Surya Namaskara, the Sun Salutation, is a pose that involves a sequence of twelve separate, flowing movements. Although it is taught as one of the basic postures, the Sun Salutation is not as easy as it looks. It should be taught by an instructor, as it contains backward, forward, and inverted positions.
Surya Namaskara is the prayer pose and a good warm-up. It is a prayer to the sun. Surya is “sun,” and namaskara is “to bow.” In the Sun Salutation, you literally bow gratefully to the sun. (Of course, it’s nice if you can face the sun, but obviously that doesn’t always happen.) The Sun Salutation is a wonderful exercise to greet the day, but make sure your body is warmed up. The body is not supple upon rising. You may need to take a warm shower to warm up your body. Some people use the practice of Surya Namaskara as their daily warm-up; others prefer to stretch before doing Surya Namaskara. Numerous poses in yoga evolve from the Sun Salutation. Surya Namaskara has something for the entire body, and many yogi masters postulate that if you do only one posture in your yoga practice, it should be the Sun Salutation. It limbers, stretches, and benefits the entire body.
Note: If you suffer from high blood pressure, are pregnant, or have eye problems, seek medical advice before starting the Sun Salutation.