Esalen's Foundational Yoga Teacher — Teaching yoga since 1968


The Sun Salutation

The Sun Salutation is the most-practiced sequence in yoga, taught in almost any yoga class. There are many versions; each teacher tends to make adjustments. I developed this Sun Salutation to do as a warm-up for sports; golf, running, tennis, basketball, biking, or whatever. Other Sun Salutations have you with your legs on the ground at some point, but what if the ground is wet or gritty? You can do this sequence with only your hands and feet touching the ground.
photo of pose photo of pose Stand facing the sun. Put your hands together in front of your chest. Feel yourself standing on all four corners of your feet. Take a few deep breaths. Notice yourself being here now.
photo of pose Raise your hands over your head and arch back, maintaining awareness of your body. Breathe deeply.
photo of pose Fold yourself forward, bending at your hips, toward the ground. Hang down and breathe.
photo of pose Bend your knees and place your hands on the ground. Move your right leg behind you, into a lunge. Breathe.
photo of pose Bring your left leg back, forming a plank; a straight line from your head to your heels. Breathe.
photo of pose With your legs still off the ground, arch back into Upward Facing Dog. Stretch in your chest, but keep your neck relaxed. Look down. If your back, arms, or wrists are not feeling strong and flexible today, do the Half Cobra instead: with your body on the ground, arch back while resting on your forearms. Be gentle with yourself. Breathe.
photo of pose Raise your hips up into Downward Facing Dog, stretching your heels toward the mat with straight legs. Bring your shoulders toward your knees and try to be straight from hands to buns. Modification: Rest on your elbows. Breathe.
photo of pose Bring your right leg forward into another lunge. Look forward. Stretch down into the lunge. Breathe.
photo of pose Bring your back foot forward and raise your hips into another fold. Let your upper body hang from your hips. Breathe.
photo of pose Arch back again, taking a deep breath.
photo of pose Standing on all four corners of your feet with awareness, let your arms swing out as you twist to the left and then the right. Repeat.
photo of pose Bring your right arm above your head and lean sideways as far as you can to the left as you breathe. Stretch. Repeat with left arm to the right side.
See Sun Salute Summary for photos of the left side. Now repeat the whole sequence on the other side. Go through the same poses, but coming in and out of the lunge, initiate with your left leg. Keep breathing deeply!
Please be careful. Let your body be the boss of your yoga.
A good stretch should feel good--avoid anything that causes sharp pain.
When you feel comfortable in a pose, push yourself a bit until you feel challenged.
These lessons are free. Use them cautiously and at your own risk.

You can do these yoga/pilates poses in any order you want, or just click on the "Next" link (above) to get the recommended sequence.

Intro Hip Tilt Bridge Knees2Chest Shoulders
Crocodile Twist Leg Stretches Alphabet Shoulder Press Criss-Cross
Roll-Up Rolling Like a Ball Cross-Legged Stretch Arm and Side Plank
Cobra Cat Dog Child Spinal Twist
Standing Sun Salute Sun Salute Summary Meditation Review, Links, & Credits

© copyright Pam Portugal Walatka, 2021 with Nancy Portugal Jamello.



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