Sun Salutations: Celebrating Life & Practicing Balanced Fitness

06/07/2013 Yoga Personal Growth Yoga

Sun Salutations have been described as the most complete mental and physical exercise available, since they include the three major components of balanced fitness: flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular conditioning.


Our body posture can be an indicator of how we are feeling. We sit with our backs straight when we are alert; we slouch when we are tired, and so on. As we bring awareness into our bodies, we tend to change postures so we can get more comfortable. In turn, as we change postures it results in a spontaneous shift in our awareness. This feedback loop between body awareness and body positioning is part of the practice of yoga.

Yoga can revitalize your mind as well as your body. In general, yoga practice includes two of the major components of balanced fitness: flexibility and strength. If you add Sun Salutations to the mix, you incorporate the third major component of balanced fitness: cardiovascular conditioning.

What are Sun Salutations?

Sun Salutations, known in Sanskrit as Surya Namaskar  (pronounced Sir-yah- Namah-skar), are a series of movements that flow with the breath. The movements accompany your breathing to help strengthen the heart, improve circulation, and lengthen and strengthen all major muscles in the body. Sun Salutations have been described as the most complete mental and physical exercise available. Sun Salutations yoga poses can help strengthen your various muscle groups, while also helping you focus on your breathing and improve your circulation.

Sun Salutations that Help You Radiate Your Essential Self

Even if you do not have time to work out on a regular basis, performing Sun Salutations every day will bring vitality and aliveness into your life. The twelve yoga postures included in the Sun Salutation series are designed to awaken the connection between the sun and your agni, or inner fire. As you kindle your inner fire, you can radiate your innate love and happiness out into the world by practicing this form of moving meditation.

As we perform Sun Salutations to celebrate the sun, we also celebrate life in general as well as our inner life and our connection with the universe. We celebrate life because the poses in the Sun Salutation series represent the full experience of life, with all its highs and lows, and beginnings and endings. We celebrate our inner life because we are ultimately beings of light, like the sun, and performing Sun Salutations rejoices in this aspect of our being. We celebrate our connection with the universe because the sun is the source of all life on this planet.

For more information on Sun Salutations, refer to The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga book.

Sun Salutations: Yoga Series & Poses

Using your arms, legs, and core strength, Sun Salutations can help make a difference in your health and wellbeing. From standing poses that open up your chest to poses such as the mountain pose and cobra pose, this series of yoga poses will stretch your hamstrings, build core strength, lift your chest to enhance your breathing, and more. To increase your level of energy, nurture your connection with mind-body-spirit, and enhance your liveliness, try the following Sun Salutation yoga sequence.

Sun Salutations

woman doing sun salutations

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About the Author

Teresa Long

Chopra Center Educator and Director of Certifications
Teresa Long is the Director of the Chopra Center Certification Programs. She oversees all of the Chopra Center’s certification programs and is the connection to the global network of worldwide certified instructors. She is a certified Vedic Educator, Ayurvedic Consultant, and an E-RYT 200 and 500-hour yoga teacher. She has been certified with the Chopra Center to teach Primordial Sound Meditation, Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, and Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle classes. She is one of the lead educators at the Chopra Center and supportively guides guests on the Teachers Path to successfully complete their certifications and share the knowledge of yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation...Read more