The perfect series of yoga postures - which can be used as a warm up to your practice or as the sequence in itself is the Sun Salutations which is also known as Surya Namaskar. Here are 10 easy steps you can modify to suit your mood and energy level.
Sun Salutation, is a series of postures that warms, strengthens, and aligns the entire body. This sequence might be considered the classic one, but there are so many variations. You can alter this particular Sun Salutation by playing with its pace. If you move through the sequence rapidly - by transitioning into the next pose each time you inhale or exhale, you'll warm up fairly quickly.
Or try moving slowly and deliberately, and you'll feel how the sequence becomes a sort of moving meditation. As you practice this way, center your awareness at some point in your body (such as your third eye or your heart) and challenge yourself to keep focusing there for the duration of the practice. Moving quickly is more stimulating, while moving slowly is more calming.
Before you begin:
Stand in Tadasana - Mountain Pose with your palms pressed together in prayer. Focus for a few minutes - Collect your thoughts and be in the present, try to focus on your good intentions, in your practice and in yourself.
If Sun Salutations are your warm-up for a general practice, move slowly and consciously, gradually building heat. If Sun Salutations is your whole practice, do a 2- to 5-minute Downward Dog as a warm-up.
Urdhva Hastasana/Upward Salute
Inhale and bring your arms overhead in wide arcs. If your shoulders are tight, keep your hands apart and gaze straight ahead. Otherwise, bring your palms together, drop your head back, and gaze up at your thumbs - for a light backbend.
Uttanasana/Standing Forward Bend
Exhaling, release your arms in wide arcs as you fold forward. Bend your knees if you feel pressure on your lower back and support your hands on blocks if they don't reach the floor. Release your neck so that your head hangs heavily from your upper spine.
Ardha Uttanasana/Half Standing Forward Bend
Inhale and push your fingertips down into the floor, Lift halfway up, with a straight back. Lengthen the front of your torso as you arch evenly along the entire length of your spine.
Chaturanga Dandasana/Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Low Plank)
Exhale as you bend your elbows and lower down to low plank with your torso and legs parallel to the floor. Keep your shoulders lifted up, away from the floor, and down, away from your ears. Lift the thighs away from the floor, lengthen your tailbone toward your heels, and draw the lower ribs away from the floor to avoid collapsing your lower back. Look down at the floor or slightly forward. If you can't maintain your alignment, place your knees on the floor until you have built more strength.
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana/Upward-Facing Dog Pose) Or Bhujangasana/Cobra
Inhale, straighten your arms, and sweep your chest forward into Up Dog or Cobra. Keep your legs active, firm your tailbone toward your heels, and press your front thighs upward. Draw your shoulders away from your ears. Look straight ahead or look slightly upward. For Cobra unfold toes to rest front of feet in the ground.
Adho Mukha Svanasana/Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Exhale back to Down Dog. To finish the Sun Salutation, step the right foot forward into a Lunge, then inhale into Half standing Forward bend and exhale into Forward bend. Inhale into Upward Salute and exhale to Mountain Pose. Observe your body and breath. And Repeat the series.
Please remember that small changes can have massive impact on how we think and feel - even if it seems too easy. With consistent practice and attention, positive results will follow. - Practice light yoga daily - whether it is a couple of minutes of meditation and 2-3 yoga poses - experience the results yourself :)