Salutations to the sun, practiced 5 times.
Surya Namaskara A is the first set of asanas (yoga postures) practiced in the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga. Traditionally, these are practiced facing east to greet the rising sun, which is worshiped in many cultures as the giver of life. Surya Namaskara A is practiced 5 times. This sequence of asanas is great for warming up the body, improving cardiovascular fitness and is also believed to alleviate depression. More can be done on cold days and less in extreme heat. The goal is to achieve a feeling of warmth and balance in the body.
Starting in Samastitihi, arms by your sides, toes together, heels slightly apart so the knees are facing forward.
Inhale, reaching the arms up over the head, palms touching and gazing to the hands.
Exhale, folding forward, working to place the palms on the ground, gaze is to the knees.
Inhale, flat back gazing up between the eyebrows (to the third eye).
Exhale, jump or step the legs back into plank, bending the elbows and engaging the abdominals.
URDVA MUKHA SHVANASANA (Upward Facing Dog)
Inhale, pushing forward with the feet and rolling over onto the top of your toes, straightening the arms and opening the chest and shoulders. Ideally the knees come off of the ground, but beginners feel free to rest them on the ground at first.
ADHO MUKHA SHVANASANA (Downward Facing Dog)
Exhale, engaging the abdominal muscles and lifting the hips. Lifting the tailbone up towards the ceiling or sky, and working to get the heels to the ground. Bending the knees at first if it is more comfortable. Beginners gaze is to the knees, advanced gaze is toward the navel. Hold this asana for 5 breaths.
At the bottom of your 5th exhale bending the knees and jump or step the feet between the hands. Inhale, flat back gazing between the eyebrows.
Exhale, folding forward.
Inhale, reaching the arms up over the head, gazing to the hands.
Exhale, bringing the arms back to the sides for Samastitihi.