The Tradition of Sun Salutations

Our primary source of light is the sun. For thousands of years, Hindus have adored the sun, as both the physical and spiritual heart of our world and the creator of all life itself.

One of the means of honouring the sun is through the asana sequence Surya Namaskar (better known as Sun Salutation). The Sanskrit word namaskarstems from namas, means “to bow to”, “to adore” or “to salute” and Surya is a Sanskrit word that means the Sun.

There’s some disagreement over the origins of Sun Salutation.

Traditionalists believe that the sequence is at least 2,500 years old. However, sceptics of this dating maintain that Sun Salutation was invented in the early 20th century, then publicised in the West in the 1920s or 1930s.

However old Sun Salutation is, and whatever it may originally have looked like, many variations have evolved over the years.

Traditionally, Sun Salutation is best performed outdoors. Facing east-the location of the rising sun. This might be a perfect wake-up routine in India, where it’s usually warm outside, but it’s probably not feasible in Ireland most days.

Nowadays, Sun Salutation is used mostly as a preliminary warm-up for an asana session.

The Asana Practice

The basic postures of classical sun salutaions, in order of performance, are:

  • Tadasana(Mountain Pose)
  • Urdhva Hastasana(Upward Salute)
  • Uttanasana(Standing Forward Bend)
  • Anjaneyasana(Low Lunge)
  • Plank Pose
  • Chaturanga Dandasana(Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
  • Urdhva Mukha Svanasana(Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana(Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
  • Anjaneyasana(Low Lunge)
  • Uttanasana(Standing Forward Bend)
  • Urdhva Hastasana(Upward Salute)
  • Tadasana(Mountain Pose)

You should practice the transition from posture to posture by either an inhalation or an exhalation. As you move through the sequence, watch your breath closely.

When practicing Sun Salutations, I recommend turning your awareness inward, toward your heart. Even try practicing with your eyes closed, this way you can focus on your breath more and connect with this beautiful movement on a deeper level.

Have a wonderful week everyone.

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Anna is currently completing her Yoga Teacher Training with YogaHub and is loving it. Teaching Yoga and Spirituality is her Dharma (life path) and she has a huge passion for writing. Anna loves writing about yoga, travel and spirituality. Her website is and all her social media is , you can read much more from her there. Love, Light & Namaste

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