What is a sun salutation?
Sun Salutations (or Surya Namaskar) are traditionally performed in the morning to greet the beginning of a new day and to essentially 'salute the sun'. The sequence of 8 postures can be a complete practice in itself, or can prepare you mentally, physically and emotionally for a longer asana practice.
How many times should I do it?
If you are a beginner Sun Salutations can be quite strong for the body. The flow is designed to warm up your muscles and increase heat and energy within the body. I generally recommend 4 sun salutations at the beginning of a class. You can increase or decrease this depending on the purpose of your practice. Each time you flow through this sequence, synchronize your breath with the movements of your body. Allow your inhale and exhale to move you to the next pose.
Want to know the Sanskrit names for each pose?
Sun Salutation A ~ Surya Namaskar A
Mountain Pose ~ Tadasana
Upward Salute ~ Urdhva Hastasana
Forward Fold ~ Uttanasana
Standing Half Forward Bend ~ Ardha Uttanasana
Plank Pose ~ Phalakasana
Lowering Down ~ Chatarunga Dandasana
Upward Facing Dog ~ Urdha Mukha Svanasana
Downward Facing Dog ~ Adho Mukha Svanasana