YOGA: The Sun Salutation
Sun Salutation is an excellent warm up exercise and also a complete exercise in itself that energizes the body and prepares it for the rigors of daily activities and a session of yoga. It is performed in 12 Steps which are worth describing as follows;
Step 1: Stand in straight with your feet joined together and spine erect. The hands should be held at the chest level in “namaskaar’ gesture.
Step 2: Thoracic extension:- Inhale and extend your arms in a big circle over your head( as in mountain pose) and keep your elbows behind your ears. Meanwhile keep you feet firmly grounded and arch your thoracic vertebra backwards.
Step 3: Forward bend:- Exhale and bend forward from the waist , bringing your arms down and placing your palms by the side of the feet (slowly you can achieve this). Keep the knees straight.Bend as much as you can without straining the back.
Step 4: Runner’s Lunge:-Inhale as you take your left foot backwards extending the left leg as far as possible. Your right leg bends at the knee at a 90 degree angle. Open your chest forward and relax your hips down towards the ground.
Step 5: Downward dog:-Exhale and bring your right foot back in line with the left foot hip width apart. Stay on the balls of your feet and bring your arms,shoulder and torso in a straight line and raise your pelvis up as you lower your heels. Do not bend the knees. Feel the stretch behind the legs.
Step 6: Plank pose:-Inhale and bring your hips down till your body is straight like a plank from head to heels. Keep the arms straight, shoulder width apart and balance the weight of the upper body on flattened palms and that of lower part of the body on toes.
Step 7: Chin- Chest – Knee position:- Exhale and lower your chest and touch the ground. Similarly chin also touches the ground and so do the knees. The abdomen is kept away from ground by keeping the hips up.
Step 8: Unsupported Cobra pose:- Inhale as you lower your hips to the ground and straighten your legs. Tighten your legs and buttocks. And keeping the palms by the side of the shoulder and elbows close to the body raise slowly your chin, extend your neck backwards and then raise your chest from the ground till the level of the navel curving backwards. Do not put any weight on the hands for support. Raise the chest as much as you can first and with practice you would be able to lift it till the level of the navel.
Step 9: Downward dog:- Exhale as you raise your hips, straighten your arms and align your shoulder and upper body in a straight line to come back to step 5 position.
Step 10: Runner’s lunge:- Keep your hand at the same position, inhale and bring your right foot forward, bend at the knee (90 degrees), in between your hands with your head and neck raised and the left leg kept straight( as in step 4).
Step 11: Forward bend;- Exhale as you bring your left foot forward and kept at a hip width apart in line with the right foot and the upper body is bent at the hip level as in step 3.
Step 12: Thoracic extension:- Inhale and bring your body up and extend your arms above the head, elbows behind the ears and spine arched backwards as in step 2.
Step 13: The standing position:- exhale and lower your arms and keep your hands in the ‘Namaskaar’ gesture as in step 1.
Repeat these steps with right leg going back first as so on. Once repeated with both legs, a cycle is completed. Do 2- 12 such rounds.