Surya Namaskara (SOOR-yuh nah-muh-SKAR-uh)
Complete this series of poses when first waking up or mid afternoon when you need a pick me up. Best when done on an empty stomach and towards the Sun.
Standing at Attention Samasthiti
On an exhale, draw your hands to heart center. Press your chest into your thumbs. Squeeze your glutes to draw your tailbone down.
Mountain Pose Tadasana
Inhale, take your hands up overhead. Press down into all 4 corners of your feet, lift out of your knee caps and draw your navel toward your spine. Relax your ears away from your ears, and lengthen through the crown of your head.
Forward Fold Uttanasana
Exhale, hing from your hips, take your hands through heart center. Draw your hands down to the mat. Bring your head forehead towards your shins.
Halfway Lift Ardha Uttanasana
Inhale, place your palms on your shins or thighs. Rock your weight into your toes to stack your hips over your ankles. Pinch your shoulder blades together to open through your chest. Gaze down at your mat and draw the crown of your head toward the front of the room.
High to Low Plank Chaturanga Dandasana
Break this down into 3 "steps"
Exhale, plant your hands, step your feet back. Draw your navel toward your spine. Rotate your elbow points inward to hollow out your armpits. Inhale, shift forward about 2 inches and press into your toes. Exhale, lower half way down. Keep your elbows in tight by your side bodies.
Upward-Facing Dog Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Inhale, flip your toes. Press your chest through your arms. Relax your shoulders away from your ears. You should have 4 points of contact on the mat; your hands, and your feet. Your thighs and shins should be lifted off of the mat.
Downward-Facing Dog Adho Mukha Svanasana
Exhale, flip your toes. Press your hips up and back. Press into the L-shapes of your hands and melt your heels toward the mat. Press your chest toward your thighs to send your tailbone high.
Put It All Together
Repeat these poses in a flow for a few rounds to warm up and energize your body. 12 rounds is usually what you find with a Google search but you can customize to you! For a beginner, maybe try 2-5 rounds and add more over as you build your practice. Maybe work your way to 108 Sun Salutations! Follow along with my video here!
You may have noticed the breath attached to each pose above. Remember to inhale when opening up and to exhale when folding or "closing". Take inhales and exhales through your nose to further warm your body from the inside out. And remember if you get too warm, take open mouth exhales.
Sun Salutations are super common in many types of yoga. Practicing these at home can help beginners feel more comfortable when heading into a yoga studio for the first time. Even the experienced yogi can benefit from practicing at home. Focusing on proper alignment can help you become stronger in your practice and help you nail that Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand) you've been working on.