Sun Salutations in Yoga Explained

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Yoga is an endless journey filled with unforgettable moments, practices, and steps in personal development. Sun Salutations, known as Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, are one of the best and most influential yoga practices that every devoted yoga person should try in his life. In Sanskrit, Surya means ‘Sun,’ and Namaskar – ‘to bow down/adore.’

Sun Salutations have significant benefits for the mind and body. They can bring strength, flexibility, a toned body, and a happy mind when done frequently enough.

In today’s article, we will tell you more about Sun Salutations yoga practices, their benefits, the way of performing, and much more. You need to know the steps to Sun Salutations to make the most of the practice, and we are about to share them with you.

Sun Salutations, also known as Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, is a sequence of yoga postures often used as a warm-up for a yoga practice. The sequence is designed to stretch and strengthen the entire body while also promoting flexibility and balance.

What are Sun Salutations?

Sun Salutations, also known as Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, is a sequence of yoga postures often used as a warm-up for a yoga practice. The Sun Salutation includes 12 yoga poses and can be connected to 12 mantras for adding spirituality. They aim at stretching and strengthening the body while also developing balance and flexibility. The sequence can be done every day for even better effects.

For the yogis, Sun Salutations in Yoga are designed to access the ethereal energy that exists all around us. When we wake up early in the morning when the sun rises – there is prana shakti, translated as life energy, all around us. Then we should be performing Sun Salutations yoga poses – we should be facing east and performing the practice while the first rays of the Sun are rising.

Furthermore, the yogis connect the poses with correct breathing, chanting the mantras, and deeply connecting with their inner selves. Many people believe that the Sun Salutations Sequence has a fantastic effect on the spirit, the mind, and the body.

Sun Salutations
Photo: Amelia Bartlett / Unsplash

The traditional Sun Salutation Sequence

The Sun Salutation sequence typically consists of 12 postures in a flowing, continuous movement. A traditional Sun Salutation sequence consists of 12 postures that should be performed continuously and flexibly. Here are the postures that are usually included in Surya Namaskars:

  • Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
  • Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  • Lunge Pose
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
  • Plank Pose
  • Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
  • Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog)
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
  • Lunge Pose
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  • Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)

It is recommended to perform Sun Salutations at a moderate pace, allowing the breath to guide the movements. If possible, you should complete the practice early in the morning, with the first sun rays, and late at the end of the day, during the sunset. Of course, you can practice at any other time. The movement is particular – inhale as you raise your arms and exhale as you fold forward. The movement should be fluid and connected to the breath.

Steps to Sun Salutations

Now you know the 12 Sun Salutations steps, but how can you perform them? According to the yogis, this practice should be done at least twice, with each of your feet leading the way once. The breathing should be focused through the nose. Here are the steps for Sun Salutations performance:

Starting in mountain pose, called Tadasana – you should jump on your yoga mat in mountain pose while being aware of your calm breathing.

Simply and slowly move to the prayer pose, Pranamasana, by bringing your hands together at heart and pressing your thumbs lightly against the sternum.

Get into raised arms pose (Hasta Uttanasana) by lifting your hands overhead and breathing.

Lower back into a standing forward bend (Uttanasana).

Simply move to equestrian pose (Ashwa Sanchalanasana) while exhaling.

Go back to low plank pose while inhaling (Chaturanga Dandasana).

Salute with eight parts (Ashtanga Namaskara).

Simply move into cobra pose by pressing your hips, feet, and legs into the mat while lifting the chest and chin forward ( Bhujangasana).

Get into a downward-facing dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana).

Go back to the equestrian pose.

Get into a standing forward bend (Uttanasana).

Move your hands into raised arms pose (Hasta Uttanasana).

Go back to prayer pose and then come back into mountain pose.

Once you have done all these steps, you should repeat the Sun Salutations sequence with the opposite foot leading. We would also advise you to listen to a guide to make sure you are performing the poses in the right way and you will not have some injuries.

Sun Salutations
Photo: Mor Shani / Unsplash

Benefits of Sun Salutations

Sun Salutations have significant benefits for the mind, body, and soul. Yes, flexibility is one of them. And maybe the most obvious, but there are much more benefits that you should be aware of since this practice is not only a way of warming up the body before yoga but much more.

Sun Salutation is one of the best ways to deal with stress and the bad feeling of heaviness before or after a long day. It increases the circulation of energy within the body and removes the blockages. The practice gives the body energy and works as a way of pausing the surroundings and aligning the body properly. Furthermore, the performance has a lot of positive effects on the nervous system, the lungs, the heart, and the joints, since it increases blood circulation.

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In addition, Sun Salutations increase the muscles’ length and flexibility, which results in a lower chance of injuries during workouts. It also leads to better mobility which is more than great for all daily activities.

In conclusion, Sun Salutations are one fantastic way of starting your daily yoga practice. As a full-body workout, this practice warms up the body. It helps improve flexibility, balance, strength, and concentration. It can be fully adapted to your needs and the time you prefer to perform it, so why don’t you try it?


What are Sun Salutations?

Sun Salutations, also known as Surya Namaskar, are a sequence of yoga poses often done as a warm-up before practicing yoga. A Sun Salutation is made of 12 poses connected to the mantras of spirituality.

What is the goal of Sun Salutations?

The Sun Salutations aim to strengthen the body, stretching and warming it up before the actual, more intense practice. They also improve the flexibility and balance of the body.

When should you do Sun Salutations?

The best time for doing Sun Salutations is early in the morning when the Sun rises or late afternoon, during sunset. Of course, they can be done at another time.

What are the main benefits of Sun Salutations?

The main benefits of Sun Salutations are flexibility, balance, dealing with stress and heaviness, empowering the body with energy, positive effects on the lungs, the nervous system, and the joints, and of course – strengthening of the muscles.

Are the Sun Salutations spiritual practice?

Yes, all yogis believe that the Sun Salutations are great for the spirit and the mind. When performing them early in the morning, we are surrounded by prana shakti, translated as life energy, that we absorb.

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Nora Yulieva

Young, but already found my passion - writing. I love to travel, I love animals, and most - I love having the freedom to work from anywhere around the world.
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