Yoga Poses in the Basic Sun Salutation

Learn the Sun Salutation, a graceful series of hatha yoga exercises that can start your day right.



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The first of the 12 positions of the Salutation to the Sun is a standing position, with the feet together at the edge of an exercise mat or carpet.
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Raise your arms high overhead and lean backward, arching your spine slightly.
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Then — while you exhale — bend forward from the waist and drop your head toward your knees (which should not be bent). Allow the weight of your torso to help you bring your hands to rest on the floor in front of your feet.
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Keeping your hands in place, bend your left knee and stretch your right leg out behind you. Bend it slightly also, so that the knee rests on the floor, and flex the toes for a good "grip". Then arch your back and look upward.
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Next, exhale as you straighten the right leg and move your left limb back beside it. Push your buttocks up to form an inverted "V" with your body, and let your head hang loosely between your arms. Your back — from shoulders to hips — should be as straight as possible. Pull your stomach in toward the spine, and try to press your heels flat against the floor.
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Bend both arms at the elbows and lower your body carefully to the floor, with contact points at the forehead, chest, hands and knees. Keep your pelvis, abdomen, and thighs raised, and press your chin into the hollow at the base of your throat.
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As you inhale, lower your pelvis and legs onto the floor, straighten your arms, arch your back, and let your head roll backward.
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Bring the left foot up beside the right, then straighten both legs and drop your torso until your head approaches your knees again.
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As you exhale, thrust your hips high, forming the inverted V again.
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Inhale and move your right leg forward until that foot rests on the floor between your hands. Extend the left leg back, touching the floor with your knee, and lean your head back.
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Inhale and stand up straight as you stretch your arms high overhead.
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On the last exhale, bring your hands back together in front of your chest (to pay a final homage to the morning sun) and breathe freely for a few moments.
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