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Illustrated Step-by-Step Sun Salutation

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Updated June 02, 2014

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Begin the Sun Salutation: Tadasana to Urdhva Hastasana
Tadasana and Urdhva Hastasana

Tadasana and Urdhva Hastasana

© Ann Pizer
Sun salutations are a key part of any vinyasa or flow style yoga practice. You may not even realize you are doing them, but many teachers use them as a warm up at the beginning of class or even base whole classes around them. If you learn this sequence, it will really help you out if you ever want to practice at home, since one of the biggest obstacles to doing yoga on your own is figuring out what to do when you get first get on your mat. Sun salutations are the obvious answer.

The Breath

The breath is a very important part of this sequence. The movement from one pose to the next is always done in conjunction with either an inhale or exhale of the breath. You can control the pace of the sequence by altering the number of breaths in each pose, just make sure to always move to the next pose on the correct breath.

History of the Sun Salutation

The full history of the sequence is not known, but it is likely that it was developed in the modern era of yoga, during which time asana was influenced by gymnastics, among other types of exercise.

First Poses in the Sequence

To begin, bring yourself to the front edge of your mat in mountain pose - tadasana with the hands in anjali mudra at your heart. The is traditionally where you might stop and set an intention for your practice if you chose to.

Inhale - Bring the arms out to the sides and join your palms above your head in urdhva hastasana - raised arms pose. Raise your gaze to your hands and slide your shoulders away from your ears.

Related Video
How to Do a Sun Salute (Vinyasa)
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