If you are in search of new ways to get active this summer, you might start practicing yoga to improve your flexibility and strengthen your muscles. The Sun Salutation is a great place to start in the practice of yoga, and you can perform it anywhere—inside or outside—with nothing more than an exercise mat and these simple, easy-to-follow instructions.
Breathing Through Poses
While practicing yoga, breathe only through your nose, using your breath to pace your workout. You might practice breathing deeply and evenly through the nose before you begin to do any poses so that you establish a rhythm with your breath.
Moving Through the Salutation
- Mountain Pose: The Sun Salutation begins in a standing position. In this pose, you should stand with feet together, legs straight and flexed, and hands together in front of the heart.
- Standing Forward Fold: From the standing position, inhale and move the arms up and out. As you exhale, bow forward, placing your palms on the ground with your head down. You can bend your knees here if your hamstrings feel tight. As you inhale, move onto your fingertips and straighten your spine. During the next exhale, move back to a forward fold position.
- Long Lunge: When you inhale, keep one leg planted between your hands and move the other back into a lunge position while lifting your head.
- Downward Facing Dog: Exhale and move your front leg back to meet the other at the back of your mat as you bow forward with your arms straight in front of you and palms flat on the ground.
- Plank Pose: From Downward Facing Dog, you should shift your weight forward on an inhale to move to the top of a pushup and then lower yourself to the ground as you exhale.
- Long Lunge: Inhale as you lift your chest away from the ground, pushing down through your hands. Finally, shift back into Downward Facing Dog and bring your leg back into a lunge position as you inhale.
- Mountain Pose: Exhale and bring your feet together at the front of your mat to finish the salutation.
You can repeat the Sun Salutation several times, burning about 175 calories per hour as you move through the poses.