In Vinyasa yoga, Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation, is a sequence of yoga poses that is meant to energize, invigorate and rejuvenate the body. This sequence is a great way to start the day or to start your yoga practice. Each movement is done on either an inhale or exhale and a focus on the breath while moving through the sequence is the most important part of the salutation. The breath and movement combination will get the blood flowing and leave you feeling strong but relaxed. If you don’t have the time for a full yoga class or are just beginning the path of yoga, this sequence will take less than 10 minutes and is the perfect way to drop in to your mind-body connection by intentionally breathing and moving the body. Here is a breakdown of the poses and a video for you to see how it looks when all of the poses are linked together. We recommend doing the sun salutation 5-7 times in a slow and intentional manner to really absorb the benefits.
Surya Namaskar A
- Start in Tadasana – mountain pose – with feet together, belly pulled in, shoulder blades resting down the back and palms together at the heart.
- Breathe in & lift the arms up and swan dive the hands down into a forward fold on your breath out.
- Inhale – bring your hands to your shins or above the knees for a flat back. Lengthen through the crown of your head and bring shoulder blades in towards each other.
- Exhale – plant your palms in front of you and step back to a high plank position. Pull the belly in and engage the core strongly. Push your palms as much as you can into the earth to stay strong and straight.
- Breathe in and bring your knees down to a modified plank position. Walk your hands out a little bit in front of you and slowly lower all the way to the ground while you breathe out, hugging your elbows into your body on the exhale. This is a modified chatturanga dandasana.
- On your breath in, lift the chest using the back and core muscles while pushing the tops of your toes into the earth for cobra pose.
- Exhale, – bring your forehead back to the ground.
- Inhale – tuck your toes and bring your hips up and back for downward facing dog. Palms are rooted into the earth, heels are pulling towards the ground and neck is fully relaxed. Exhale and stay in the pose. Allow yourself to move around in this pose to really feel where the tension is. You can bend your knees and straighten them, shift your hips from side to side, or come up on your tip toes and then back down. Remember to stay with breath in this pose.
- On your next inhale, look forward and bend your knees.
- On the exhale, step your feet to meet your hands and stay in your forward fold.
- Inhale, halfway lift again with hands to shins
- Exhale, fold in
- Breathe in, bend your knees and sweep the arms up to come to standing.
- Breathe out and bring hands back to heart center to reconnect.
- Repeat 5-7 times or as many as it takes to get you feeling fluid, present and strong.