Sun salutations (also known as Surya Namaskar in Sanksrit) is a core part of yoga, and is used within most types of yoga practices.
It's a combined flow of 12 yoga poses (asanas) repeated on both sides, that stretches and strengthens the full body. You can practice it on its own, as a warm-up, or even incorporated within your yoga flow.
When you practice it, remember to mindfully move with your breath. Each pose has an inhale or exhale linked to it, so as you get more confident in your practice, it becomes a moving meditation.
Ready to start? Here is a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to practice Sun Salutations:
Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your feet together and palms down by your sides. Exhale fully, and bring your palms together in prayer in front of your heart to begin.
Inhale, lift your arms overhead and look up towards your hands - coming to Extended Mountain Pose (Urdhva Hastasana). Lengthen your spine and your body, by grounding your feet and actively extending your arms up.
Exhale, fold your body forward - coming to Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana). Hinge from your hips, and bring your hands towards your feet. If your hips are leaning back, shift your weight forward towards your toes, keeping your hips above your ankles. Beginners: bend your knees if required.
Place your hands on the mat, fingers in line with your toes. Inhale, step your right foot back and drop your right knee down - coming to your Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana). Untuck your right toes, so that the top of your foot is flat on the mat. Align your left knee over your left ankle, and look forward. Shift your weight slightly forward, letting your hips sink down to feel the stretch in your right hip flexors. Exhale.
Inhale, tuck your right toes, lift your right knee, and step your left foot back - coming to your High Plank (Phalaksana).
Exhale, drop your knees, untuck your toes, and bend your elbows towards your hips to lower your chest and chin towards the mat - coming to your 8-Limb Pose (Ashtanga Namaskara).
Inhale, push through your palms to slide your upper body forward, and lift your chest up - coming to your Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana). Pull your shoulders back to open your chest.
Exhale, tuck your toes, push through your hands and feet to lift your hips up, and straighten your arms and legs - coming to Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukho Svansasana).
Inhale, step your right foot forward, in between your palms. Drop your left knee down, untuck your left toes and look forward - coming to your Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana). Keep your fingers in line with your right toes, right knee above your ankle, and feel the stretch in your left hip flexors.
Exhale, step your left foot forward, coming to your Forward Bend (Uttanasana).
Inhale, lift your arms and body all the way up, looking up towards your palms - coming to your Extended Mountain Pose.