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How to Do the 7-Step Yoga Kneeling Sun Salutation

If you aren’t quite ready to tackle the 12-step sun salutation, the following 7-step variation can give you many Yogic benefits and also help you get in shape for the standing variety. Use focus, chest-to-belly, or belly-to-chest breathing techniques and follow these steps.

Just follow your breath — inhale when you’re opening, exhale when you’re folding. Move slowly, pausing after each inhalation and exhalation.

  1. Sit on your heels in a bent-knee position, bring your back up nice and tall, and place your palms together in the prayer position with the thumbs touching the sternum (breastbone) in the middle of your chest.

  2. As you inhale, open your palms and slightly raise your arms forward and then up and overhead; raise your buttocks away from your heels, arch your back, and look up at the ceiling.

  3. As you exhale, bend forward slowly from the hips, placing your palms, forearms, and then your forehead on the floor and pause relaxing your hip.

  4. Slide your hands forward on the floor until your arms are extended and then slide your chest forward, bending your elbows slightly, and arch up into cobra II.

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  5. As you exhale, turn your toes under, raise your hips up, extend your legs, and bring your chest down keeping both hands on the floor for the downward-facing dog.

  6. As you inhale, bend your knees to the floor and look straight ahead.

  7. As you exhale, sit back on your heels and return your hands to the saluting position as in Step 1.

Repeat the entire sequence 3 to 12 times.

If you are not able to sit on your heels in Steps 1 and 7, simply keep your palms in prayer position and stand on your knees instead. You can also fold a blanket under your knees for comfort.

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