An Uncomplicated Life Blog: How To Do Sun Salutation A

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How To Do Sun Salutation A

I got such an overwhelmingly positive response from this post, that I decided to make a little series out of it. I got a request to go over proper alignment and form of Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskara A for those who speak Sanskrit... Why there isn't Sanskrit for the "A" I have no idea!)

Start in tadasana/mountain pose. Shoulders should be rolled down the spine, arms in anatomical position (palms forward), quads engaged and weight centered on the foot, evenly distributed from the heel to the ball of the foot, toes spread wide.


As you inhale, raise the arms over your head, looking up but not cranking your neck. Hands should rotate inward so that the arms are internally rotated from the shoulder.


As you exhale, fold over at the hips. Your hands come by your feet and your neck is relaxed. Make sure to keep your weight shifted forward so that you get the most out of the stretch - the tendency is to shift the weight back to balance the weight of your head coming down. But that takes away from the awesome deep stretch of the forward fold! So keep your weight forward. Don't worry, you won't fall. At least, you probably won't :)


On the inhale, lift yourself up partway so that your spine is straightened. Roll your shoulder blades down your spine and look just towards the front of your mat.


 On your exhale, fold back over.


Up next is the chatturanga. Check out this post I did a few weeks back that goes into detail on the proper way to execute that challenging series of poses. For Sun Salutation A, you can either jump back, landing in chatturagna (super advanced) or you can walk your feet back and go from high push-up/plank pose, shifting your weight forward and then lowering into your chatturanga push-up.

Plank

Shift forward

Lower into chatturanga
Now you pull yourself forward and up. Your thighs stay off the mat and you shift forward onto the tops of your feet. Your shoulders should remain rolled down your back and out of your ears. Don't crank your neck to look up, but rather use your neck as an extension of your spine, continuing the long stretch of the back in this upward dog pose.


Now you transition back into downward facing dog. If you're more advanced, you roll over your toes by pulling up with your core and pushing away with your arms. If you're not quite there yet, pull up with your core while you push back with your arms and simply move the feet so the bottoms of the feet are on the floor.

 
In downward facing dog, you want to use your core and squeeze your inner thighs so that your rump moves closer towards the ceiling. Pull your shoulders out of your ears and try to get your elbows to face upwards as much as possible. Your heels may or may not touch the ground. Spread your fingers wide and distribute the weight amongst the palm, pushing into each finger tip.

Now to start the Sun Salutation A sequence over again, either jump or walk to the top of your mat, and start back over at the beginning. This is a very popular sequence to warm the body up in a yoga class, typically being done within the first 10 minutes of a class.

Now you can be a Surya Namaskara A pro, getting your body warmed up and ready to flow your way through the rest of your class!

17 comments:

  1. Love these posts. SO much. Now, just come down here and be my teacher. Ok? Ok. See you in a few.

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    1. Haha! I'd love to! You got room for me, Henry and all the crap I have to lug around with a baby?! ;)

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  2. Nothing related to yoga in the least but I love those pants! You make me wish I could make my mind relax during yoga so that I could enjoy it!

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    1. Thanks! They're some of my fav too. Lululemon, circa 2012. In my opinion, 2011-12 was Lulu's glory years and the quality has since declined.

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  3. 1st. you're so pretty.
    2nd. holy amazing. I am definitely not there with my yoga, I can barely do the plank one where you go down, I have to keep trying!

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    1. Awww shucks, thank you! It's taken me about three years to get to where I'm at in my practice today, so just keep on trying!

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  4. ooo I love your yoga pants! Okay question, what if you can't do a push up in chatturanga? Is it okay to put your knees down? Also I love this series, it's so helpful

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    1. Doing it from your knees is a great modification! In fact, you'll see super experienced yogi's doing that regularly because they're really good at listening to their bodies and not trying to "over-practice" or "show off" ;)

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  5. I remember one of the first times I took a 'real' yoga class. We were doing mountain and the instructor came over and made a bunch of tiny adjustments and it was crazy how big of a difference it made. I mean, you're just standing there so you'd think you can't get that wrong. But once you learn the right way, it's amazing how much just fixing that one pose can make your whole practice better. It's such a fundamental pose.

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    1. YES! I didn't know how involved the pose was before I took my yoga teacher training... There's a lot going on with that one! And I completely agree, getting the basics down makes your whole practice better.

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  6. First I love that top and bottom. Second I actually feel relaxed after reading this.....and that I totally got up and went through everything on my own. Yoga is seriously the best! Love these posts girl keep them coming!

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    1. Isn't it relaxing?! I tell you, all I'm doing for workouts these days is yoga and barre. I'm just over the super-aggressive weight lifting classes and running these days!

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  7. Um. What Kristen said. Great post!

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    1. Geez, y'all are just too sweet. I had just woken up and simply slapped on some lipstick - had to get the photos taken before Henry got hungry!

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  8. These are my favorite posts!! pleeease keep them coming! I do all my yoga via online videos because DC studios are SO expensive- this is so so so helpfuL!

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    1. YAY! I have some DVD's but I just love the experience of a studio. I hear you on the price though - even in Dallas a drop in is $15-20 and my sis (who lives in NYC) said drop ins are $25-30! That's cray cray.

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  9. You make that look easy girlfriend! I feel a bit winded just looking at those photos.
    And yes, love the pants. Miss when Lulu was really good quality.

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