Time: 20 minutes
Greet the new day with more than just cereal and coffee.
Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, is a series of eight to twelve yoga poses that flow from one position to the next, and are traditionally performed in the morning. You have probably done this series in a yoga class led by an instructor, and are familiar with many of these poses.
For each yoga pose in Sun Salutations, hold the position for about 30 seconds, breathing deeply, before flowing to the next. Doing a couple repetitions of the Sun Salutation every morning will help get your blood flowing, clear your head, and energize you for the rest of the day.
Sun Salutations in Yoga:
1) Mountain Pose (Tadasana):
Start by standing with your heels slightly apart, big toes touching, back straight, head up, and arms down against your side.
2) Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana):
From Mountain Pose, raise your arms out and above your head, and bring your palms together. Look up at your hands, and feel the nice stretch throughout your body.
3) Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana):
Exhale and slowly roll your spine down, folding over your legs. Try to touch the ground, letting your head hang, but keep your legs straight.
4) Plank Pose (Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana):
Bend your knees so that the palms of your hands are on the ground (if they weren’t already) and then step or hop your feet back. Keep your back straight and head parallel to the ground.
5) Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana):
Using your arm strength, exhale and slowly lower yourself from Plank Position so that your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Keep your back straight, knees off the ground, and upper arms pinned to your side.
6) Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana):
Inhale and straighten your arms while rolling over your toes so that the top of your feet are resting on the ground. Bring your pelvis down and your chest up, so that your back gently curves upward, your head is up, and you feel a stretch through your abdomen.
7) Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana):
Keeping your feet and hands in the same spot, exhale and push your weight backwards, raising your pelvis until your back and legs are straight, making a triangle with the ground.
8) Finish by walking or hopping your feet back up to your hands, so that you are doing another toe-touch. Then roll your spine up so that you have returned to Mountain Pose. Now you are ready to repeat the Sun Salutation.
After a couple of these repetitions, Sun Salutations should come naturally to you. This yoga routine is simple, memorable, and flow easily from one pose to the next. They certainly help me loosen up my gears after a night of robot REM. Enjoy!