Surya Namaskar A or Sun Salutation A is the backbone to the Vinyasa practice. We use this little sequence to warm up the body, connect movement and breath as well as setting the mind in preparation for our practice. There are several variations of the sun salutation depending on which style of yoga you practice but for the purpose of this post let’s just stick with the Ashtanga Vinyasa Surya Namaskar A as shown below.
A sun salutation or Surya Namaskar A is a series on 7 individual asanas sewn together to make a short sequence. It’s important to remember that every movement is practiced with a specific inhale and exhale to create a seamless flow.
flow. We begin at the top of out mat in tadasana or Mountain post. The feet are together and the arms are by the sides. This is a good time to check in with you body and make sure you have full control over your breath. When you are ready to practice you take a big inhale and raise the arms up above your head bringing your hands together. On the exhale, bring the hands to the floor and flat if possible. Please feel free to bend your knees if you need to. On the inhale lift the body and gaze whilst keeping the hands planted to the floor and on the exhale step or jump back into a plank position lowering yourself into chaturanga. On the next inhale you lift the chest and transition into an upward facing dog keep the shoulders open and away from the ears. The final posture comes next on the exhale as you move into downward facing dog.
Once you are in downward facing you stay for five breathes with the fingers spread, shoulders open, sit bones lifted, belly in and the heels lowering toward the mat. After your five breaths you bend the knees, look forward before stepping the feet between the hands. This is done all on an inhale and ends with you looking ahead with a flat back. On the exhale you fold forward bring the head towards the legs. On your next inhale you will reach your arms all the way up bringing the palm of the hands together and then exhaling to bring the arms back to your sides in the same way you started.
Of course there are plenty of variations of a sun salutations which can be used depending on your level of practice. For those of you new to yoga you might want to practice chaturanga on the knees or even skipping this step and moving straight into downward facing dog. Please remember that it takes time and effort to make something look effortless so be patient and jump on the mat as often as you can. I have added one of my YouTube tutorials on Sun Salutations to get you started so good luck, have fun and let me know how you get on!