The Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) is generally the first basic sequence of asanas that you learn. It’s pretty simple to execute and perfect to do at home as a warm up or cardio exercise. It also opens much of the longer series because it’s quite complete and soft but also powerful at the same time. It’s a routine that is usually used in most yoga studios in Bangkok. It introduces the lesson and is used as a warm up.
The symbolism of this Sun Salutation refers to the sun as the soul of all life. Usually 12 asanas are used in the basic sun salutations but some yogi adapt it to their practice and change a bit the different yoga techniques.
Personally, I love to practice this technique as it flows very easily. I don’t have to think while making it and can easily meditate at the same time. As the techniques are quite easy, I don’t have to put much effort in it. I focus on my breathe and free my mind.
It’s also called sun salutation because it’s better to practice this with an empty stomach. That’s where you’ll have the most benefits.
Yoga techniques of the Sun Salutation
1- Pranamasana or prayer pose
Health Benefit : heart
Join your hands between your shoulders, feet together and take a deep breath, and exhale.
2- Hasta Uttanasana or raised hands pose
Health Benefit : throat
As you breath in, extend your arms up and bend backwards.
3- Uttanasana or standing forward bending pose
Health Benefit : sacrum
As you exhale, bend forward with the spine erect, and let your arms follow, fingers touch your feet (or the ground)
4- Aekpaadprasarnaasana or equestrian pose
Health benefit : third eye
From the Uttanasana position, set your hands on the ground and push your right leg, power on the left knee looking up.
5- Adho Mukha Shvanasana or downward facing dog
Health benefit : throat
Push the left leg behind and position your feet flat. Push on your hips to create a mountain, shoulders relaxed. Focus on the hips.
6- Ashtanga Namaskara or salute with eight limbs
Health benefit : solar plexus
Down your knees, chest and chin on the floor, keep your butt up.
7- Bhujangasana or cobra pose
Health benefit : sacrum
Push forward and lift up your chin. You butt will go down and your chest will go up.
8- Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward facing dog
Just gently move your butt up to get back to the position.
9- Ashwa Sanchalanasana or equestrian pose
Same as number 4 but opposite leg
10- Uttanasana or standing forward bending pose
Back to uttanasana
11- Hasta Uttanasana or raised hands pose
12- Pranamasana or prayer pose
This sun salutation is a very good routine that you can easily practice home once you have experienced it with a yoga teacher. It has a lot of virtues and will help on the breathing as well. A very good introduction to yoga (and I can tell, this is the very first routine I experienced).