Surya Namaskar A | Sun salutation A

Surya Namaskara (सूर्यनमस्कार), or Sun Salutation, is a warm up routine based on a sequence of linked asanas. The name refers to the symbolism of Sun as the soul and the source of all life. Sūrya Namaskāra refers to a number styles of ”Sun Salutations” and a yogi may develop a personalized yoga warm up routine as surya-namaskar to precede his or her asana practice. 12 Surya Namaskaras are traditionally practised per cycle.

Surya Namaskar A is one of the sun salutations opening the Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series, the following one being Surya Namaskar B. Preceding the Primary Series 5 rounds of Surya Namaskar A are traditionally practised. The Surya Namaskar A is also the most common version of Surya Namaskar in the ritual 108 Sun Salutations, when a continuos flow of 108 Sun Salutations is performed.

 

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sna-2 sna-3

 

 

 

Surya Namaskar B | Sun salutation B

Surya Namaskara (सूर्यनमस्कार), or Sun Salutation, is a warm up routine based on a sequence of linked asanas. The name refers to the symbolism of Sun as the soul and the source of all life. Sūrya Namaskāra refers to a number styles of ”Sun Salutations” and a yogi may develop a personalized yoga warm up routine as surya-namaskar to precede his or her asana practice. 12 Surya Namaskaras are traditionally practised per cycle.

Surya Namaskar B follows the Surya Namaskar A as one of the sun salutations opening the Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series. Preceding the Primary Series 5 rounds of Surya Namaskar A and 5 rounds of Surya Namaskar B are traditionally practised.

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snb-2
snb-3 snb-2
snb-5

Alignments in standing postures

Distance between hands and feet in Surya Namaskar
Chatturanga and through to Adho Mukha Savanasana
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Finding the alignment in Adho Mukha Savanasana using blocks
”Hands are shoulder width apart and feet are hip width apart”
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Distance when in standing postures Ashtanga Vinyasa
”Feet are one leg lenght apart”

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Alignment feet in Trikonasana and Parsvakonasana
”Heels are in line”

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Adho Mukha Savanasana | Downward Facing Dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana is one of the poses in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. It’s also an excellent yoga asana all on its own as it calms the brain, helps relieve stress and energizes the body. Strengthening the arms and legs.

Alignments:
> Hands: Hands are shoulder-width apart, spread your palms, index fingers parallel.
> Feet/legs: Feet are hip-width apart, and parallell. Hips move upwards and back. In modified posture knees can be slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor.
> Upper body: Legthen the spine keep your belly towards the spine. Keep shoulder away from the ears and broaden between the shoulderblades.

Key benefits:
Stretches och strengthens the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands.
> Improves digestion.
> Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue.
> Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica (lower-back pain), sinusitis (pain in sinusis).

Duration/practise:
Preparing postures: Hold 1-5 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold for minimum 5 breaths in Sun Salutation (all levels) or 30 sec (beginners), 1 to 3 minutes (intermed/advanced) if practised alone.
Full position: Hold for minimum 5 breaths in Sun Salutation (all levels) or 30 sec (beginners), 1 to 3 minutes (intermed/advanced) if practised alone.

adhomukhasavanasana-buildup

Cautions:
People with Carpal tunnel syndrome shall only practise preparin posture (Uttanasana). Do not practise Adho Mukha Svanasana if you suffer from diarrhea.

> Pregnancy: Do not do this pose late-term.
> High blood pressure, headache or menstrual discomfort: Support your head on a bolster or block, ears level between the arms.

Utkatasana | Chair Pose

The pose is one of the most basic asanas, but even though it’s not complex it has great benefits for strengthening the body as well as opening the shoulder area and chest. For beginners this pose can be challenging but it is of great use as a preparation for more advanced asanas. It also strenghtens the heart.

Alignments:

> Feet are together. Spread the toes, tuck the tail bone under (don’t arch), straight arms- press the palms together. You should see the toes in front of the knees if you look down.
> Drishti: Ceiling in front of hands

Key benefits:

> Strengthens the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine
> Stretches shoulders and chest
> Stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart
> Reduces flat feet

Duration/practise:

Preparing pose: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Full position: 30 sec to 1 minute (intermed/advanced)

Cautions:

> Headache
> Insomnia
> Low blood pressure

Utthita Parsvakonasana | Extended Side Angle Pose

This asana tones up the ankles, knees and thighs. It corrects defects in the calves and thighs, develops the chest and reduces fat around wait, hips and relieves sciatic and arthritic pains.

