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Sun Salutes… Some Standard and Some Not

Sun Salutes… Some Standard and Some Not

This article originally appeared on YogaCityNYC.

As central as the Sun Salute is to so many practices, it seems as if each yoga school, or tradition, teaches its own brand. With so many subtle differences between them you could become a collector… So we did! Some jump, others step. Some include Warrior Poses, others don’t. All of them include a wonderful balance of up and down, in and out, flexion and extension movements to wake up the body, like the sun of a new day.

The series is also a feat of coordination whereby all of the body parts and the breath are meant to begin and end together. It takes a lot of practice and study to make it all happen together.

Although Sun Salutes have so many amazing actions, they still do not cover all the bases; there is no side bending action, and although we extend and flex the hips quite a lot during a Sun Salute, but there is no external rotation at the hip. While we cannot possibly do everything at once, we still want to maximize our time. Underneath this series of movements lays the possibility of creating your own Ultimate Sun Salute.

Your own Ultimate Sun Salute can incorporate new actions that may not be traditional but still connect you to your inner intention. Whether you invent your own Ultimate Sun Salute or practice a more familiar version of this noble movement, remember that in the buzz of our busy lives, we stand on Mother Earth and for a few moments connect to the great gift of life. Through this ancient practice we are connecting with a long line of yogis who have been doing Sun Salutations for generations. — JB

IYENGAR VARIATION
Inhale: Urdhva Hastasana
Exhale: Uttanasana [Separate and lift the sit bones to get more stretch. Unless you’re already stretchy, in which case a stronger action is to draw the sit bones together and down.] In: Raise Head, Uttanasana with long spine
Ex: Jump to Down Dog
In: Jump lightly onto the tops of feet into Up Dog
Ex: Flick toes under, Chaturanga
In: Up Dog [shoulders above your wrists to keep from sinking your weight into the lower back] Ex: Down Dog
In: Jump forward, Uttanasana head up
Ex: Uttanasana
In: Urdhva Hastasana
Ex: Tadasana

SUN SALUTE WITH STEP BACK
Tadasana
Inhale: Arms up
Exhale: Swan Dive, Uttanasana
In: Right leg lunge back
Ex: Down Dog
In: Plank
Ex: Knees, Chest, Chin
In: Baby cobra
Ex: Down Dog
In: Down Dog
Ex: Right leg lunges
In: Lengthen and expand lunge
Ex: Uttanasana
In: Reverse swan dive
Ex: Tadasana

SURYA NAMASKAR (A) à la OM YOGA
Tadasana
Inhale: Urdhva Hastasana
Exhale: Swan dive to Uttanasana
In: Uttanasana 2 – Forward bend with long spine
Ex: Jump to Chaturanga
In: Up Dog
Ex: Down Dog
In: Down Dog
Ex: Jump to front of mat
In: Uttanasana 2 — long spine
Ex: Uttanasana
In: Urdhva Hastasana
Ex: Tadasana

SURYA NAMASKAR (B) à la OM YOGA
Tadasana
Inhale: Utkatasana
Exhale: Swan dive to Uttanasana
In: Uttanasana 2 [forward bend with long spine] Ex: Jump to Chaturanga [use your legs a lot] In: Up Dog
Ex: Down Dog, place left foot on floor at back of mat, step right foot forward
In: Open arms to side and up for Warrior 1
Ex: Warrior 2
In: Cartwheel hands to floor on either side of front foot
Ex: Chaturanga
In: Up Dog
Ex: Down Dog, place right foot on floor at back of mat, step left foot forward
In: Open arms to side and up for Warrior 1
Ex: Warrior 2
In: Cartwheel hands to floor on either side of front foot
Ex: Chaturanga
In: Up Dog
Ex: Down Dog
In: Down Dog
Ex: Jump to front of mat
In: Uttanasana with long spin
Ex: Uttanasana
In: Utkatasana
Ex: Tadasana

JENNIFER BRILLIANT’S SUN SALUTE
February 2, 2009

  • Circle your shoulders 2x
  • Lift your forearms together at shoulder height
  • Open elbows and place fingertips behind head. Feel a stretch across your chest.
  • Melt your arms down sequentially – shoulders, elbows, wrists, knuckles, fingertips. Bend knees and continue to feel a stretch across your chest. Peel the banana.
  • Uttanasana
  • Right leg lunges
  • Down Dog
  • Plank
  • Up Dog
  • Vashistasana standing on right foot
  • Lunge left foot forward
  • Uttanasana
  • Utkatasana
  • Tadasana

JENNIFER BRILLIANT’S SUN SALUTE
February 23, 2009

  • Urdhva Hastasana
  • Fold forward, prayer hands down through center to Uttanasana
  • Right leg lunge
  • Down Dog
  • Plank
  • Chaturanga [keep your chest open and your shoulders level with your elbows]
  • Baby cobra
  • Extend right arm forward, palm flat on floor, lift legs
  • Keeping right palm grounded, roll onto right side, legs slightly up, head up, arms overhead.
  • Ardha navasana
  • Roll onto your right side again, with legs, head and arms up.
  • Shalabhasana
  • Baby cobra
  • Down Dog
  • Right leg lunge, lower back knee to floor
  • Straighten back leg, step forward to Uttanasana
  • Urdva hastasana
  • Tadasana

Getting Creative

Add some elements: a side bend, or Uttanasana with a walk to the side for your hands, Child’s pose just because it can be relaxing.

Take out some elements… like, Chaturanga!

Face the sun… a window or the east.

Posted in Teaching Sequence, Warm Up Sequences

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