Since yoga is so much taken up with breathing, it might seem very obvious, but it can take years for beginners to realize that the essential exercise series called Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) can be perfectly co-ordinated with normal inward and outward cycling of the breath.
Part of the essence of Hatha yoga is to coordinate each movement with controlled breathing. Good breathing can deepen stretches without straining the muscles. It can awaken the body to the demands of more challenging postures, and it can assist the body to relax in resting postures. It can even help the body to cleanse and purify itself.
Normally, in yoga, whenever the body bends forward or twists sideways and the abdomen and chest are compressed, the breath is exhaled. When the body straightens and lengthens, or when the back is bent backwards so the chest opens up, the breath is inhaled.
Surya Namaskar is a series of postures that seamlessly flow from one into another, beginning while standing in prayer position with the hands meeting in front of the heart. In the first movement, the arms are extended upwards, until the whole body is lengthened and the back arches back slightly with the …