For your first Sun Salutation round, you may want to spend a little more time in each pose to slowly wake up your individual muscles—feel free to do that. Then, as you cycle through in the next rounds, hold each pose for one breath—except for the last Downward-Facing Dog Pose, which you can hold for five breaths.
Stand at the top of your mat with your feet hip-distance apart. On your first inhalation, stretch your arms overhead. If you have no neck issues, lift your gaze up with your arms and bring your palms together in prayer position. (If that's not comfortable, keep your gaze directly in front of you and/or keep your hands shoulder distance apart.) On your exhalation, fold forward, touching your fingertips to the floor. On your next inhalation, rise halfway up and pull your heart and crown of your head forward toward the front of the room. Bend your knees place your hands on your mat and step back to Plank Pose (an upper push-up position). Check that your hands are shoulder-distance apart, your fingers are spread wide, and the creases of your wrists are parallel with the front edge of your mat. Keep your hips almost as high as your shoulders and take your gaze forward just a bit so that your neck is in line with your spine. On your next exhalation, lower halfway down to Chaturanga Dandasana (not shown)—an incredibly challenging pose. If your shoulders collapse or your elbows pinch in to support you in Chaturanga, then lower all the way down to your belly instead. From either position, lift into Upward-Facing Dog Pose. Make sure that your wrists are lined up directly below your shoulders and your arms are perpendicular to the floor. You can keep your gaze directly forward or, if you’re very open in your back, you can gently shift your gaze upward. Root down firmly through the tops of your feet so that your legs are not touching the floor and lift up through your heart and the crown of your head.
On your next exhalation, roll over your toes, and lift your hips up and back into Downward-Facing Dog Pose. Check to make sure your hands are still shoulder-width distance apart with your fingers spread wide and wrist creases parallel to the front of your mat. (If you have tighter shoulders, you can take your hands a little wider apart and turn them out slightly toward the edges of your mat.) Gaze back at your feet and line them up so that they are hip distance apart with the inner edges in two straight parallel lines. (If your hamstrings feel tight, practice Down Dog with bent knees.) Take 5 deep breaths in Down Dog. Practice rooting down evenly through the whole of each hand as you extend your hips up and back toward the wall behind you. At the bottom of the fifth exhalation, step, walk, or carefully jump to the top of your mat. Inhale and draw your spine to a long extended position, with the crown of your head and heart moving forward to the front of the room. Exhale, fold forward. (Remember, you can bend your knees if your hamstrings still feel tight.) On your next inhalation, rise all the way up to standing and reach your hands up, lifting your gaze toward your thumbs. If it feels comfortable, bring your hands together overhead and look at your thumbs with your palms in prayer position. Exhale and lower your arms down by your sides. Repeat this whole sequence 3–5 times.
See also A Step-by-Step Guide to Flow Through Surya Namaskar A