How to Do the Sun Salute or Surya Namaskara

The Sun Salute (Sun Salutation, Salute to the Sun) is often practiced in a morning yoga session. Flexibility, relaxation and the calming of the mind are just some of the benefits that you can achieve through the practice of yoga. The Sun Salutation can give you all of these benefits and is a fantastic way to start the day.

The most important thing is not the particular variation, rather it is the synchronization of the motion of your breath with the movement of your body. In short, the motion of breathing is what drives the movement of the body into, through, and out of each of the poses in the sequence.

An easy way to apply this is to allow all upward movements to be coupled with the motion of inhalation and all downward movements to be coupled with exhalation. For example - raising your arms overhead and stretching up is coupled with your inhalation and hinging forward and down (as in touching your toes) is coupled with your exhalation.

In this way all movements and breathing motions are in yogic union as you greet the sunrise of new day by awakening/stimulating your body with these poses and breath flow.

This exercise is suitable for all levels.





  1. 1
    Mountain pose: Start by bringing your feet and legs together, spread your toes. Make sure your heels are rooted and firm your legs. Then, roll your shoulders back and down and spread and lift your chest.

  2. 2
    Extended Mountain poseInhale through your nose and raise your arms up to the side, palms facing upwards. Extend your arms above your head with your hands in prayer position.

  3. 3
    Swan dive to forward bend, be sure to bend your knees especially if you have tight hamstrings. This will protect the back: Exhale through your nose. Open your arms wide and bend at your waist to a standing forward bend. Your hands should touch the floor if you can or if not, the front of the ankles.

  4. 4
    Standing lunge: Inhale through your nose and place your hands next to your feet on the floor and step one foot back into a lunge. Keep the front knee directly over the ankle and keep the back leg firm. Now, exhale and bring the other foot back to form the downward-facing dog position.

  5. 5
    Downward-facing dog: Spread your fingers and press your palms into the mat, they should be shoulder width apart. Now, lift your hips up towards the sky, lengthening your spine. Gently straighten your legs, pressing your heels down into your mat as far as you can go.

  6. 6
    Plank pose: Inhale and take your shoulders forward directly over your wrists, extending well with your arms to form plank position. Keep your thighs strong and firm, your feet flexed and your belly drawn in.

  7. 7
    Knees-chest-chin pose: Exhale and bend your knees to the floor and then lower your chest and chin to the floor. Keep your chest open and your elbows close to the side of your ribcage.

  8. 8
    Cobra: Inhale and raise your upper body to the cobra pose. Roll your shoulders back and extend the shoulder blades down and press them in towards the chest. Your chest should be lifted and open and elbows should stay close to the body. Make sure to lift up your knee caps and firm your thighs. Your legs and feet should be well extended. As a variation, you can also do an upward dog.

  9. 9
    Extended child's pose to dog's pose: Exhale and tuck in your toes while bending your knees and pushing back to the extended child's position. If possible, in the same breath move directly back to downward-facing dog. Pull the belly up and towards the back of the spine.

  10. 10
    Standing lunge: Now this is where we repeat in reverse the first three postures that start the sun salutation. Inhale, bring your one foot forward in between your hands to the lunge position. Now, exhale, and bring the back foot forward to join the front foot so that your feet are together. Hands on the floor or ankles.

  11. 11
    Reverse swan dive transition: With knees slightly bent, inhale and lift your arms up to the side with your palms face upward to the sky. Now extend the arms above your head in prayer position.

  12. 12
    Mountain pose: Exhale to return to Mountain Pose to complete the Sun salutation.

  13. 13
    Repeat the Sun Salutation again on the other leg.


Sun Salutation Method 2

  1. 1
    Find a suitable place to perform the exercise. A Yoga mat is not needed for this. You can have one, or cannot. It does not matter.

  2. 2
    Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and your arms at your sides. Raise your arms slowly, so you form a 0. Band slightly and look up at your hands. Breathe in deeply, then out.

  3. 3
    Slowly lower your arms and head. Keep your arms going, without bending your knees, until you touch the ground. If you cannot touch the ground without bending your knees, it's okay. You can simply hang your arms down.

  4. 4
    Return to your position in the beginning of step 3.

  5. 5
    Repeat this cycle (not counting step 2) five or six times. Once you feel relaxed, move onto the next step.

  6. 6
    Do the "Warrior" stance. If you know how to do this, skip the steps 7, 8, and 9. If not, do this: Return to your starting position (legs shoulder width apart, arms at your sides).

  7. 7
    Step with your left foot in front of your right foot and lean slightly on it and bend your knees forwards, without lifting your right foot. Your right foot should be almost off the ground, with just the toes touching.

  8. 8
    Return to your previous position (feet shoulder width apart, arms at side).

  9. 9
    Step with your right foot in front of your left foot and lean slightly on it and bend your knees forwards, without lifting your left foot. Your left foot should be almost off the ground, with just the toes touching.

  10. 10
    Do step 8 again, and then repeat steps 2-5.





  • Keep your feet well-rooted.
  • An outdoor space is also great if you want to be close to nature but it must be distraction-free and away from a hot sun.
  • Always remember to practice with effort effortlessly.
  • To practice yoga, it is important to find a place that is quiet and free of distractions with fresh air and a comfortable temperature. Make sure the floorspace is clear.
  • Yoga mats are available from most sporting goods stores.
  • Remember that in yoga we breathe through the nose smoothly and calmly, however if that is difficult, breathe however you are comfortable.


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