salutations to the sun is a complete spiritual practice. do 3-12 rounds at your own pace.

Please note. This should not be practised by people suffering from high blood pressure, coronary artery dis­eases, or by those who have had a stroke, as it may overstimulate or damage a weak heart or blood vessel system. It should also be avoided in cases of hernia or intestinal tuberculosis. People with back conditions should consult a medical ex­pert before commencing this practice. Conditions such as slipped disc and sciatica will be better managed through an alternative program.

During the onset of menstruation, this practice should be avoided. If there are no adverse effects, the practice may be resumed towards the end of the period.

During pregnancy, it may be practised with care until the beginning of the twelfth week. Following childbirth, it may be commenced approximately forty days after delivery for re-toning the uterine muscles.

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Position 1 : PRAYER

Keep the eyes closed. Remain standing upright with the feet together. Slowly bend the elbows and place the palms together in front of the chest, mentally offering homage to the sun, the source of all life. Relax the whole body.

BREATHING Breathe normally.
AWARENESS On the chest area.

MANTRA
Om Mitraya Namaha
salutations to the friend of all.


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Position 2: RAISED ARMS

Seperate the hands, raise and stretch both arms above the head, keeping them shoulder width apart. Bend the head, arms and upper trunk slightly backward.

BREATHING Inhale while raising the arms.
AWARENESS On the stretch of the abdomen and expansion of the lungs.

MANTRA
Om Ravaye Namaha
Salutations to the shining one.

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POSITION 3 : hand to foot

Bend forward from the hips until the fingers or palms of the hands touch the floor on either side of the feet. Bring the forehead as close to the knees as is comfortable. Do not strain. Keep the knees straight.

BREATHING Exhale while bending forward. Contract the abdomen in the final position to expel the maximum amount of air from the lungs.
AWARENESS On the back and pelvic region.

MANTRA
Om Suryaya Namaha
Salutations to he who induces activity.

Contra-indications: People with back conditions should not bend forward fully. Bend from the hips, keeping the spine straight, until the back forms a ninety degree angle with the legs, or bend only as far as is comfortable.

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position 4 : equestrian

Place the hands on the floor beside the feet. Stretch the right leg back as far as is comfortable and grasp the floor with the toes. At the same time, bend the left knee, keeping the left foot on the floor in the same position. Keep the arms straight. In the final position, the weight of the body should be supported on both hands, the left foot, right knee and toes of the right foot. The head should be tilted backward, the back arched and the inner gaze directed upward to the eyebrow centre.

BREATHING Inhale while stretching the right leg back.
AWARENESS On the stretch from the thigh through the lower back, and on the eyebrow centre while balancing.

MANTRA
Om Bhanave Namaha
Salutations to he who illumines.

Contra-indications: The full stretch is not advised for people with knee or ankle problems.

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position 5 : mountain

Keep the hands and right foot still, and take the left foot back beside the right foot. Simultaneously, raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms so that the back and legs form two sides of a triangle. The legs and arms straighten in the final position and the heels come down towards the floor in the final pose. Bring the head and shoulders towards the knees. Do not strain.

BREATHING Exhale while taking the left leg back.
AWARENESS On the stretch through the Achilles tendons, the back of the legs, shoulders and throat region, and on relaxing the hips.

MANTRA
Om Khagaya Namaha
Salutations to he who moves quickly in the sky.

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position 6 : salute of eight parts/points

Keep the hands and feet in place. Lower the knees, chest and chin to the floor; the feet will come up on to the toes. In the final position only the toes, knees, chest, hands and chin touch the floor. The knees, chest and chin should touch the floor simultaneously. If this is not possible, first lower the knees, then the chest, and fmally the chin. The buttocks, hips and abdomen should be raised.

BREATHING The breath is held out in this pose. There is no respiration.
AWARENESS On the arch in the lower back and on the abdominal region.

MANTRA
Om Pushne Namaha
Salutations to the giver of strength.

Contra-indications: People with serious back problems, high blood pressure or heart conditions should not do this practice.

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position 7 : cobra

Keep the hands and feet in place. Slide the chest forward and raise first the head, the shoulders, then, straightening the elbows, arch the back into the cobra pose. This will lower the buttocks and hips to the floor. Bend the head back and direct the gaze upward to the eyebrow centre. The thighs and hips remain on the floor and the arms support the trunk. Unless the spine is very flexible the arms will remain slightly bent.

BREATHING Inhale while raising the torso and arching the back.
AWARENESS On relaxation of the spine.

MANTRA
Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha
Salutations to the golden, cosmic self.

Contra-indications: Not advised for people suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis or hyperthyroidism.

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Position 8 : mountain

The hands and feet do not move from position 7. From Cobra assume Mountain pose. Keep the arms and legs straight, grip the floor with the toes and use the strength of the arms to raise the buttocks and lower the heels to the floor.

BREATHING Exhale while raising the buttocks.
AWARENESS On the stretch through the Achilles tendons, the back of the legs, shoulders and throat region, and on relaxing the hips.

MANTRA
Om Marichaye Namaha
Salutations to the Lord of the Dawn.

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position 9 : equestrIAn

Keep the palms flat on the floor and the right foot in place. Bend the left leg and bring the left foot forward between the hands. Simultaneously, lower the right knee so that it touches the floor and push the pelvis forward. Tilt the head backward, arch the back and gaze at the eyebrow centre.

BREATHING Inhale while assuming the pose.
AWARENESS On the stretch from the thigh through the lower back, and on the eyebrow centre while balancing.

MANTRA
Om Adityaya Namaha
Salutations to the son of Aditi, the cosmic Mother.

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Position 10 : hand to foot

Bring the right foot forward next to the left foot. Straighten both legs. Bring the forehead as close to the knees as possible without straining.

BREATHING Exhale while performing the movement.
AWARENESS On the back and pelvic region.

MANTRA
Om Savitre Namaha
Salutations to the Lord of Creation.

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Position 11 : raised arms

Keep the arms and spine in a straight line. Raise the torso and stretch the arms above the head. Keep the arms separated, shoulder width apart. Bend the head, arms and upper trunk backward slightly.

BREATHING Inhale while straightening the body.
AWARENESS On the stretch of the abdomen and expansion of the lungs.

MANTRA
Om Arkaya Namaha
Salutations to he who is fit to be praised.

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position 12 : prayer

Bring the palms together in front of the chest.

BREATHING Exhale while assuming the final position.
AWARENESS On the chest area.

MANTRA
Om Bhaskaraya Namaha
Salutations to he who leads to enlightenment.

Positions 1 to 12 constitute half a round.
On the completion of each half round, lower the arms to the side,
relax the body and concentrate on the breath until it returns to normal.

Positions 13-24: In the second half, the positions are repeated with two small changes related to Equestrian:
a) In position 16, instead of stretching the right foot backward, stretch the left foot back.
b) In position 21, bend the right leg and bring the right foot between the hands.

The twelve positions of Sun Salutation are practised twice to complete one round.
REST IN a relaxation pose FOR A FEW MINUTES AFTER THE THE DESIRED AMOUNT OF ROUNDS.

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Text: Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha
Swami Satyananada Saraswati
Yoga Publications Trust, Munger, Bihar, India
Illustrations: Elly-Lynne Tiburcio