Anyone who regularly practices yoga (of any variety) is likely to be familiar with the concept of the sun salutation (or Surya Namaskar – in Sanskrit). This dynamic series of poses is often repeated (with many variations) throughout a yoga practice and can be meditative or energising depending on the pace and purpose of your practice.
If you are beginning to learn yoga, sun salutations are a great place to start and regular practice of them will yield toned muscles quite quickly.
For more information on the history and a detailed breakdown of the sun salutation, Richard Rosen has written an excellent article for Yoga Journal.
If you would like to be inspired by a perfectly executed Surya Namaskar A (there are two common variations in Ashtanga yoga) – this video from Kino Macgregor shows standard and more advanced options with such grace that you will yearn to get started!
Less common is the sister sequence – the moon saluation (Chandra Namaskar). This more contemplative sequence is thought to be a wonderful way to wind down at the end of the day, melting away stress and tension.
Yoga Journal also offers a detailed exploration of the Chandra Namaskar, showing Shiva Rea demonstrating the moves from a sequence home-practicers may enjoy. There are also some lovely videos featuring Shiva Rea in lunar yoga sequences available on You Tube, which would be ideal as a calm close-of-day practice.