The Sun Salutation Yoga Routine

What is it about?

Many stretching exercises isolate a single muscle or muscle group. And stretching the entire body can take quite a bit of time and energy. If you have limited time, the Sun Salutation is excellent because it stretches and strengthens all the major muscle groups in the body and exercises the respiratory system, in less than 3 minutes (one round).

The routine

Practiced in Yoga, the Sun Salutation is a series of 12 positions performed in a sequence to create a continuous flowing motion, accompanied by five deep breaths.

These 12 yoga positions and 5 deep breaths complete one sequence. One round of Sun Salutation consists of two sequences. To complete a round, you need to repeat the same sequence of poses and breaths, only moving the left leg instead of the right (in steps 4 and 9).

Here’s a video detailing the 12 positions and how to move from one posture to the next.

The exercise presented here is often referred to as “Sun Salutation A” (Surya Namaskara A). It includes the basic components of a Sun Salutation as understood in most styles of yoga.

As you move through the rounds, you will feel the joints moving more fluidly than when you began. Your body will start to heat, and your heart rate may pick up gently. The breath should remain steady. Always breathe through your nose only, as this warms the air and provides a meditative aspect to your practice. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.

You can start by doing one round (3min) every day on the first week. Then add one round to your routine each week until you reach full warm-up (5 to 10 rounds). You can combine the Sun Salutation with the One-Minute Meditation to enjoy a complete meditative experience.

When to practice

Sun Salutation is an excellent full-body exercise that stretches, flexes and tones the muscles. It builds heat in the body and is often used as a warm-up sequence for a yoga practice or workout.

It is also a great exercise to add to your morning routine to wake up the body from a night’s rest by warming up the major muscle groups and joints, releasing tension, while the deep breaths contribute to calming the mind and reducing stress. You will start your day feeling healthier and more relaxed.

Take action

  • Lay your mat on the floor and position yourself at the top of it.
  • Focus on your breathing (through the nose) while you carry out the exercise.
  • Repeat the same sequence, only moving the left leg instead of the right (in steps 4 and 9) to complete one round.
  • Repeat as many rounds as you need to feel warmed up (5 to 10 rounds for full warm-up)


  • Calm the mind
  • Stretch the entire body
  • Quick and easy
  • Feel more relaxed, less stressed
  • Excellent warm-up
  • Can be done anywhere (all you need is a mat)


  • Do 1 Sun Salutation round every day for a 1 week
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  • Do 2 Sun Salutation rounds every day for 2 weeks
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  • Do 5 Sun Salutation rounds every day for 1 month
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