Alignments:

> Feet are one leg-length apart. Turn right foot forward, left foot 45 degrees. Align the feet in a straight line, press the inner seam of the front foot and the outer heel of the back foot, lengthen the spine and rotate from the hip, rotate the armpit towards the ceiling.
> Modification: Place elbow on knee

Key benefits:

> Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles
> Stretches the groins, spine, waist, chest and lungs, and shoulders
> Stimulates abdominal organs
> Increases stamina
Theraputical for ; constipation, infertility, low backache, osteoporosis, sciatica and menstrual discomfort

uparsvakonasana-buildup

Duration/practise:

Preparing pose: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Full pose: 30 sec to 1 minute (intermed/advanced)

Cautions:

> Diarrhea
> Headache
> High or low blood pressure
> Insomnia
> Neck problems: don’t turn your head to look at the top arm; instead look straight ahead with the sides of the neck lengthened evenly, or look down at the floor.

 

Utthita Trikonasana | Extended Triangle Pose

Trikonasana is the last of the 12 basic asanas that are supposed to be mastered before attempting more advanced practise according to Sivanande tradition. It gives a very good lateral movement to the spine, and is an auxiliary pose to Ardha Matsyendrasana, amplifying and fullfilling the Half Spinal Twist.

Alignments:

> Feet are one leg-length apart. Turn right foot forward, left foot 45 degrees. Align the feet in a straight line, press the inner seam of the front foot and the outer heel of the back foot, rotate from the hip with stable hip, connect the floating ribs and hip
> Modification: Place hand on calf or thigh if tense

Key benefits:

> Stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles
> Stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine
> Stimulates the abdominal organs, improves digestion
> Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
> Relieves backache, especially through second trimester of pregnancy
> Therapeutic for anxiety, stress, flat feet, infertility, neck pain, osteoporosis, and sciatica.

utrikonasana-buildup

Duration/practise:

Preparing pose: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Full position: 30 sec to 1 minute (intermed/advanced)

Cautions:

> Diarrhea
> Headache
> Low blood pressure
> Heart Condition: Practice against a wall. Keep the top arm on the hip.
> High blood pressure: Turn the head to gaze downward in the final pose.
> Neck problems: Don’t turn your head to look upward; continue looking straight ahead and keep both sides of the neck evenly long.

Virabhadrasana A/B | Warrior A/B

Alignments:

> A: Square the hips turn the back foot in 45 degrees (front foot facing forward). Keep the back leg straight and press the inner seam of the front foot to the mat and the outer heel of the back foot. Without arching the back or raising the shoulders arms above the head, palms together. Keep the arms straight and the shoulders down.

> B: Front knee 90 degrees, press the inner seam of the front foot and the outer heel of the back foot, tuck the tail bone under, keep the shoulders down- lengthen between the hands and up.

Key benefits:

> Strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves, and ankles
> Strengthens the shoulders and arms, and the muscles of the back (A)
> Stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders
> Stimulates abdominal organs
> Increases stamina
> Relieves backaches, especially through second trimester of pregnancy (B)
Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica (B)

virabhadrasana-buildup

Duration/practise:

Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)

Cautions:

> Diarrhea
> High blood pressure
> Heart problems (A)
> Neck problems: Don’t turn your head to look over the front hand; continue to look straight ahead with both sides of the neck lengthened evenly (B). Keep head in a neutral position and not look up at the hands (A).
> Shoulder problems: Keep arms parallel (or slightly wider than parallel) to each other. Look straight ahead with the sides of the neck lengthened evenly, or look down at the floor. (A)

Parivrtta Trikonasana | Revolved Triangle Pose

According to the Ashtanga Vinyasa series this posture is the counterpose to Utthita Trikonasana (simular to Ardha Matsyendrasana). The pose and the counterpose enhances each other, stimulating and rejuvenating the spine and hip area as well as abdominal organs. Trikonasana sequence is specially good to tone the hamstring and thigh muscles.

Alignments:

> Feet are leg-length apart. Square the hips, lengthen the back and neck, rotate from the hip-stable hip.
> Modification: Shorten the distance between the feet, place hand on foot or calf, keep second hand on hip.

Drishti: If hand towards the ceiling- hand, if hand on hip- front foot.

Key benefits:

> Strengthens and stretches the legs
> Stretches the hips and spine
> Opens the chest to improve breathing
> Relieves mild back pain
> Stimulates the abdominal organs
> Improves sense of balance
> Therapeutic for; constipation, digestive problems, asthma, lower backache and sciatica

ptrikonasana-buildup

Duration/practise:

Preparing pose: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Full position: 30 sec to 1 min (intermed/advanced)

Cautions:

> Low blood pressure
> Migraine
> Diarrhea
> Headache
> Insomnia
> Back or spine injury. Perform this pose only with the supervision of an experienced teacher.

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana | Revolved Side Angle Pose

This asana is more powerful than the Parivrtta Trikonasana and has greater effect. The contraction of the abdominal organs helps digestion and the blood circultaion of the abdomen and spinal column is stimulated. The asana helps to remove waste matters from the colon without strain.

