How to Do the Advanced 12-Step Yoga Sun Salutation
To enjoy the greatest benefit from all your Yoga postures, execute each part with full participation of your mind. When you stand, really stand; plant your feet firmly on the ground. When you bend or stretch, bend or stretch with complete attention. Your mind makes your practice not only elegant but also potent. Follow these steps:
Start in a standing position with your feet at hip width and place your palms together in the prayer position with your thumbs touching the sternum (breastbone) in the middle of your chest.
As you inhale, open your palms slightly and raise your arms forward and up and overhead; arch your back and look up at the ceiling.
As you exhale, bend forward from the hips, soften your knees, and place your hands on the floor; bring your head as close as possible to your legs.
As you inhale, bend your left knee and step your right foot back into a lunge.
Make sure that your left knee is directly over your ankle and your thigh is parallel to the floor, so that your knee forms a right angle. Look straight ahead.
As you exhale, step your left foot back beside the right and hold a push-up position; if your arms tire, bend your knees to the floor and pause on your hands and knees.
Inhale and then as you exhale, lower your knees (from the push-up), chest, and chin to the floor, keeping your buttocks up in the air.
As you inhale, slide your chest forward along the floor and then arch back into cobra II.
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.
As you inhale, step your right foot forward between your hands and look straight ahead.
As you exhale, step your left foot forward, parallel to and even with the right; soften your knees and fold into a forward bend as in Step 3.
As you inhale, raise your arms either forward and up overhead from the front, or out and up from the sides like wings, and then arch back and look up, as in Step 2.
If you have back problems, lifting up from the forward bend with your arms to the front or sides may cause you some discomfort. If so, try the roll up: Keep your chin on your chest and roll up, stacking the vertebrae one at a time, with your arms hanging at your sides, head coming up last.
When you’re fully upright, bring the arms forward, up, and overhead from the front, arch your back just a little, and look up.
As you exhale, return your hands to the prayer position as in Step 1.
Repeat the entire sequence 3 to 12 times. First lead with the right foot, and then alternate with the left foot, for an equal number of repetitions (each side counts as half a sequence).