Practice at home

How to… sun salutation 🌞

I quite often get asked about how to practice yoga at home, away from class.

Yoga class is lovely but sometimes it’s hard to make it, or you want to practice more at home. Life happens and it’s also awesome to be able to practice any time you want.

I know some of my students tell me they can’t remember how to move through sequences, but actually any movement where you connect to your breath is yoga – you can’t do yoga wrong so go for it!

There are already so many amazing resources out there on the internet but if you want to try the sun salutation that I teach here is a short how to.

How to Sun Salutation

Sun salutation is a really amazing sequence in yoga – it’s a fundamental set of movements that appears in some form in most yoga classes. It contains a perfect balance of all the major types of movement in yoga – backbends, forward folds, strengthening and stretching. It’s also beautifully linked with the breath which really is what yoga is all about. And it’s the basis of most flow sequences so once you have this committed to memory, you can start playing with it and adding other poses if you want to.

A couple of sun salutations is an amazing mini yoga practice in itself and you can do as few or as many as you like depending on how much time you have.

There is no definitive way to do a sun salutation, and you will find that different people teach in different ways, this is my general way, but feel free to mix it up with what works for you.

Start in mountain pose – standing at the top of your mat, feet hip distance apart, hands together in front of the heart.

Inhale reach the arms up overhead to extended mountain pose (If you have any blood pressure issues / dizziness skip this step).

Exhale to fold forward from the hips letting the arms reach down in front of you.

Inhale to come up slightly to a half way lift – making an L shape with the both with the shoulders on the same level as the hips.

Exhale back to forward fold. Bend your knees so you can place you hands flat on the ground outside your feet (it can be useful to use blocks here for your hands if you need a bit of extra space).

Inhale look forward and step back with your right foot into a lunge, and then step the left foot back to join it in plank. You can hold the plank if you want to build strength, or feel free to lower the knees to a half plank. Think about pushing the floor away, and making sure the body is in a straight line.

Exhale to lower down. There are a couple of options here – I usually teach (and am demoing in the video) astangasana where you lower the knees, chest and chin to the mat (keeping the bum high). This pose is HARD (I couldn’t do it for ages) because lowering down anywhere chest first is a very weird thing to do but it is a really amazing strengthener for the body. Try and keep the elbows squeezed in as you lower down, and don’t worry it it’s not perfect. The other option is to lower the knees and lower down to the mat with control to come to lie down on the belly.

Or if you are feeling really strong you can come into a low plank here (chataranga) and then flow through to upward facing dog with the hips off the ground instead of cobra.

From the floor inhale to draw the body forward opening the chest into cobra pose. Hands under shoulders and elbows drawn into the body, and think about the lift coming from the back rather than the arms.

Exhale to downward facing dog. You can either push straight up from cobra, or come to all 4s. Either way route through the hands, and tuck the toes, lifting the sit bones up to the sky. It’s useful to think about the belly coming toward the thighs here – and feel free to take a little walk out with the legs, as this is a BIG stretch.

Inhale to look forward and take a big step to lunge between the hands with your right leg. This lunging forward can be really tricky, so if it feel super awkward walk up with both feet to the hands. Otherwise from your lunge exhale and bring you left left up to join your right in forward fold.

Inhale back to your half way lift then exhale forward fold fully.

Inhale rising up bringing the arms overhead to extended mountain pose, and finally exhale arms back down to the heart in mountain pose. Then repeat all the steps above leading with the left leg, and viola you have saluted the sun 😎

Let me know how you got on and if you have any questions✨