Sun Salutation A and B for Home Practice (modifications provided)

The Sun Salutes are designed to wake up and energize the body and are also a perfect microcosm of the yoga practice as a whole. What is meant by this is that they include almost all the elements of a complete practice: the linking of breath and movement, forward bending and back bending, a bit of strength work, and a mild inversion. Sun Salutations A and B get our breath flowing and warm our joints and spine. Using a steady, smooth breath, we link and enliven our poses into a flow with the benefits of energy, alertness, and increased range of motion to start off our day in the right way! Each breath gets one movement either on the inhalation or the exhalation with the exception of the last Downward Facing Dog which receives five breaths. However, remember you can slow your movements down and take several breaths bringing your attention into the present moment as you stretch and awaken your body. You can also incorporate "Ujjayi Breath" as you restrict the back of the throat (glottis) on the inhale making the sound "so" and exhale making the sound "hum." This helps to create heat in the body and attention to the inhalation and exhalation through the nose with the lips sealed.


Sun Salutation A (5 – 6 times daily) 9 basic poses
· Starting off in “Tadasana” or mountain pose, grounding down through your heels. Your feet are hip width apart or your big toes are touching with your heels slightly apart to bring your outside edges parallel to the sides of the mat.
· Inhale sweeping your arms upward to "Upward Standing Salute" or Urdhva Hastasana - palms touching or hands shoulder width apart. 
· Dive forward, bending your knees until your finger tips touch the ground on either side of your feet in “Uttanasana” or forward fold. Bend your knees to rest your chest on your thighs if you have tight hamstrings. Make sure your hands are resting either on the floor, on your shins, or on a block as an assist.
· Inhale up to a flat back, neutral spine in half forward fold. Hands come up to shins or thighs if touching the floor is not an option.
· Step back with your right foot and then left foot as you come into a full "Plank" position.  (Always feeling comfortable to drop your knees and pull your chest forward into a modified "Plank.")  Rotate your inner elbows to the front of the mat, shift forward on your toes slightly as you exhale down into "Chaturanga Dandasana," hugging your elbows close to your rib cage as your nose comes to hover over your mat. 
· Drop your belly and pull your chest and chin up into a low or high "Cobra," or lift your thighs up off the mat for “Upward Facing Dog.” Elbows are close into your rib cage. Go right into Downward Facing Dog or take this extra step to modify for lower back pain.
· Exhale down as move your hand back alongside your ribcage. 
· Inhale up into "Quadruped" or all fours. 
· Tuck your toes under and rise up into “Downward Facing Dog.” Come up on your toes on the inhale – lifting your hips toward the ceiling, and exhale your heels closer to the mat. Take 5 complete inhalations and exhalations.
· Walk your feet forwards starting off with your right foot until you return to "Forward Fold."  Inhale halfway to "Ardha Uttanasana - half forward fold" and then exhale down into "Forward Fold" once again. 
· Bending your knees and sweeping your arms as you inhale up into "Upward Standing Salute" palms together at the top. Release your shoulders away from your ears.
· Exhaling down into "Equal Standing" or “Sama Stitihi” position hands in front of your heart. 



