My 20 Pose Sun Salutation | Beginner's Yoga with Natalie

by - 12:00:00 PM

Hey guys! I have come a long way from the first day I started doing yoga and I still have a lot to learn yet (so bear with me!). However, I have also learned so much already and I would like to share a very easy or, at least "try-able", Sun Salutation that I created that anyone can do; inside and outside! I also added a couple of my favorite poses! All of my friends ask about how I do yoga, so I wanted to show you all what I normally go through during a practice. I will take you guys through step by step and teach you the proper way to do each pose. I hope you guys enjoy! 

If you are new to yoga and you're asking me, "Natalie, why are we saluting the sun?", well I'll tell yuh! A Sun Salutation is a flow sequence of postures or asanas, in Sanskrit, that are done to improve your flexibility, strength, and overall mentality. For many cultures, light has been a very vital symbol that represents self-illumination and energy. Many years ago when yoga was created in India, the sun was one of the most influential parts behind it. Hindus would honor the "eye of the world" by doing these postures. It connects you with the earth and your conscious self. There are many different variations of the Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation), so here is mine:

01. Child's Pose (Bālāsana)
Normally, we start out yoga with Child's Pose. It gets you grounded and ready to start your Pranayama breathing that you do with every posture. Our instructor will tell us to spread your knees out wide and stretch for the top of our mats to keep this pose as active as possible. Sink down to your depth and you will really feel this in you hips because it is a great hip opening posture. 

***Remember: You always inhale as you go up and exhale as you go down in postures***

02. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain Pose is one of those poses that you always come back to throughout practice. You want to inhale and reach tall and lift your chest up as you gaze forward

03. Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Next is Forward Fold. This one, you exhale as you pass through heart center and reach for your mat. A little bend in your knees helps to stretch out your leg muscles.

04. Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)
After Forward Fold, inhale to Halfway Lift. Place your hands on your shins and pull your shoulders back in line, while making sure you keep a flat back. If someone were to put a cup on your back, it shouldn't fall off!

05. Plank (Phalakasana)
Okay, the hard stuff. Not many people love this part. This is just your average plank. You need to make sure you do it right, though! You are in a push up position really but, you need to make sure that your shoulders are stacked over your wrists, your gaze is straight down at your mat, you engage your core by sucking in your abs, and make sure your booty is not coming over your head.

06. Plank to Mid-Plank (Chaturunga Dandasana
I wanna say that I have done about a hundred Chaturungas in my time and to be honest, they aren't my favorite. You put a lot of pressure on your elbows, but doing this protects your muscles and your arms. So make sure to exhale and pin your elbows into your side body and lower down halfway (hence, Mid-Plank). Also, keep your knees lifted at all times and your toes are tucked under. 

07. Upward Dog (Urdhvamukhasvanasana)
Ahhh, the "back-cracking" posture. Inhale from Mid-Plank and rise to Upward Facing Dog. Still, keep your arms stacked over your wrist, keep your knees lifted, and your gaze up. Hopefully, you'll get a nice craaaaack as you do this in your back and it feels really good. 

08. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Now, you exhale and plant all fours down onto the mat. This is a great releaser pose to take a couple breaths. Fold over and make sure to look between your legs. Try to reach your head to your stomach to activate your core. You can "walk your dog" and bend each leg to get some blood flowing and stretch them each out. I like to do this when it's my first Downward Dog of the practice. 

09. Right Leg High/ One-Legged Dog (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Inhale your right or left leg high and get ready to go down into Front Lunge! It's important to raise your leg up high and flex your toes so you can really bend into the lunge. 

10. Lunge (Banarasana)
Exhale and sweep your right or left leg through to your hands. Keep your knee stacked over your ankle and make sure the leg that is not bent is straight and lifted, as well. 

11. Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Using your balance after you just lunged, inhale and lift up. Keep your back leg straight and your foot lifted. Align your front leg so that it is stacked and is not internally rotating, or in other words, make sure your front knee is straight with your foot. Bring your arms up high just like you did in Mountain Pose and lift your chest

12. Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)
I think everybody knows Warrior pose. A lot of people think of this pose when they think of yoga and I don't know why! 

You want to exhale, and whichever side you are on, pivot your front foot parallel to the front of your mat and drop your back foot. With a generous bend in your front leg, it is vital in this posture to not lean forward as you bend. I got into the habit of reaching forward and that's not the right way! Instead, stack (so many stacks!) your torso over your hips and reach your arms out wide as you gaze over your middle finger. 

All you have to do is repeat on each side and you've just passed your first yoga practice with me. This is my Sun Salutation! I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed making it! 

13. Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra)
Always end with a Namaste and put your hands together to seal your practice and acknowledge the presence and strength you have gained. Namaste pretty much means, "I bow to you", and that's why you do it! Whether you improved on a posture or just tried a new one, accepting your practice and bowing to your teacher shows the most honor and respect! 

My Favorite Poses

14. Star Pose (Utthita Tadasana)
This is one of my favorite poses because you feel so free doing it. A cool breeze and the sun on my face never felt so good! Inhale and spread your legs out wide and point your toes to the corner of your mat. Be free!

15. Standing Separate Leg Stretching (Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimotthanasana)
This mouthful-of-a-pose is really great to stretch out your legs! You go right into this after Star by inhaling and putting your arms out wide and "pigeon-toe" your feet inwards (which I forgot to do LOL). 
Then, you want to exhale and slowly lower down to your mat vertebrae by vertebrae, while also puffing up your chest as you do this. You can reach for whatever is accessible to you; whether that be your knees, shins, ankles, or your mat! If you want more of a stretch, move your legs closer together. 
You will be here for a while during a yoga practice so, you can stretch out your arms one by one or put your arms behind your back and connect your hands to open up your chest, too! To get out of this pose, do exactly what you did as you went into it; put your arms out wide and slowly rise back up. 

16. Headstand (Sirsasana
This is probably one of my greatest achievments in yoga. I never EVER thought that I could ever do an inversion (going upside down) in all of my yogi history. This takes a very long time to do but, you will get there eventually like I did! 

Start off by planting both hands on your mat and spread your elbows out wide like you're doing a wide push up. Place your head a little bit above them. It is important with this posture to always look forward to protect your neck and to concentrate, as well. Next, you play with bringing your knees into your body by using your ab strength. It helps to flex your abs and engage your core as you do this pose. 
Once you have successfully balanced both your legs into your body, begin to lift your legs up into the air. Try to make them straight but, then again, you're doing a freaking headstand anyway. Have someone snap a pic, too! If you fall, always tuck and roll!

17. Crow Pose/Flying Frog (Bakasana)
I love doing this pose so much. It literally feels like you're flying! You need a lot of arm strength and core strength but, heythat's yoga. 

Start by planting your hands like you were doing with the headstand. You want to spread your knees and hips wide like a frog! 
Using your very strong muscles, plant your knees onto your elbows like a shelf. Lean forward, while looking forward, and lift off your toes one by one until you start to balance. It helps to use a block underneath your head if you are afraid of falling. I've done it way too many times so don't be afraid to reach your depth!

18. Crescent Moon (Chandrasana)
Crescent pose is really nice to do at the beginning of your practice. It helps to stretch out your side body and your shoulders. To do this, start in Mountain Pose and interlock your fingers except your pointers (Prayer Grip). Extend up really high and bend right or left as far as you can! I can't go very far but, I have seen people transform into an actual crescent. Remember to look up the way your bending, too. 

19. Standing Bow Pulling Pose (Dandayamana Dhanurasana)
I wanted to give a little shout out to my photographer for this post; my best friend, Ellaby, who also is a beauty blogger and lover of yoga! Go checkout her blog here

To do Bow, lift up your left or right arm, sort of like a half Mountain Pose in a way. Catch your left or right ankle on the outside of your foot. Slowly lean forward, while kicking into your Bow and reaching forward as you do so. Look forward and Ta-da! 

20. Namaste
Yoga has taught me so many great things over the past couple of years and I cannot explain how happy I am to be able to share my passion with all of you! I hope you guys can at least try my Sun Salutation and become self-proclaimed Yogis like me! This is my variation and obviously I have a lot more to learn. Yoga has so many benefits and I think everyone should be doing it. It makes you mentally and physically stronger and better. If you guys would like to check out some yoga related things, here are some links:

You can get a free week trial, students and teachers get a member discount, and it's just a great community of yogis to practice with!

I love Adriene's channel so much! I don't find myself doing yoga videos a lot because I am a part of Corepower already, however, I do love to watch her videos when I want to learn new postures and flows!

What I Am Wearing:
Lululemon Racer-back in Static Blossom

This Memorial Day weekend is going to be quite the adventure; I am headed off to San Francisco! I will be taking many pictures and will be doing a follow up journal-type-post sometime next week or two once I download everything. I am so excited to visit California because it's my first time! Anything i should do while I'm there?

Namaste, Nat

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2 comments

  1. These are so cool! I've tried yoga before and tried most of these moves - I once created a routine for my fitness class :D My favourite poses are probably the warrior, the flying frog and the crescent moon and the standing bow pulling pose!

    Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ

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    1. That's awesome! I am still learning and I hope to improve and learn way more postures. XX

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