Note: Before beginning any exercise or diet regimen, you should check with your physician and receive his approval before proceeding.

You need not use a special mat. Any non-skid surface is fine. However, since your face will be against the floor, you might want to put a small towel down in front of you.

As you begin a posture, inhale. As you hold the posture, hold your breath. As you prepare to begin another posture, exhale; and then, smoothly, as you move into the next posture, inhale. There are breathing variations, but this one is usually the most comfortable.

Do not strain. If you feel pain, you are doing it wrong. The goal is to stretch gently. If you can't bend backwards as in the illustration, go as far back = and no farther - than you comfortably can. Measure in millimeters. And do not ever allow yourself to become competitive. There are no Suryanamaskar Olympics. Nobody is going to play the national anthem for you if you attain perfection in this exercise. The value of the exercise is in the muscular stretching... so in the event that you ever do attain perfection, you'll be well advised to stop doing the exercise until you stiffen up a bit and can once more get the benefit of stretching into the poses. Muscles, when gently stretched, release serotonin. The response is identical to a good massage and produces a nice sense of well-being. Pain, on the other hand, is completely counter-productive since it sends the body into an alarm mode and causes a release of adrenaline.

If you can't put your hands on the floor and bend forward like a clam, go down as far as you can without feeling pain. You should feel the stretch in the back of your legs. Gravity will work for you.- if you hold your forward-bent position, little by little you will find your hands getting closer to the floor.

Tell yourself that you will not begin to grade your ability to salute the sun until you have saluted the sun a thousand times. That gives you three years of daily salutes before you have to start worrying about how good your form is.

The prayer is extremely important. At first you may find it too complicated to recite the entire prayer as you learn the movements. It is enough to learn the opening line and introduce the other lines gradually. Think about the particular problems you have. Do you tend towards Road Rage on the highway? Are you argumentative with your family or co-workers? Do you keep a healthy diet or do you succumb to the lure of junk food - sugars, starches, or greasy foods? Do you drink alcohol? Too much coffee? Smoke? Do you find yourself too reliant on prescription drugs for aches and pains or nervousness or sleep? Do you find yourself unable to resist the impulse to "reach out and touch somebody" on the telephone? Do you gossip? You can help to correct any wasteful, unhealthy, or social problem by inserting it into #3 and #10. It is important to use positive phrases in your request for help. Don't say, "Help me not to get angry." Instead, say, "Help me to stay calm."



Another sunrise.
Another day.
Another opportunity to set things right in my life.
I stand resolved.

Lord of Light, help me to stretch high to reach my goals;
and help me to remember that sometimes I must bend over backwards to accommodate those less fortunate than I.

Let me keep the rules, especially Right Speech. Let me stay closed like a clam to temptations.
No gossip. No hurtful remarks.
No foolish phone calls.


I look up, my right knee bends in obedience
to the Source of Light.

My strength is in my arms. I carry the Dharma with me.


I bow, face down, in humility and gratitude.

Like the cobra I rise from the grass to look out at the world.


Like the dog I look in upon my own small space.

I look up, my left knee bends in obedience
to the Source of Light.



Let me keep the rules, especially Right Action. I close like a clam against the threats of pride and anger. No conceit. No annoyance.

Lord of Light, help me to stretch high to reach my goals, and help me to remember that sometimes I must bend over backwards to accommodate those less fortunate than I.

I stand resolved and grateful.


Sample requests
Help me to maintain my sobriety.
Help me to keep to my diet.
Help me to stay calm on the highway, in the office, and at home.
Help me to remember that all people struggle with life in their own way.
Help me to curb my desires for things I cannot afford and to appreciate the things I already possess.
Help me to be content within myself so that I lose the urge to telephone people.