How to fix common misalignments of sun salutations

4 min read

Sun Salutation is a common warm-up in the asana yoga practice, especially Vinyasa, Power, and Ashtanga-style classes. You will often repeat anywhere from 3 to 10 cycles of Sun Salutation, so your form must be correct to prevent injury and get the most out of your practice.

Mountain Pose

Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is the foundation of all standing poses. It is important to get the correct form in this pose so that you can set yourself up well for your other postures.

Mountain pose is a common mistake I see students make, including locking their knees and falling backward into the heels. Students also let their shoulders relax, and their hands relax in front of their legs. I also see that the chest collapses, and the abs are relaxed. The head is also moving too far forward.

How To Fix It: Stand up tall, feet together, and press firmly on your feet. Do not lock your knees or allow your weight to fall into your heels. Keep your chest raised and your abdominals contracted. Keep your shoulders and arms open.

High Mountain Pose

Mountain pose is a good way to avoid losing the form that you have established by lifting your arms overhead and swan diving forward. You can easily lose your abdominals if you fall back into your heels and forward your front ribs.

How To Fix It: Engage your abs, relax the shoulders, and make sure your weight is evenly distributed in your arches.


Yoga practitioners do lunges all the time, but it is important to perform them correctly in order to protect the knees.

When I lunge, one of the biggest mistakes that I see is allowing the front leg to move forward too far past the toes. This can cause serious knee damage over time. Also, I see people bend their back knee instead of keeping it straight. You can easily raise your head and shoulders instead of keeping your neck long and looking forward.

How To Fix It: When lunging, make sure you step forward or far enough to keep your knee above the ankle. Stretching the back leg straight will lengthen your hip flexors and quads. Relax your shoulders, engage your abdominals, and press firmly with the front foot.


The plank pose is an essential part of all yoga practice. It will build your arm and core strength, which you’ll need to perform various poses. It’s important to function correctly. In this pose, I’ve found that most students raise their hips excessively high or even lower them. The shoulders of the practitioners are also collapsed, and their heads are out of alignment.

How To Fix It: Find a straight line of energy that runs from your head down to your heels. Imagine that you could balance a cup of tea on your lower back. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and knit the front of the ribs. Contract the shoulders away from your ears and press hard into your hands.

Downward Facing dog

Students lifting their heads and not letting them relax is the most common mistake that I see. Also, I see people who let their ribs spread. Students with tighter hamstrings are more likely to round their lower back or move forward too much.

How To Fix It: Bend your knees and bring your torso into space if you have tight hamstrings. Relax your head, and look at your legs or your belly button. Hold your core tight and press hard with your hands. Keep your upper arms rotating outwards, but do not lock your elbows. If you want to keep your torso as long as possible, press your legs inwards and lengthen them.

Sun Salutation has become one of my favorite ways to practice and start the day. You can practice yoga for the rest of your life if you correct your posture as you go through each step. Namaste!

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