Ashtanga Yoga Surya Namaskar A
Surya Namaskar – Sun Salutation
An ancient yogic tradition of worshipping the rising or setting of the sun (surya). It is thought that if the day and night were like breathing dawn and dusk would be the pause between the inhalation and exhalation (kumbaka) and the perfect time for reflection, meditation, or yoga practice.
The sequence can be used in preparation for other postures heating up and stretching the body, bringing the connection between movement and breath. It can also be used as a complete excercise in itself. It tones and stretches the muscles, massages the inner organs, and helps to relieve constipation, speeds up the metabolism and helps to reduce weight.
So even spending 15 minutes of your day practising the Sun Salutations can be used to calm the mind, and promote health and balance.
Combine the different sequences for variation, and see how good they can make you feel.
Ashtanga Surya Namaskar
There are two Surya Namaskar sequences that Ashtanga Vinyasa series are incomplete without. These two sequences A and B remain the same through all the different series, they allow you to truly connect your body and breath, the postures will become familiar and you can flow through them without thinking, allowing your body to be moved by your breath. Work up to completing 5 ‘A’ followed by 5 ‘B’
Start, feet together, toes spread, weight evenly over the feet, thighs engaged (knee caps up), tail bone tucked under, abdomen in, shoulders rolled back, hands byt the sides, chin parallel to the floor.
If you have lower back problems, or find it difficult to stand with your feet together due to knees or thighs rubbing you may stand with the feet hip width apart (still parallel)
1. Inhale – URDHVA HASTASANA
Bend the knees, raise the arms up over the head, bring the palms together and look to the thumbs.
Keep the hands shoulder width apart if this it is painful to keep them together
2. Exhale – UTANASANA
Straighten the legs, bend forwards from the hips, bringing your hands down, relax the neck look to your nose
If you have slipped disc or lower back problems keep the knees bent so that the palms come to the floor.
3. Inhale – URDVAH UTANASANA
Lengthen the spine, look forwards, open the shoulders.
If you have slipped disc or lower back problems keep the knees bent so that the finger tips come to the floor. (Keep the spine staight)
4. Exhale – CHATURANGA DANDASANA
Jump or step the feet back, bend the elbows keeping them tucked into your sides, lowering the body. Knees stay off the floor
If you are not strong enough for the full posture you have two options
. Same posture with the knees on the ground, the body should still be in a straight line.
5. Inhale – URDVAH MUKHA SVANASANA
Point the toes away from the body, lift the chest, knees stay off the ground. Opening the shoulders and looking up to the sky
6. Exhale – ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA
Tuck the toes under, lift the hips up, bring the shoulders down and look to the navel, stay here for 5 deep breaths.
. First come onto the knees, then lift up.
. Keep the knees a LITTLE bent to allow you to lengthen through the spine
7. Inhale – URDVAH UTANASANA
Jump or step the feet together between the hands, lengthen the spine, look to the front, open the shoulders. (Same as step 3)
8. Exhale – UTANASANA
Bring the crown of your head towards the floor, relax the neck look to your nose (Same as step 2)
9. Inhale – URDHVA HASTASANA
Bend the knees, raise the arms up over the head, bring the palms together and look to the thumbs. (Same as step 1)
10. Exhale – SAMASTHITI
Straighten the legs, bring the arms to the sides
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