Alignments:

> Feet are one leg-length apart. Drop the back knee to the floor, upper arm outside thigh, lengthen the waist (both sides long) and rotate from the hip.
> Preparation: back knee on the floor. Hands in namaste.
> Modification: If you can’t easily keep your back heel down in this pose, lift the back heel off the floor. Hands in namaste.
> Drishti: Ceiling behind you

Key benefits:

> Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles
> Stretches the groins, spine, chest and lungs, and shoulders
> Stimulates abdominal organs
> Increases stamina
> Improves digestion and aids elimination
> Improves balance
> Theraputical for; Constipation, Infertility, Low backache, Osteoporosis and Sciatica

p-parsvakonasana-buildup

Duration/practise:

Preparing pose: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Full pose: 30 sec to 1 minute (intermed/advanced)

Cautions:

> Headache
> High or low blood pressure
> Insomnia
If you have any neck problems, don’t turn your head to look at the top arm; instead look straight ahead with the sides of the neck lengthened evenly, or look down at the floor.look straight ahead with the sides of the neck lengthened evenly, or look down at the floor.

 

Utthita Hasta Padangustasana

Utthita means extended. Hasta means hand. Padangustasana is big toe. There are a number of variations of this posture and they are usually done in sequence; leg facing forward-holding toe, leg facing sideways-holding toe and back to center rasing the leg aming to “kiss the knee”. This pose makes the leg muscles powerful and the balance gives you steadiness and improves your posture.

Alignments:

> Ground the foot- spread the toes inner and outer seam pressing evenly to the floor, standing leg straight.
> Hold the toe firmly with index, long and thumb finger- press the inner seam of the foot forward, don´t lift the hip
> Modification: bend the lifted leg, lifted leg 90 degrees hold the knee, support with both hands under the thigh in the last part of the posture.
> Drishti: Tip of the nose, along the back of the nose

Key benefits:
> Strengthens the legs and ankles
> Stretches the backs of the legs
> Improves sense of balance
> Theraputical against Osteoporosis

uhpadangustasana-prep-buildup

uhpadangustasana-full-buildupDuration/practise:

Preparing pose: Hold 1-3 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Full position: 30 sec to 1 minute (intermed/advanced)

Cautions:
> Ankle or low back injuries, don’t attempt full version. If you have a lower back injury you can consider practising Supta Padangustasana instead. If you have an ankle injury – practise modified pose holding the knee.

Urdhva Dhanurasana | Wheel Pose

Urdhva Dhanurasana is the beginning of the advanced and difficult backbending poses. It tones and streches the spine and strengthen the arms and writs. At the same time as it gets the body alert and awaken it sooths the head. Most of the restraint you might feel towards this pose is probably fear, so be fierce.

Alignments:

> Place the feet behind the buttocks, hip width apart, place the hands by the ears, thumb finger pointing towards the feet, press the feet and hands and lift the hips up, keep the knees from dropping to the sides and open the upper back. To come down slowly bend the arms and come down on the head and then release the hips down.

> Modification: Place the hands by the ears, thumb finger pointing towards the feet, press the feet and hands and lift the hips up and place the crown of the head onto the mat, keep the knees from drop-
ping to the sides. To come down slowly release the hips to the floor.

> Preparation: Hold the ankles with both hands, lift the hips and draw the tail bone forward, continue lifting the hips and interlace the fingers and walk a little bit higher up on the shoulders, don’t drop the knees to the side keep contact in the legs and press from the feet.

Key benefits:

> Stretches the chest and lungs
> Strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, spine
> Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary
> Increases energy and counteracts depression
> Therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility, and osteoporosis

urdhvadhanurasana-buildup

Duration/practise:

Preparing poses: Hold 30 sec-1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec-1 min (beginners)
Full position: Hold 30 sec-1 min (intermed/advanced).

Cautions:

Back injury, Carpal tunnel syndrome, diarrhea, headache, heart problems, high- or low blood pressure

Pashimottanasana | Seated Forward Bend

Regular practise of forward bends helps to keep the spine elastic, the joints mobile, the internal organs toned and the nerv system inviogorated. In Paschimottanasana the body is folded almost in half, providing a comprehensive stretch to the entire back of the body from the scalp down to the heels. Together with Sirsasana and Sarvangasana, Paschimottanasana is considered one of the most important asanas to maintain perfect health.

Alignments:

> Hold the knees together press the inner seam of the feet forward, hold the toes with the index, long and thumb finger fold forward from the hips, lift the elbows (A); look up between the eyebrows; hold the side of the feet, lift the elbow and fold from the hip (B); look up between the eyebrows; interlock the fingers behind the feet and touch the forehead to the knees (C).
> Modification: bend legs (all), place the hands by the side (all, more stiff), Hold the heels (C)

Drishti: Tip of the nose, along the back of the nose, between postures look up between the eyebrows.

