As the sun shines brightly, there’s no better way to embrace the summer season than by practicing Surya Namaskar, also known as the Sun Salutation yoga flow. This ancient and energizing sequence allows you to connect with the power of the sun, rejuvenate your mind and body, and ignite your summer spirit. Whether you are a seasoned yogi or new to the practice, this step-by-step guide will take you through the transformative journey of Surya Namaskar, helping you experience the essence of the sun through yoga.
Step 1: Preparation
Find a quiet and well-ventilated space for your practice. Begin by standing at the front of your mat with your feet hip-width apart, palms pressed together at your heart center. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and set your intention for the practice. Visualize the sun’s radiant energy surrounding you.
Step 2: Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Open your eyes and release your hands. Inhale deeply as you extend your arms overhead, bringing your palms together. Lengthen your spine and engage your core. Ground your feet into the mat, feeling a connection with the earth, and then shift your weight to the right foot. Once balanced, slowly bring your left heel to your right ankle, bending at the left knee. If you feel stable, experiment with your balance by bringing the left foot higher up on your right calf, or even further by placing it on your right inner-thigh. Avoid placing your foot on the knee of your support leg. Keep the knee of the elevated leg bent open to the side, with a slight bend in your grounded leg. Modify by lowering your hands back to prayer pose at your heart center. Hold this pose for a few breaths, feeling grounded and aligned. Repeat on the opposite side after slowly coming back down to the start position.
Step 3: Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
From your neutral standing position, exhale as you hinge at your hips, folding forward with a straight back. Let your head hang heavy and relax your neck. Bend your knees if needed. Allow gravity to gently stretch the back of your legs. Feel the release and surrender as you breathe deeply.
Step 4: Half Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana)
Inhale, lift your torso halfway up, placing your hands on your shins. Lengthen your spine, pulling forward from the crown of the head, keeping your gaze on the ground. Feel the elongation of your body and the awakening of your core strength. Take some deep breaths and then slowly lower back down into a Forward Fold.
Step 5: Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana)
With your hands firmly planted into the ground, exhale as you step or jump your feet backwards and lower gently into a plank position. Align your wrists under your shoulders and continue to lower your body down with control, keeping your elbows close to your ribs. Engage your core and legs, creating a straight line from head to heels. Hold this challenging pose for a few long, deep breaths (modify with knees on the mat).
Step 6: Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Inhale as you roll over your toes, lifting your chest and extending your arms. Press your palms firmly into the mat, straighten your arms, and lift your thighs off the mat. Expand your chest, gaze forward, and feel the stretch in your spine. Activate your whole body, creating a sense of openness and vitality.
Step 7: Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Exhale and push against the ground, lifting your hips high, forming an inverted V-shape with your body. If necessary, walk your feet towards your hands a few inches. Pressing your hands into the mat, lengthen your spine and relax your head between your arms. Engage your core and leg muscles, grounding your heels toward the floor. Breathe deeply, feeling rejuvenating energy flow through your body.
Step 8: Repeat Steps 2-7
From Downward-Facing Dog, inhale and step or jump forward to return to the Forward Fold. Repeat Steps 2-7 for a complete round of Surya Namaskar. Flow through the sequence with your breath, finding a rhythm that suits you. Aim to complete 5 to 10 rounds or adjust the number based on your fitness level and time availability.
Step 9: Final Relaxation
After completing the desired number of rounds, gently lower yourself down to the mat from the Downward-Facing Dog position. Lie down on your back, allowing your body to fully stretch out on the mat. Keep your legs extended, slightly wider than hip-width apart, and let your feet relax naturally to the sides. Rest your arms alongside your body, palms facing up. Close your eyes and take a deep breaths to settle into the present moment.
Reconnect with the warmth of the sun and bring your intention back to mind. Allow yourself to meditate, fully relaxing into the support of the ground by gently asking yourself, “where can I relax a little bit more?” Once you’re feeling rejuvenated, begin taking deeper breaths and making small movements in your fingers and toes. Round your wrists and ankles, stretch your arms overhead and finally hug both knees to your chest before slowly making your way up from the ground.
Enjoy All Summer!
Surya Namaskar offers a transformative pathway to ignite your summer spirit and experience the profound power of the sun through yoga. By incorporating this ancient and energizing practice into your daily routine, you can tap into the sun’s vitality and infuse your life with renewed energy, strength, and inner balance.
All summer, let Surya Namaskar be your companion. Embrace the power of the sun, the beauty of the practice, and the joy of movement. Allow the power of ancient Sun Salutations to light up your path, infusing your days with renewed energy, vitality, and a profound connection to the world around you.
Written with assistance from AI via Chat GPT