• Inga

Back to basics: Surya Namaskar A

December 12, 2018

If you're looking to get into yoga, want to build up your foundations or have been meaning to start your day with a quick body-waking and warming routine, Sun Salutations are the way to go. It is the ultimate, most rounded, full-body yoga sequence you will find in (almost) every yoga class that stretches and strengthens the entire body, but also leaves you feeling energised and centered. There are different variations of Sun Salutations and they're fun to improvise from, but the the key for each of them is to align every move with breath. Breathe deeply and slowly as you transition through the sequence, staying in Downward dog for 3 to 5 breath cycles.

The below breakout is the classic Surya Namaskar A.

We start in:

1️. TADASANA - Mountain Pose

Spend a few moments breathing deeply in this pose. Stand tall and strong, lift and lengthen through the whole body pressing down through your feet, feel the knee caps lifting, abdomen engage, shoulders away from the ears, palms facing forward, feeling yourself growing taller through the crown of the head.

2️. URDHVA TADASANA - Upward Mountain Pose

Inhale, raise the arms up, stretching through the entire body, gaze towards your thumbs.

3️. UTTANASANA - Intense Stretch Pose

Exhale, hinging from the hips fold forwards, knees can bend, let your back, neck and head relax and hang heavy rounding over the legs.

4️. URDHVA UTTANASANA - Upward Intense Stretch Pose

Inhale, lengthen the back, hands either on the floor or your shins, crown of the head reaches forward as you straighten your spine.

5️. CHATURANGA DANDASANA - Four Limbs Staff Pose

From Urdhva Uttanasana, step, jump or float back to high plank and exhale lowering half way down hugging your elbows to your ribs.

Don't lower your body past your elbows, keep them at 90 degrees to protect your deltoids. As in Tadasana pose find activation in your whole body, pressing the heels away, squeezing the thighs together, tucking the tailbone in and engaging your abdomen - this helps to spread the weight from your hands through the whole body as you lower down.

Because alignment is super important in this pose, I actually like to give myself more time to get into it and activate all of these different parts. So when you step into your high plank, really press the floor away, find that angry cat-back protracting the shoulders, engage the abs & the legs, and then inhale to shift forwards, shoulders over the wrists, exhale lower down to Chaturanga.

Breaking the transition in more moves, helps you get into safer and more controlled alignment vs rushing and running out of breath if you just stepped back to high plank and lowered down on that one exhale.

6️. URDHVA MUKHA SVANASANA - Upward Facing Dog Pose 🐕

Inhale, roll over the toes, open the chest, broaden the collarbones and draw the shoulder blades closer. Keep the chin parallel to the floor, don't drop your head back, press down through the tops of the feet keeping your knees off the ground. Try to spread the backbend all along your spine.

7️. ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA - Downward Facing Dog Pose 🐕

Exhale, roll or tuck your toes and raise your hips up and back, pressing down through your hands send your chest towards your thighs, stretching the spine, push the heels towards the ground opening the backs of the legs. Shoulder blades protract (find a bit of the angry-cat back again) and broaden to the sides, upper arms rotate outwards, inside of elbows face one another. Stay here for 3-5 cycles of breath.

8️. URDHVA UTTANASANA - Upward Intense Stretch Pose

From downdog inhale to look in between your hands, exhale bend the knees to step or jump to the front of the mat. From here inhale, lengthen the back, hands either on the floor or your shins, crown of the head reaches forward, straight line in your spine.

9️. UTTANASANA - Intense Stretch Pose

Exhale, fold forwards, knees can bend, let your back, neck and head relax and hang heavy rounding over the legs.

10. URDHVA TADASANA - Upward Mountain Pose

Inhale, press down through the feet, rise and stretch all the way up with your arms, fingers reaching to the sky, gazing to your thumbs.

1️1. TADASANA - Mountain Pose

Exhale, bring the palms together to your heart centre and release the hands down by your sides.

So give this a go! Even if you have time for just one round, or 5 to 10 minutes to spare, every little bit counts when it comes to yoga. Let your body get familiar and comfortable with this sequence and enjoy it becoming second nature as you flow through the transitions. 

It will wake up your body, strengthen and stretch out your muscles, and give your thinking mind a rest as you gently focus it on the breath.

Salute that sun ☀️