Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar is a series of 8 poses which are usually performed in the morning or evening to greet or say thank you to the sun. Without the sun, there would be no life. It's something that we can count on every day. Even if you don't have time to do a whole yoga class every day, Sun Salutations are a great way to start the day....or end the day. I like to do them at the beach while I watch the sunset. Or, sometimes it's nice to wake up when it's still dark outside and greet the sun. Kids love the flow, especially when there's a chant or song to go along with it. My daughter likes to listen to her favorite music while she does Sun Salutation, and teens especially love this series of poses to do along with many popular songs that are being played right now.
Sun Salutations can be done in the classroom to get the blood circulating, which delivers blood and nutrients to the brain. It helps kids focus and is a great little "workout" to teach them, which they can share with their family or friends.
Here's a quick rundown of how the flow goes.
1) Start with Mountain Pose. Find your center and take a deep breath in and exhale slowly.
2) Second, inhale and bring your arms up over your head to the sky, reaching your heart and arms to greet the sun.
3) Then, exhale slowly and bend over into a forward bend, touching your hands to the ground.
4) Inhale and lengthen your spine forward….you should feel the stretch in your legs and arms.
5) Exhale and step your feet back behind you into Plank Pose (feet apart, wrists flat on the floor and shoulder width apart like a push up). Take a full breath, making sure that you are not dragging your hips.
6) Then exhale and lower down onto the ground, so that your belly and body are still.
7) Inhale and lift your chest like a snake. Pull your shoulders back and open up your heart.
8) Exhale and roll over your toes into Downward Dog. Remain here for a few breaths. Feel your spine lengthen and your legs stretch. This is a great inverted pose to get blood to your head and heart.
9) Bend your knees and look between your hands. Inhale and hop or step your feet between your hands.
10) Slowly come up into Mountain pose and then past Mountain pose-reaching up to the sky again to say thank you to the sun.
Repeat Sun Salutation 5 times, remembering to breath and move slowly through each pose.
There are some great websites and Youtube videos on how to do Sun Salutation. I like to use the balance board for this sequence because it keeps my body in line and adds for an extra bit of challenge.