Yoga for Beginners: Stretch and Strengthen with Sun Salutations

Sun Salutations, a yogic technique that is made up of a series of postures, are one of the best ways to sharpen your mind while strengthening and stretching your entire body. For beginners, this is your starting point! Build strength in this sequence to make sure your future yoga workouts are a lot easier.

by Asana Rebel

1 Benefits

Energizing, calming and relaxing, Sun Salutations can be used as a warm-up or as a complete cardio exercise. Strengthen your arms, shoulders and legs while stretching every part of your body.  

2 Step-by-Step Guide

Begin in Tall Mountain Pose (standing at the front of your mat, feet together, legs active and arms by your sides).

  1. Inhale and sweep your arms up overhead.
  2. Exhale, releasing your arms as you fold forward.
  3. Inhale, slightly lifting your torso up, and step your left foot, then right foot back into Plank Pose, keeping your shoulders aligned directly over your wrists.
  4. Exhale down to a half push-up (Chaturanga) or Knees-Chest-Chin Pose by bending your knees, lowering your chest and chin to the mat and arching your back.
  5. Now inhale and move your upper body into a Upward Facing dog pose or Cobra Pose, where you roll your shoulders back and keeping your elbows close to your body with your legs and feet extended.
  6. Follow with an exhale into a Downward Facing Dog.
  7. Now lift your left leg up, extending it back behind you, as far as it feels comfortable.
  8. Inhaling, step your left foot forward, towards the front of your mat, and in between your hands.
  9. Continue by sweeping your arms above your head with your palms facing one another, keeping your gaze upward.
  10. Now inhale and lightly touch your palms down onto your mat, straighten your elbows, then lift your front torso away from your thighs. Lengthen the front of your torso as you straighten out your spine.
  11. Exhale, releasing your arms as you fold forward.
  12. Inhale and sweep your arms up overhead again and finish this sequence in a Tall Mountain Pose.

3 Focus Areas

  • Strengthening your arms, shoulders and legs
  • Aids digestion
  • Relieves back pain

4 Sun Salutations - Tips

Although tempting, do not overextend your left leg when lifting back behind you. Remember, it takes time and regular practice to find flexibility in this particular pose! Always listen to your body and do what feels comfortable.

5 Alignment

If your palms don’t reach your mat, don’t worry! Simply place them on yoga blocks in front of you, or place them on your shins/thighs, to ensure that you are still able to straighten your spine.