Sun Salutation Yoga
This is an exercise that is used for warming up the body, and is an effective way to start a power yoga session.
1. Begin by standing at the front of your yoga mat, with your feet together, legs and back straight, knees relaxed, head facing forward with your chin parallel to the floor, and your hands by your sides.
2. Inhale using the ocean breath technique as you lift your arms with the elbows straight out to the sides and continue up to above your head. Look up to the ceiling as you do this, arching your back slightly and stretching your arms up and back.
3. Release the position allowing yourself to fold forwards as you exhale using the ocean breath technique; place your hands on your calves and pull your forehead towards your shins, stretching your back and legs.
4. Place your hands on your shins and inhale as you push your head forward, lifting your head and chest so that your chest is now parallel with the floor, your arms are straight, and your hands are resting on your shins. Your legs are straight and your spine stretched.
5. Now, as you exhale, place your hands flat on the floor in front of you, and step back to place your feet towards the back of your mat so that your legs and spine are stretched out flat, and your weight is supported on your hands and toes. This position is called the plank.
6. Inhale while holding the plank; then exhale as you bend your knees, drop them and place them on the mat; lower your chest to the mat between your hands, keeping your pelvis up and arching your back and keeping your head up with your eyes looking straight ahead. You are now still supported by your hands and toes, but your chest is resting gently on the mat, with your hips in the air.
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7. Next, exhale as you drop your hips to the mat, pushing up and back with your hands, arching your back pushing your chest out into the cobra position. Reposition your feet so that the tops of your feet are now flat on the mat; the full length of both of your legs and your hips are in contact with the mat. With your head up, your chest pushed out and shoulders back, and your arms slightly bent, supporting the top half of your body, hands still flat on the mat, you are now in the cobra position.
8. Inhale as you push back on your arms, bending your knees so that you are now on your hands and knees; and exhale as you continue the motion fluidly, straighten your legs, putt’ng your weight back onto your toes and hands with your arms and legs straight, into the downward dog position. Keep your back straight and flat, and place your head so that it is aligned with your spine and you are looking towards your shins.
Bend your knees slightly if you need to, in order to make sure that your spine is completely straight. Hold this position for the count of five deep breaths in and out. Remember to keep your breathing deep, slow and audible, using the ocean breath technique.
9. Now, as you inhale, lift your head and bring your right foot forward, placing it behind your right hand; keeping your fingertips on your mat, bring your left foot forward and place it behind your left hand straightening both legs, exhaling. Lift your head and look up, and inhale as you place both hands on your shins.
10. Exhale as you place your hands on your calves and fold from the waist, pulling your head towards your shins.
11. Inhale now as you lift your head and upper body to the standing position, raising your arms up either side of your head, straight so that your hands are reaching for the ceiling above your head. Lean back, looking up and arching your back as you did at the beginning of the sequence.
12. Exhale as you lower the arms, keeping the elbows straight, back down to your sides, with your head facing straight ahead, your back straight, and your chin parallel to the floor.
Repeat these 12 steps.