Half Sun Salutation

A half sun salutation is the part of the full sequence that is done at the front of your mat before you step or jump back. (See the full sun salutation if you are confused). It is often used as a warm-up for the longer sequence and is a good way to start a home practice session. And sometimes a whole-body reach toward the sky followed by a little forward-bending hamstring stretch is all you need.

On your first few rounds, feel free to spend several breaths in each pose as you transition your body and mind into your practice. Move to the next pose when you a ready on an inhalation or exhalation as designated. As you warm up, try to do the sequence matching each breath with a movement.

1
Mountain Pose - Tadasana

Mountain Pose - Tadasana
Mountain Pose - Tadasana. Ann Pizer

Begin by standing at the front of your mat in mountain pose. Take time to set up your alignment. Bring your shoulders over your hips and your hips over your heels. Roll your shoulder blades down your back. Engage your thigh muscles, lifting your knee-caps. You can either bring the hands into anjali mudra or let the arms hang at your sides with the palms turned forward. Take five to ten ujjayi breaths to arrive fully in the present moment.

2
Raised Arms Pose - Urdhva Hasatansana

Raised Hands Pose - Urdhva Hastasana
Raised Hands Pose - Urdhva Hastasana. Ben Goldstein

Inhale.

Reach your straight arms out to either side and overhead to urdhva hastasana. You can bring your two palms to touch or keep them shoulder's distance apart. Either way, keep the shoulders relaxing down away from the ears. Bring your gaze to your upraised hands.

3
Forward Bend - Uttanasana

Standing Forward Bend - Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend - Uttanasana. Ann Pizer

Exhale.
Swan dive over your legs into a forward fold. Lead with your chest. You can bend your knees slightly if you like. Let your head hang heavy, make sure that to keep some of your weight in the balls of your feel. If you lean too heavily into the heels, your hips will move back, bringing them out of alignment.

4
Flat Back - Ardha Uttanasana

Half Forward Bend - Ardha Uttanasana
Half Forward Bend - Ardha Uttanasana. Ann Pizer

Inhale.
Lift up to your finger tips, raise your head, and come to a flat back. For many people, bringing your hands to your shins is going to be a better position for flattening your back. You can actually place your hands anywhere on your legs that allows for a straight spine. Try to keep the pressure on your legs light.

5
Forward Bend - Uttanasana

Standing Forward Bend - Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend - Uttanasana. Ann Pizer

Exhale.
Fold deeply over your legs to return to uttanasana. Pull your belly in toward your spine to make more room for your forward fold. If you want to take a few extra breaths here to deepen your stretch, go ahead. Some people like to grab opposite elbows and just hang. You can also grab your big toes for a little traction as you forward bend.

6
Raised Arms Pose - Urdhva Hastasana

Raised Hands Pose - Urdhva Hastasana
Raised Hands Pose - Urdhva Hastasana. Ben Goldstein

Inhale.
Reverse your swan dive to return to urdhva hastasana. Lead with your chest, just as you did on the way down. When you get to the top, make sure your shoulders didn't get scrunched up along the way. 

7
Mountain Pose - Tadasana

Mountain Pose - Tadasana
Mountain Pose - Tadasana. Ann Pizer

Exhale.
End back where you began, in mountain pose. Release your arms back by your sides and slide your shoulder blades down your back. Take several full, deep inhales and exhales before beginning the sequence again. If you feel ready, you can move on to a full sun salutation from here. 

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