Surya Namaskara (सूर्यनमस्कार), or Sun Salutation, is a warm up routine based on a sequence of linked asanas. The name refers to the symbolism of Sun as the soul and the source of all life. Sūrya Namaskāra refers to a number styles of ”Sun Salutations” and a yogi may develop a personalized yoga warm up routine as surya-namaskar to precede his or her asana practice. 12 Surya Namaskaras are traditionally practised per cycle.
According to the Sivananda tradition one round of Sun Salutation consists of two sequences, the first leading with the right foot in positons 5 and 10, the second leading with the left. Keep your hands in one place from positons 4 to 11 and co-ordinate your movements with your breathing.
Start by practicing four rounds and gradually build up to twelve rounds.
- Stand erect with feet together, make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Inhale.
- Hands in the prayer position in front of your chest. Exhale.
- Inhaling, stretch your arms up and arch back from the waist, pushing the hips out, legs straight. Relax your neck.
- Exhaling, fold forward, and press your palms down, fingertips in line with toes – bend your knees if necessary.
- Inhaling, bring the left (or right) leg back and place the knee on the floor. Arch back and look up, lifting your chin.
- Retaining the breath, bring the other leg back and support your weight on hands and toes.
- Exhaling, lower your knees, then your chest and then your forehead, keeping your hips up and your toes curled under.
- Inhaling, lower your hips, point your toes and bend back. Keep legs together and shoulders down. Look up and back.
- Exhaling, curl your toes under, raise your hips and pivot into an inverted ”V”shape. Try to push your heels and head down and keep your shoulders back.
- Inhaling, step forward and place the left (or right) foot between your hands. Rest the other knee on the floor and look up.
- Exhaling, bring the other leg forward and bend down from the waist, keeping your palms as in position 4.
- Inhaling, streach your arms forward, then up and back over your head and bend back slowly from the waist, as in position 3.
- Exhaling, gently come back to an upright position and bring your arms down by your sides.