Yoga Talk: Sun Salutations Explained—and Why You Should Master Them

Given that yoga can bring such physical calm and powerful mental clarity, there sure is a lot to wrap your head around when it comes to mastering the basics. So we’ve decided to help you out by breaking down one of the key fundamentals—surya namaskar, also known as sun salutation. You may not be familiar with the name, but you’ll have almost certainly been put through your paces if you’ve attended any sort of instructor-led yoga class. Hint: It’s normally the warmup.

But while sun salutations may sound like a precursor to the good stuff, it’s actually one of the most beneficial elements of yoga practice and comes with seriously key benefits. Whether you’re just setting out on your yogi journey or a vinyasa regular looking to take things up a notch, it’s worth spending time on getting your sun salutations right. So here’s everything you need to know about sun salutations, from their purpose and benefits to the poses you need to know (and how to do them properly). Keep scrolling for your complete guide.