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Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara)

1 exercise, 3 - 6 minutes

This is an excellent warm-up exercise before a kriya, and is beneficial as an exercise in its own right. It increases cardiac activity and circulation, stretches and bends the spine, massages the inner organs, aids the digestive system, exercises the lungs, and oxygenates the blood.

Synchronize your breath with the movements to create an uninterrupted rhythm throughout the sequence of positions. Start by practicing three rounds and then gradually increase to five or six. When practiced with awareness, this improves one's ability to maximize performance and enjoyment of all yoga postures.

1. Standing Straight (Samasthiti): Stand up straight, feet together, toes and heels touching, weight evenly distributed between both feet. Find your balance. The arms are by your sides, fingers together.

2. Stretching Up: Inhale, bring your arms up over your head, palms touching. Elongate the spine, lifting the chest and relaxing your shoulders.

3. Front Bend (Uttanasana): Exhale and bend your torso forward. As you bend forward, keep your spine straight, elongating it as if reaching forward with the top of the head. When the spine can no longer be held straight, relax the head as close to the knees as possible. Keep knees straight and place hands on the floor on either side of the feet, with fingertips and tips of the toes in line. Gaze at the tip of the nose.

4. Raise Head Up: Inhale, raise the head up, straighten the spine, keeping the hands or fingertips on the floor. Gaze at the Third Eye Point.

5. Push-up (Chaturanga Dandasana): Exhale and bend the knees, stepping or jumping back so that the legs are straight out behind, balancing on the bottoms of the bent toes. Elbows are bent, hugging the rib cage, and palms are flat on the floor under the shoulders, with fingers spread wide apart. The body is in a straight line from forehead to ankles.

6. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): From this position, inhale, straighten the elbows and arch the back. Stretch through the upper back so that there is no pressure on the lower spine. Point the forehead at the sky and gaze at the tip of the nose. Fingers are spread wide apart.

7. Triangle Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana): Exhale, lift the hips up so that the body is balanced in an inverted "V" shape. Feet and palms are flat on the floor; elbows and knees straight. Fingers are spread wide apart. Gaze toward the navel and hold this position for five breaths. Inhale and jump or step back into Uttanasana (Front Bend).

8. Front Bend (Uttanasana): Exhale and bend forward into Uttanasana.

9. Stretching Up: Inhale and come all the way up into position 2.

10. Standing up (Samasthiti): Exhale and return to the starting position with arms by the sides.

This exercise can be found in the KRI International Teacher Training Manual Level 1