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.
According to the Sivananda tradition one round of Sun Salutation consists of two sequences, the first leading with the right foot in positons 5 and 10, the second leading with the left. Keep your hands in one place from positons 4 to 11 and co-ordinate your movements with your breathing.
Start by practicing four rounds and gradually build up to twelve rounds.
- Stand erect with feet together, make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Inhale.
- Hands in the prayer position in front of your chest. Exhale.
- Inhaling, stretch your arms up and arch back from the waist, pushing the hips out, legs straight. Relax your neck.
- Exhaling, fold forward, and press your palms down, fingertips in line with toes – bend your knees if necessary.
- Inhaling, bring the left (or right) leg back and place the knee on the floor. Arch back and look up, lifting your chin.
- Retaining the breath, bring the other leg back and support your weight on hands and toes.
- Exhaling, lower your knees, then your chest and then your forehead, keeping your hips up and your toes curled under.
- Inhaling, lower your hips, point your toes and bend back. Keep legs together and shoulders down. Look up and back.
- Exhaling, curl your toes under, raise your hips and pivot into an inverted ”V”shape. Try to push your heels and head down and keep your shoulders back.
- Inhaling, step forward and place the left (or right) foot between your hands. Rest the other knee on the floor and look up.
- Exhaling, bring the other leg forward and bend down from the waist, keeping your palms as in position 4.
- Inhaling, streach your arms forward, then up and back over your head and bend back slowly from the waist, as in position 3.
- Exhaling, gently come back to an upright position and bring your arms down by your sides.
Distance between hands and feet in Surya Namaskar
Chatturanga and through to Adho Mukha Savanasana
Finding the alignment in Adho Mukha Savanasana using blocks
”Hands are shoulder width apart and feet are hip width apart”
Distance when in standing postures Ashtanga Vinyasa
”Feet are one leg lenght apart”
Alignment feet in Trikonasana and Parsvakonasana
”Heels are in line”
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.
> 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
> 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.
Preparing pose: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Full position: 30 sec to 1 minute (intermed/advanced)
> 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.
> 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.
> 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)
Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
> 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)