Yoga Fundamentals: Surya Namaksar / Sun Salutations more than just a warm up

“There is a sun Within Every person” Rumi


If I would have to choose a single yoga sequence to practice for the rest of my life, I would choose a Sun Salutation. Why? Because, as a physical exercise, Sun Salutation is a contained, all-in-one balanced practice in itself. But it is much more than that. In Sanskrit, Surya is the Indian name represented by the Sun and Namaskar is the action of bowing in reverence, that is why we call Surya Namaskar Sun Salutation or the Action of worshipping the Sun.


Sun Salutations are traditionally performed in the morning to welcome the new day, however, they are often introduced at the beginning of Vinyasa classes, regardless or time of the day, as a warm up sequence, in preparation for the Asana flow.


The Most commonly used Sun Salutations is sun Salutation A, a series of 11 Asanas that can be practiced as they are or with modifications. This sequence is not an ordinary act, therefore your full attention will be focused on the present moment, moving slowly, with awareness, allowing the breath to guide you. The deeper the breath becomes, the slower the movements are.


Below is the Sun Salutation A sequence:


1. START in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

2. INHALE: Urdva Hastasana (Upward Salute)

3. EXHALE: Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

4. INHALE:Ardha Uttanasana (Half Way Lift)

5. EXHALE:***Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

6. INHALE: Urdva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)* ** see modification option below

7. EXHALE: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing Dog)

8. INHALE: Ardha Uttanasana (Half Way Lift)

9. EXHALE: Uttanasana (Forward Fold)

10. INHALE: Urdva Hastasana (Upward Salute)

11. EXHALE: Tadasana (Mountain Pose)


MODIFICATION: Instead of Chaturanga Dandasana come all the way down on to the belly -> Replace Urdva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog) with Bhujangasana (Cobra).


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After several rounds of Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskara A), the body is prepared for Sun Salutation B, which includes many of the same components of Sun Salutation A, with the inclusion of Warrior I pose.


1. START in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

2. INHALE: Uttkatasana (Chair Pose)

3. EXHALE: Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

4. INHALE: Ardha Uttanasana (Half Way Lift)

5. EXHALE:***Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

6. INHALE: Urdva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)* ** see modification option below

7. EXHALE: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing Dog)

8. INHALE Virabhadrasana 1 on RIGHT Foot (Warrior 1)

9. EXHALE:***Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

10. INHALE: Urdva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)* ** see modification option below

11. EXHALE: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing Dog)

12. INHALE Virabhadrasana 1 on LEFT Foot (Warrior 1)

13. EXHALE:***Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

14. INHALE: Urdva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)* ** see modification option below

15. EXHALE: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing Dog)

16. INHALE: Ardha Uttanasana (Half Way Lift)

17. EXHALE: Uttanasana (Forward Fold)

18.INHALE: Uttkatasana (Chair Pose)

19. EXHALE: Tadasana (Mountain Pose)



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As you practice these Sun Salutations, remember that the poses are the easy part. The more difficult, but most important part is to move through these poses in a state of consciousness, coming back to the essence, remembering who you are, where you come from and aligning your individual self with the Universe and all the living beings on the planet.


In the meantime ...


Breath In, Breathe Out...


Namaste


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