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Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)

With Dr Kiki Morriss

Throughout 2022, OM will take you on a journey through all the key poses that make up Sun Salutation, perhaps yoga’s most graceful and familiar sequence

In 2022, I will be taking you on a journey through the poses that make up the Sun Salutation. Month by month I will look in depth at each one of the foundation poses that create this graceful and familiar sequence.

Whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing for years, this guide will inform and deepen your practice. I look forward to you following along and learning with me through the year.

Here are the foundation poses:

  • January Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  • February Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
  • March Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
  • April Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
  • May Plank & Chaturanga Dandasana (Four- Limbed Staff Pose)
  • June Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) & Cobra (Bhujangasana)
  • July Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

For the rest of 2022, we will study some poses that can be added to the Sun Salutation sequence to create diversity within the flow.

  • August Warrior I
  • September Warrior II
  • October Jumping Through from Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) to Staff Pose (Dandasana)
  • November Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
  • December Child’s Pose (Balasana)


  • The Sun Salutation is traditionally performed at dawn, facing the rising sun in the east. It prepares the body, mind and emotions for a session of yoga asanas, but can also form the practice itself.
  • The poses are performed as a continuous sequence and are practiced as a meditation through movement. The sequence is an optimal way to start your day in a positive frame of mind, as you bend and stretch your body. It can also be used as a pickme-up in the afternoon or as a prelude to a good night’s sleep.
  • The Sun Salutation begins and ends with Mountain Pose, when the body is perfectly still. As Vanda Scaravelli explains: “This is the most important pose. Do it right and all the others will follow.”


  • As you move through the Sun Salutation sequence, you co-ordinate your movements with your breath, so each of the poses is accompanied by either an inhalation or an exhalation.
  • You breathe in and out through your nose and your diaphragm muscle rhythmically contracts and relaxes, massaging your abdominal organs and improving their function.


  • Practicing the Sun Salutation benefits your body on many levels
  • It is an aerobic form of yoga that increases your heart rate and boosts your cardiac output, whilst creating heat from muscle metabolism. In order to release this heat, your body sweats and your surface blood vessels dilate. This aids in the release of toxins and gives your skin a healthy glow.
  • Each pose counteracts the previous one and stretches the body in a different way. The alternate expansion and contraction of your chest helps to regulate your breathing.
  • In the Sun Salutation you move your joints through a wide range of motions. This action squeezes synovial fluid into the joint capsules, bringing essential nutrients to the articular cartilage. If practiced regularly, the sequence gives lasting health and flexibility to your spine and joints.
  • As your muscles are rhythmically contracted and stretched, the blood supply increases and the pliability of ligaments and tendons is enhanced. Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong and healthy, as well as preventing injury.
  • When you make the Sun Salutation sequence a part of your every day routine, you will deepen your understanding of your body. Some days your body will feel tense and tired, whilst on other days it will feel supple and full of energy. You can use the Sun Salutation to listen carefully to your body and respect the messages it gives you.


  • The repetitive and rhythmic nature of the Sun Salutation helps to calm and focus the mind. As you move your body through the sequence, keep bringing your attention back to your breath. Be aware when your mind wanders and practice being mindful of the reality of the present moment.
  • The Sun Salutation is an opportunity to salute the areas of your life that you are grateful for. Make an intention at the beginning of your practice, as you stand tall in Mountain Pose, and allow this to carry through to the rest of your day.


  • I am excited to take this journey with you through the Sun Salutation. See you in January 2022 for a detailed look at Mountain Pose……
Sun Salutation
*Images for illustrative purposes only

Doctor Kiki Morriss is a medical doctor, yoga teacher, yoga therapist and founder of Primrose Hill Yoga, where she teaches adults, children and families. Visit: or

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