Key benefits:

> Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
> Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings
> Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus
> Improves digestion
> Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort
> Soothes headache and anxiety and reduces fatigue
> Therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis

Duration/practise:

Preparing poses: Hold 1-10 min (beginners)
Full position: Hold each for minimum 5 breaths in vinyasa (all levels) or up to 15 min (intermed/advanced) if practised alone.

pashimottanasanaprep

pashimottanasanaabc

Cautions:

> Asthma
> Diarrhea
> Back injury: Only perform this pose under the supervision of an experienced teacher.

Ardha Matsyendrasana | Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

This asana takes it’s Sanskrit name from the great sage Matsyendra, one of the rst teachers of Hatha Yoga. Traditional texts say that Ardha Matsyendrasana increases appetite, destroys most deadly diseases, and awakens kundalini. After backward and foreward bending the half spinal twist gives a lateral stretch to all the vertebraes, back muscles and hips.

Alignments:

Press the inner right foot very actively into the floor, release the right groin, and lengthen the front torso. Lean the upper torso back slightly, against the shoulder blades, and continue to lengthen the tailbone into the floor. With every inhalation lift a little more through the sternum, pushing the fingers against the floor to help. Twist a little more with every exhalation.

Key benefits:
> Stimulates the liver and kidneys
> Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck
> Energizes the spine
> Stimulates the digestive fire in the belly
> Relieves menstrual discomfort, fatigue, sciatica, and backache
> Therapeutic for asthma and infertility

ardha-matsyendrasana-buildup

Duration/practise:

Preparing pose: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (intermed/advanced)
Full position: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (intermed/advanced)

Cautions:

Back or spine injury: Use caution and perform this pose only with the supervision of an experienced teacher. Do not attempt full pose or use corrections to get into the pose.

When teaching this pose some extra demonstrations and explanation is often required initially. Keep track so that all students of the class are following and facing the same direction.

Halasana | Plow Pose

The Plow is a forward bending position that stretches the entire spine, but the main focus is on the cervical region. It renders the spine more flexible and healthy, also stretching the hips and leg muscles. The pose might look fairly easy but with the feet on the floor, it’s considered to be intermediate to advanced. Don’t attempt the full pose without sufficient prior experience unless you have the supervision of an experienced instructor as you might cause injury to the neck.

Alignments:

> Support the back and lower the feet behind the head and if possible touch the toes on the floor, if the toes touches the floor release the hands from the back and interlock the hands behind the back pressing the hands towards the floor (release the pinkie and ring finger), walk the toes towards the head if possible, create a small space between the chin and the chest.
> Modification: Keep hands on back if not able to place toes onto the floor.

Drishti: Tip of the nose

Key benefits:

> Calms the brain
> Stimulates the abdominal organs and the thyroid gland
> Stretches the shoulders and spine
> Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
> Reduces stress and fatigue
> Therapeutic for backache, headache, infertility, insomnia, sinusitis

Duration/practise:

Preparing poses: Hold 30 sec-3 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec-3 min
Full position: Hold 30 sec-3 min (intermed/advanced).

halasana

Cautions:

> Diarrhea, menstruation, neck injury
> Asthma & high blood pressure: Practice Halasana with the legs supported on props.
> Pregnancy: If you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it late into pregnancy. However, don’t take up the practice of Halasana after you become pregnant.

Matsyasana | Fish Pose

The Fish gets its name because it’s easy to float in water when in the advanced (Fish in Lotus) variation. This is because the pose releases the inhibitations on the lungs thus allowing greater capacity to fill with air. To derive the maximum benefit the Fish Pose should be done after the shoulderstand.

Alignments:

> Directly from Sarvangasana: Support the hands on the back and come back to Sarvangasana, lower the legs 90 degrees over the head and place the hands on the side of the hips, slowly roll down vertebra by vertebra and place the buttocks on the hands and legs in a cross legged position, press the elbows to the mat arch the back and place the crown of the head on the floor.
> Mod: Cross legged (no lotus), hands under buttocks (not holding feet)

Key benefits:

> Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas) and the muscles (intercostals) between the ribs
> Stretches/stimulates the muscles of the belly and front of the neck
> Stretches/stimulates the organs of the belly and throat
> Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck
> Improves posture
> Theraputical for constipation, respiratory ailments, mild backache, fatigue, anxiety and menstrual pain

matsyenasana-buildup

Duration/practise:
Preparing poses: Hold 15 – 30 sec (beginners)
Modification: Hold 15 – 30 sec (intermediate)
Full position: Hold 15 – 30 sec (advanced)

Cautions:

> High or low blood pressure
> Migraine
> Insomnia
> Serious lower-back or neck injury