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SUN SALUTATION (SURYA NAMASKAR)

The Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar limbers up the whole body in preparation for the asanas. It is a graceful sequence of twelve positions performed as one continuous exercise. Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing. Practiced daily it will great flexibility to your spine and joints and trims your waist.

One round of Sun Salutation consists of two sequences, the first leading with the right foot in positions 4 and 9 (as illustrated), the second leading with the left. Keep your hands in one place from positions 3 to 10 and try to coordinate your movements with your breathing. Start by practicing four rounds and gradually build up to twelve rounds.

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1. Stand erect with feet together and palms in the prayer position in front of your chest. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Exhale. 2. Inhaling, stretch your arms up and arch back from the waist, pushing the hips out, legs straight. Relax your neck. 3. Exhaling, fold forward, and press your palms down, fingertips in line with toes - bend your knees if necessary.
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4. Inhaling, bring the right (or left) leg back and place the knee on the floor. Arch back and look up, lifting your chin. 5. Retaining the breath, bring the other leg back and support your weight on hands and toes. Keep your head and body in line and look at the floor between your hands. 6. Exhaling, lower your knees, then your chest and then your forehead, keeping your hips up and toes curled under.
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