Earth Salutations: How to Honor Our Planet this Earth Day & Everyday—Yoga Style


The Earth Salutation can be practiced indoors, but is meant to be practiced outside with the earth beneath your feet.

The Earth Salutation is a series of twelve postures:

>>To begin, put your heel beneath your hips and go into the Thunderbolt (Laghu Vajrasana) pose with your hands in front of you in a prayer position.

>>Swing your arms gently above your head, feeling your chest open and gaze up through your hands.

>>Gently move into a Standing Forward Fold position (Uttanasana). Allow yourself to hang freely, feeling the spine stretch and elongate.

>>Flow seamlessly into the Extended Child Pose (Garbhasana).

>>Continue into Upward Facing Dog (Urdvha Mukha Svanasana)to lift and open your chest.

>>Roll gently into a seated position, keeping your leg stretched out in front of you, and move into the Seated Forward Fold Position (Paschimottanasana). Feel the stretch in your hamstrings as you breathe deeply.

>>Gently move onto your back and lift you leg, going into the Plow Pose (Halasana) Feel your spine elongate as you back stretches.

>>Sit up gently and move into the Wide Angle Forward Fold Pose (Prasarita Padottanasana).  Rest in the pose as you breathe deeply.

>>Gently release the pose into a sitting position, roll onto your back into the Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana). Feel the release of any pressure on your neck.

>>Gently release by lifting your legs up and into your chest as you move into the Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana) Feel your muscles loosen and relax.

>>Fold your legs, put your feet to the floor and come to your knees into the Camel Pose (Ustrasana.) Feel the stretch in your lower back and shoulders.

>>Release into the Child Pose (Balasana). Feel your body restore normal blood flow back into your head.

>>Bring your hips beneath your heels back into Thunderbolt Pose (Laghu Vajrasana), hands at your heart in the prayer position.

Benefits of the Earth Salutation

The Earth Salutation is a restorative series of postures that work to repair the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the gastro-intestinal system. Meant to be performed mid-day, this is a grounding salutation to help provide continual strength to face the day’s challenges.  The Earth Salutation provides a wonderful stretch to your back, legs, and torso as it works to elongate and strengthen your spine.

Cautions for the Earth Salutation

Those who suffer from low or high blood pressure, vertigo, or other types of dizziness should use extreme caution when practicing the Earth Salutation.  Contact a doctor beforehand.  The Earth Salutation is not for those with back or neck injuries.

Chant for Earth Salutation

The purpose of chanting while performing the postures of a salutation is simply to bring focus to your practice while deepening relaxation.  You can create your own chant to celebrate the earth, choosing one aspect for each posture.  You can simply repeat the  sound “om” to focus your mind on the formation of each pose.  The following are twelve salutations to the sun, which can be accommodated for the Earth Salutation.

>>Om Hram Mitraaya Namah (Salutations to Mitra, the bestower of universal friendship)

>>Om Hrim Ravaye Namah (Salutations to Ravi, the bestower of radiance)

>>Om Hrum Suryaaya Namah (Salutations to Surya, the dispeller of darkness)

>>Om Hraim Bhaanave Namah (Salutations to Bhaanu, the shining principle)

>>Om Hraum Khagaaya Namah (Salutations to Khaga, the all-pervading)

>>Om Hraha Pushne Namah (Salutations to Pushan, the mystic fire)

>>Om Hram Hiranyagarbhaaya Namah (Salutations to Hiranyagarbha, the golden colored one who brings healing)

>>Om Hrim Marichaye Namah (Salutations to Marichi, the light)

>>Om Hrum Aadityaya Namah (Salutations to Aaditya)

>>Om Hraim Savitre Namah (Salutations to Savita the impeller)

>>Om Hraum Arkaaya Namah (Salutations to Arka, the remover of afflictions)

>>Om Hraha Bhaaskaraaya Namah (Salutations to Bhaskara, the cosmic brilliance)