I see a lot of information floating around tumblr about the sun salutation, but it’s usually the sun salutation typically used in the ashtanga method. Although the principle is the same, and the surya namaskar is the foundation of any practice, I find that the version used in hatha or sivananda practices are a better fit for beginners, because it doesn’t involve jumping and there’s is no chaturanga dandasana, which requires a lot of arm strength, that most beginners don’t have.
Basically when doing this you want to sync your breathe with the movements of your body.
Start in tadasana, mountain pose, and take a big breathe in while joining in your hands in prayer pose over the heart chakra. Exhale and on the next inhale stretch your arms over your head, leaning your hips forward and giving a slight bent to your back.
Exhale and forward fold, softly. Place your fingertips on your mat and stretch your right leg back, resting your knee and the top of your foot on your mat. This will give a nice stretch to your quads and hips. Open your chest and check out your fingertips: if they’re white it means you’re applying pressure to the hands and not on your legs, like you should.
Inhale, press both hands on the math while stretching your left leg back to plank pose. Exhale and bring your knees, chest and forehead to the mat, elbows pointing up.
Inhale stretch your legs and lift up the chest to cobra pose, using your arms. There’s no need to tilt your head or bend your back too much. Don’t forget this is a warming up sequence.
Exhale, curl your toes under your feet and push yourself up to downward dog. Stay here for about 5 breathes, focus on stretching your hamstrings and on your core.
On your next exhale bring the left leg forward to a low lunge, resting your knee and the top of your foot on the mat. Inhale and bring the right leg up. Exhale and forward fold, bringing your hands together in front of you. Inhale and return to starting position.
You can repeat these as many times as you like. I usually do 12 of these at the beginning of my practice.
Have a safe and happy practice! Namaste!
Disclaimer: I’m not a yoga teacher, I’m just sharing what I usually do and how I do it.