Already you can feel it… the air is warmer, the colours are brighter and there is that scent of, yes, anticipation in the air. Summer is on its way and it’s time to put the preparation in place and solidify a practice to keep us grounded and healthy throughout the heat of the summer.
The Sun Salutation (surya namaskar) is aptly named – literally translated, it means ‘honouring the sun’. It’s a dynamic sequence that can be done at your own pace, always with self-awareness and love for your body!
The eight basic postures of the sequence are (see image below):
* Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
* Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
* Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
* Plank Pose
* Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
* Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
* Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
To perform the sequence, start in Tadasana, with your hands together at your heart.
Inhale and lift your arms overhead to Urdhva Hastasana, then exhale while lowering the arms down and fold your torso into Uttanasana.
Then inhale, arch your torso into a slight backbend with the fingertips or palms pressed to the floor or blocks, and exhale while bringing your left foot back into a Lunge.
Inhale forward to Plank, then exhale and lower yourself into Chaturanga Dandasana.
On an inhalation, arch your torso up as you straighten your arms into Upward Dog.
Exhale back to Downward Dog; step the left foot forward on an inhalation into Lunge.
Swing the right leg forward to Uttanasana on an exhalation, then lift your torso and reach your arms overhead on an inhalation to Urdhva Hastasana.
Finally, lower your arms on an exhalation and return to your starting point, Tadasana.
This is half a round – you need to repeat the sequence, switching left to right and right to left to complete a full round.
Tips and key points:
- The movement from posture to posture is always done with either an inhalation or exhalation.
- Stay aware of your breath throughout… if it becomes laboured, slow down or stop and rest.
- Always breath through your nose – this filters and warms incoming air and slows breathing down.
- If you’re just starting out, it might help to work on the poses individually before you put them together.
- Launch your practice slowly with three to five rounds, gradually building up to 10 or 15. If this seems like a lot, remember that the traditional number of rounds is 108… you can work up to this one!