Completing Surya Namaskara Sun Salutation

To complete your Salute to the Sun, repeat the preceding movements, reversing the order of your lunges: Step the left leg back (Position 5) and forward (Position 10), instead of the right. Performing these two movement sequences constitutes one full round of Sun Salutation.

Fig. YPS.1m: Upward Hands Pose—Arms Alongside Ears
Fig. YPS.1n: Hands at Center Breast
Fig. YPS.1o: Mountain Pose

Once you've done the Sun Salutation on both sides of the body, congratulate yourself! You've just completed one full round of the Sun Salutation series. If this is your first time practicing yoga, you've just taken one of the most important steps that you can in your practice of yoga and your pursuit of healthy, stress-free living. If you're already practicing yoga, you already know the many benefits of the Sun Salutation.

This one sequence of movements provides a nearly perfect full-body workout. When performed correctly and completely, it stretches, tones, and strengthens virtually every muscle group in the body. It also helps to improve circulation and improve joint mobility. It is both relaxing and energizing at the same time. No wonder the ancient sages used this practice to start their days and salute the sun—the symbol of the divine radiance within each one of us. If you don't have time to do a full yoga routine, doing just several rounds of Sun Salutation during the day can be an important ingredient in your overall fitness and well-being program.

If you have been practicing yoga for some time, you might want to vary your practice of the Sun Salutation series by incorporating a greater sense of flow into your routine. This will help you experience a more flowing, rather than static, approach to yoga practice. If you'd like to challenge yourself further in Sun Salutation series, execute several rounds of Sun Salutation without stopping, flowing steadily and rhythmically on each inhalation and exhalation from one position to the next. In this way, you'll be incorporating vinyasa, or uninterrupted seamless flow, with the breath into your practice.

As you practice yoga, learn to listen to your body. Be sure not to push yourself beyond your limits. Be aware of your body's needs, which can change from day to day and from pose to pose. Yoga can be challenging, but it is not meant to be stressful. If you need to, lighten up on your practice and modify the poses to suit your individual needs. Yoga can be both invigorating and restorative. Remember to tune in to and pay attention to your breath: Your breath is your greatest teacher.

If you are new to yoga, or are still working to develop your flexibility and stamina while performing yoga, it's important to be able to rest and renew yourself during your yoga practice. The following asanas are powerful restorative poses.

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