How to do a Sun Salutation

This is a step by step tutorial on how to do a sun salutation.
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The sun salutation is the foundation of many yoga classes.  It’s called a sun salutation because it builds heat in the body.

Many yogis believe that if you do a sun salutation for every year you are old every day you will have unlimited vitality and energy through old age.  I personally love to celebrate my birthday with doing as many sun salutations as my age to represent the literal trips around the sun I’ve taken.  Plus one to grow on!🙂

1.  Standing tall and firm in mountain, inhale the arms up and exhale into Forward Fold.

  1. Forward Fold.  It’s OK if the legs are bent here–work them towards straight.
  2. Inhale to lunge with the right leg back.  3a. (optional) Rise up to a high lunge then lower to 3b. lower back to lunge.
  3. Exhale and extend the left leg back while lifting the hips to down dog and hold for an inhale.
  4. Exhale into plank position (aka top of your push-up). Holding the core tight, slowly lower to the ground.
  5. Inhale and lift the heart up off the ground.
  6. Exhale back to down dog, pulling the belly button back to the spine as you lift up.

8.  Inhale bring right foot forward into a lunge. 8a. (optional) lift arms for high lunge 8b. lower back to lunge.

  1. Exhale, bringing left foot forward into forward fold.
  2. Inhale and rise back up to mountain pose.
  3. Exhale. Reach your sit bones back and down to a chair position (not shown).

Congratulations!  Now you know how to do a sun salutation!  Remember:  yoga is NOT about forcing your body into a position, it’s about honoring and listening to your body and what its needs are.  If at any time your body tells you that the position you’re in is not ‘right’ or ‘safe’ then slowly come out of the position and rest for a couple of breaths.

You are beautiful and unique, the movements and breath will look and feel different for you than they do for your neighbor, instructor, or person on TV so respect the differences!


Jennie Carlson