Salutation A. This sequence is more common in other traditions.

  4. Hi!
    Very helpful site, I visit it on a regular basi(c)s : )

    I’m interested in whats going on with a breath in Plan positionk? Inhale is in a preceded lunge, and Plank is with kumbhaka or just lil retention or…
    tnx in advanced

  5. Hi Zvonka,

    Thanks for your comment! The plank is really more of a transition into caterpillar so you aren’t holding here for long. You can think of it as the stillness between the inhale and the exhale but traditionally in yoga as you are moving upward, you are inhaling and as you are moving downward, you are exhaling.

  6. I love these yoga stretches, they are really calming, while they stretch your mustles..My phys.ed teacher teaches us yoga and palaties some of the time, we learned this in gym the other day : )

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