Sun Salutations: What You’re Doing Wrong

We have said it before and we will say it again – sun salutations are the best way to wake up fresh and welcome a new day! We do them five times a week as soon as we wake up. This puts us in the right mindset to tackle the rest of our busy day! They are a good cardio workout, they help to build strength throughout the body and they are great for kick-starting your metabolism and digestive system first thing in the morning… but are you doing them correctly?


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As master yoga teachers, we often see people making the same mistakes during sun salutations. They are common errors that can lead to injuries if not corrected… luckily, they are easily fixed! It is all about alignment and correct practice, and once you have the technique right, you’ve got yourself a safe, easy-to-do-anywhere morning exercise routine!


So, what are these mistakes and how can they be fixed? This is where we are often correcting students in our studios – where do you need correcting?


Elbows out during Chatarunga pushups


People often have their elbows sticking out to the sides when they are doing their Chatarunga pushups. This is incorrect and can cause strain on the shoulders, elbows and wrists. The correct way is to keep the elbows close to the body, so that they point behind you when bent. This can be quite strenuous at first, especially if you are used to doing them the incorrect way. If so, lower the knees to the floor and use this option until you have built up enough strength to do it the correct way. Remember, it is more important to get the technique right before practicing with the more advanced option!


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Curved spine in Downward Facing Dog


While this is a restorative pose and should be more about what it feels like than what it looks like, it is still important to get the fundamentals right. One of these is the spine alignment. Many people hunch over or round their spine during this pose, when they should be actively directing their chest towards their thighs. This accentuates the triangular shape this pose is aiming for, but also keeps the back straight. By doing this, you will find less pressure on the shoulders and wrists and the pose will become more comfortable and relaxing.


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The timing of sun salutations


Especially during home practice, it is important that you get the timing right in sun salutations. This practice derives from Vinyasa yoga, meaning movement with breath. Team each movement with a breath, concentrating on keeping your breathing pattern even. Many people rush through sun salutations and forget about the breath, which means they are not connecting their body and mind and are probably not holding the poses for the right amount of time. The longer you hold each pose, the more benefits you are getting – so slow down that breath and hold!


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For a full set of in-depth sun salutation instructions, click HERE



Mike & Suz 🙂


Are you a perfectionist? If so, you probably strive for the perfect pose every time! If you want to learn the ins and outs of each pose and get technical about your practice, why not become a yoga instructor? That way, you will not only be a master of your own practice, but will also be able to help others to master theirs! For more info, click HERE!