Sun Salutations: 3 minutes to morning relaxation

Posted on December 16th, 2014 by Seth Nickinson

Stretching in the morning is a time-honored way to loosen up muscles and joints, shake off sleep, and take a moment to greet the day. It can improve flexibility, range of motion, and circulation Even if you aren’t in the mood or shape, or have the time to do morning exercise, you can do just a quick stretch.

Recently I have discovered that a series of just three “sun salutations,” which take less than 5 minutes, are good enough to work out some lower back ache and warm me up on a cold winter day. These poses are borrowed from Hatha yoga, but require no yoga experience. There is a video below with modifications for larger bodies, as well.

As always, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise practice, especially if you have any special health concerns.

Check out the images (click to make larger) and videos below to see how easy it is!

Sun Salutation Sequence Images




sun salutation 12 poses

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printable PDF of instructions and images

Surya Namaskar – “Salute to the Sun”

surya namaskar 12 positions

Image Credit:

Written Instructions


1. Stand feet parallel and hip width apart with palms together in front of your chest.

2. Allow your fingertips to rise overhead. Push hips forward and bend backwards.

3. Come up and extend your body forward bending at your hips while raising your tailbone. Bring palms or fingertips to the floor next to your feet.

4. Bend your left leg and position your right leg back in a lunge position.

5. Bring your left foot back next to your right foot, keeping arms straight.

6. Bend your knees and lower your knees, chest, and chin to the floor.

7. Sweep your chest and chin upward, straightening your arms

8. Lift your tailbone, allowing your hips to rise while pressing palms and feet into the floor.

9. Bend your right leg bringing your left foot back into a lunge position.

10. Straighten your right leg bring your left foot forward beside the right foot, keep palms to the floor while raising the tailbone.

11. Slowly come up bringing palms overhead. Push hips forward and bend back.

12. Come back to standing position with palms together in front of your chest.

Most Important: Remember to breathe! The rule of thumb concerning breathing in yoga is to breathe in on the backward bends and breathe out on the forward bends. 

Printable PDF of the instructions with little images


Guided Sun Salutation Videos

Lots of details on proper positioning:

Simple 3-minute instruction in a small apartment, clearly emphasizing breathing

Modified for Larger Bodies

Instructional Walk-Through for a First-Timer