Sun Salutation

Sun Salutation

Yoga teachers often say that if you do only one exercise a day, it should be the sun salutation. For people with limited time, this sequence is excellent because it stretches and strengthens all the major muscle groups in the body and exercises the respiratory system.
Begin with arms at your side, inhale and reach the arms above the head to namaste. Exhale and fold forward to standing forward bend, uttanasana. Inhale and bend the knees. Exhale and lift onto the finger tips, lengthening the spine and moving the eyes and heart forward.
Breathe and feel the working of your legs, keeping the shoulders moving away from the ears.
Inhale and step the right foot back to lunge. Exhale, lifting the torso and arms to upward lunge. Interlace the fingers and reach the arms and hands above the head, pressing the palms upward and grounding the shoulders down into their sockets.
Breathe. Keep your eyes focused on one point in front of you and steady your gaze. Inhale and come back to lunge, hands to the floor. Exhale, stepping the left foot back to downward facing dog. The pose should feel like an inverted V-shape.
Spread the hands and fingers and bring weight evenly throughout the whole hand. Don’t jam the wrists. Relax the head between the arms and reach the sit bones up towards the sky. Press the heels down from the length in your legs and feel the inside thighs reaching back.
Stay with the smooth breath. Welcome the flow of energising, arterial blood to the upper body. Inhale and move forward to plank pose, stacking the shoulders and elbows over the wrists.
Keep the eyes slightly forward, and press back into the legs and heels. Breathe. Focus the eyes and keep lifting the pelvis and belly away from the floor. Hold it here. Inhale and, as you exhale, gently lower down to push-up pose. You may bring the knees down first if you wish.
Move the hands forward, in line with the throat, and roll the shoulders back down the spine. Inhale and slowly lift the torso to cobra pose, bujangasana. Only come up as far as feels appropriate.
Continue the grounding of your shoulders. Keep the elbows slightly bent and tucked into the ribs. Breathe. Work the legs back into the soles of the feet.
Protract your chin, inhale, and slowly extend the head to look up. Exhale and release from cobra, using the strength of your arms and chest to support the lower back.
Move the hands back near the lower ribs and inhale to all fours. Tuck the toes under and exhale to release back to down dog. Breathe and soften the face and neck. Soften the knees and look forward, inhale stepping the left foot forward to lunge.
Exhale. Upward lunge. Reaching the arms overhead and, interlacing the fingers, draw the arms back, opening the chest. Keep the lower ribs tucked in and the abdominals active. Breathe. Focus the gaze. Inhale, the hands and torso back down to lunge.
Exhale, stepping the left foot back to down dog. Hold for three breaths. Inhale. Come to plank. Keep the belly strong, supporting the spine. Exhale, down dog. Two more – inhale, plank; exhale, down dog.
And inhale to plank. Exhale and lower your body down to push-up pose. Bring the hands forward in line with the throat and slowly ascend to cobra.
Use the upper body to support the extension of the spine. Bring the chin forward, and inhale to look up. Exhale, release back down, bring the hands back near the lower ribs, and stretch back to down dog.
Soft knees looking forward and inhale to step or jump the feet toward the hands. Exhale, uttanasana, standing forward bend. Inhale and reverse swan dive – slowly, let the circulation catch up with the torso.
Touch the palms above the head in namaste, tucking the tailbone under and coming to a baby backbend. Exhale and slowly bring the hands down to samasthiti.

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Dominique Salerno is an inspired, passionate and enthusiastic yogi, teacher and healer.
In 2000 she began teaching yoga full-time and founded the Australian Yoga Academy. Since this time Dominique has dedicated her life to yoga and teaches yoga and universal laws relating to mind, body and spirit for in excess of 1000 hours per year.