Health

Here’s How To Actually Do A Sun Salutation

Sun salutations are for everyone. Master them and start your day with energy and focus.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Sun salutations: Amazing first thing in the morning and when you need a mid-afternoon breather.

You can even use them to warm up for a workout or to move gently on a rest day.

To show you just how awesome sun salutations are, we asked yoga enthusiast Jessamyn Stanley to demonstrate each pose, talk us through the sequence, and offer some beginner modifications.

And YogaWorks instructor Keisa Parrish oversaw the project.

1. Start by standing tall in Tadasana (Mountain pose).

Jessamyn Stanley

Keep your shoulders dropped down your back as you pull your front ribs in, and press the top of your thighs back as you drop your tailbone toward your heels.

2. Inhale as you raise your arms straight up and join your palms in Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute).

Jessamyn Stanley

Keep your shoulders relaxed and your quads lifting.

3. Exhale as you fold forward in Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold).

Jessamyn Stanley

Stack your hips over your heels and elongate your core.

4. Inhale and rise to your fingertips in Ardha Uttanasana (Half-Standing Forward Bend).

Jessamyn Stanley

You can also place your hands on your shins. Extend your gaze and chest forward coming to a flat back.

5. Exhale, bend your knees, plant your palms flat, and step back into Plank Pose.

Jessamyn Stanley

Reach your tailbone to your heels while keeping your core engaged. As always, extend your heart and gaze forward as your heels reach back.

6. Lower to Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose).

Jessamyn Stanley

Keep your elbows tucked in toward your ribs, extend your heart and gaze forward as you keep your core engaged and shoulders lifting away from the floor.

(If Chaturanga is too challenging, feel free to modify it.)

Jessamyn Stanley

To do so, from Plank Pose, bring your knees, chest, and chin to the floor.

7. Inhale as you roll over your toes and press the top of your feet evenly into the ground. Lift your knees and thighs away from the floor into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose).

Jessamyn Stanley

Roll your shoulders back and lift your lower belly up away from the floor.

8. Exhale and roll your toes back over as you lift your hips into the air. Press them back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose).

Jessamyn Stanley

You’re awesome. Take five breaths. Press your thigh bones back, draw your front ribs away from the floor and in toward your spine, hugging your upper outer arms in.

9. Bend your knees. Exhale and step or jump your feet forward to meet your hands, stepping into Ardha Uttanasana (Half-Standing Forward Bend).

Jessamyn Stanley

Inhale to your fingertips as you extend your gaze and heart forward, coming to a flat back. If touching the ground is challenging, place your hands on your shins instead.

10. Exhale as you fold over your legs in Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold).

Jessamyn Stanley

Remember to keep your hips over your heels, and your core long.

11. Inhale as you lift your gaze. Extend your arms wide to the sides, lift your chest, and come all the way up to standing in Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute).

Jessamyn Stanley

Press your palms overheard, keeping your arms straight.

12. Exhale as you release your arms and lower them to your side in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

Jessamyn Stanely

Remember to keep your shoulders dropped down your back and the top of your thighs pressed back.

When you put the poses all together, the flow should look something like this:

Repeat as many sun salutations in a row as you’d like.

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