Sun Salutation B (following Sun Salute A do 5 - 6 times daily) 17 basic poses
· Sun Salutation B starts off with your feet a little closer than hip width. Big toes come together and your heels are slightly apart in order to make your heels and pinkie toe parallel to the sides of your sticky mat.
· Inhale sweeping your arms upward as you sit back into Utkatasana or Fierce Pose. Some people call it "Chair" pose. You can raise your arms to shoulder height or along side your ears.  Pause as you put your weight back into your heels and stretch upward/forward with your arms opening up your chest.  Pull your shoulders away from your ears. I like to raise all ten toes to make sure that my weight is in my heels. Shoulders align over hips, and hips over ankles.
· Dive forward into forward fold hinging at your hips.  (You can always use "Forward Fold" to nod your head or shake it to release any neck tension.)
· Inhale up to a flat back, neutral spine in half forward fold. 
· Exhale down into Uttanasana or "Forward Fold" again. 
· Step back with your right foot and then left foot as you come into a full "Plank" position. You can jump back with a light landing into plank, but be careful if you have knee issues. (Always feeling comfortable to drop your knees and pull your chest forward into a modified "Plank.")  Engage your core by pulling your navel into your spine, shift forward on your toes to make sure your shoulders are over your wrists as you press your heels back towards the back of the mat as you exhale down into "Chaturanga Dandasana," hugging your elbows close to your ribcage as your nose comes to hover over your mat. 
· Drop your belly and pull your chest and chin up into a "Cobra" to modify, or lift your thighs, hips, and belly up off the mat for “Upward Facing Dog” or Urdvha Muka Svanasana. You can always just roll your toes under and lift your hips to move right into "Downward Facing Dog" or Adho Muka Svanasana. If you have lower back issues, go to the extra step of moving into all fours before Down Dog.
· Exhale down as move your hand back alongside your ribcage. 
· Inhale up into "Quadruped" or all fours. 
· Exhale into "Downward Facing Dog" as you spread your fingers widely into a five-pointed star pressing your knuckles down into the mat and stretching out your hamstrings by bending your knees on the inhale and lifting your sits bones towards the ceiling on the exhale as you lower heels to the floor or pedaling your heels downward towards your mat by bending one knee pressing the opposite heel to the mat.  Take one breath here and move into the next posture or slow your practice down by taking several breaths. Honor your body with your movements adjusting your practice to what you need on this particular day!
· Bring your left foot to the mid-line of your mat as you raise your right foot upwards into a "One legged Dog."  You can move right up into Warrior I or use this nice stretch to open up your hips.
· Raise it a little higher, then bending your right knee and flexing your right foot as you drop your right foot over your left buttock and gaze underneath your right underarm for a nice stretch. 
· Square your hips to be over your mat as you keep your right knee bent, and then look up towards your hands as you sweep your foot between them. 
· Keeping your right knee bent into a 90 degree angle, turn your left heel down, and inhale up into a "Warrior I" pose.  Making sure that your hips are turned towards the front of your mat and bringing your arms upwards as you pull your shoulders away from your ears.  Inhale settling into the pose. 
· On your next exhale bringing your right foot and left foot back into "Plank or Chaturanga Dandasana." Inhale into "Upward Facing Dog" and then exhale into "Downward Facing Dog." Taking several deep and even breaths as you pedal your heels and press your index finger and thumb knuckles into the mat. To move more quickly, building heat simply take one breath here and move into the next posture.
· Then, moving your right foot into the mid-line of your body and raising your left leg into a "One-legged Dog."  Once again sweep your left foot forward into Warrior I or for the extra stretch lifting your left leg a little higher and bending your left knee, flexing your left foot as you drop your left foot over your right hip and gaze underneath your left underarm. 
· Squaring your hips after the stretch and looking forward between your hands, you sweep your left foot forward between your hands. 
· Bending your left knee directly over your left ankle, move your right heel down into a 45 degree angle with your heels in a straight line.  Press down into your heel and rise up to into "Warrior I" or Virabhadrasana A on the other side.  Squaring your hips forward as you inhale your arms up into "Crescent" arms or for more sensation, you can bring your palms together, interlace your fingers, as you point your index fingers and thumbs towards the ceiling looking upward.  Inhaling here as you ground into the pose. 
· Exhale forward into a full or modified "Plank" position and shifting forward, continuing to exhale down into "Chaturanga." 
· Inhale up into low or high cobra; or for more sensation with straight arms and straight legs, raising your quadriceps muscles off the mat gazing upward for "Upwards Facing Dog."  Press your toenails into the mat as you only touch the mat with the tops of your feet and the bottoms of your hands. 
· Exhale down, moving your hands back towards your ribcage, and then choosing to inhale up into "Quadruped" or continue the exhale by flipping your toes under and sending your hips skywards into "Downward Facing Dog."  Taking five deep and even breaths.
· Walk your feet forwards starting off with your right foot until you return to "Forward Fold" or Uttanasana  Inhale halfway to "Ardha Uttanasana - half forward fold" and then exhale down into "Forward Fold" once again. 
· Bending your knees, sitting back on your heels, and sweeping your arms as you inhale up into "Utkatasana" or Chair pose palms together at the top. 
· Exhaling down into "Equal Standing" position hands in front of your heart. 
Once you do it on one side, then change the first foot back to the other side to stay balanced.
Namaste’
Jeanne Doss
 
 

Comments

  1. Sun salutations are obviously a huge part of yoga. But they can be modified to meet your physical needs. I found Leeann Carey has a free yoga video on this that your readers might like: http://planetyoga.com/yoga-blogs/index.php/adjustmentsassists-in-modified-sun-salutation-2/

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