Expansion through the sun salutations.

The Classical Sun Salutes.


Using yoga movement to salute the light within ourselves..

The classical surya namaskar.

The classical sun salutations (Sanskrit = surya namaskar) is a yoga movement flow that combines a number of yoga asana. In the case of the classical version (or Sivananda tradition) discussed here, there are 12 steps or movements to the flow for each side.

When we practise the sun salutes, it is an inner salute to two aspects of the sun (as a metaphor) within us:

  1. Energy – we are energy and we acknowledge that energy that enables to move, be still, causes us to breathe, think, digest, blink our eyes and even to sleep – all our abilities made possible through energy;
  2. Light of awareness – our awareness to anything and everything that has our focus, including our breath and movement in the sun salute practice.

Try to keep to the breath cues, begin with the breath, followed by the movement.

Step 1

Breath: Inhale and exhale (one full breath).

Posture: Stand in Tadasana (mountain pose) with hands in anjali mudra, or in prayer position.

Step 2

Breath: Inhale.

Posture: Lift up arms and arch back in Urdhva Hastasana (upward salute pose).

Step 3

Breath: Exhale.

Posture: Fold forward into Uttanasana (standing forward fold).

Step 4

Breath: Inhale

Posture: Step right leg back, place your knee down and point your toe in a low lunge.

Step 5

Breath: Retain breath.

Posture: Go on to your right toes, lift your right knee up and step back to plank.

Step 6

Breath: Exhale.

Posture: Place your knees, chest, then chin down. This position is called “Asthanga Namaskara” (Eight-Limbed Salutation).

Step 7

Breath: Inhale.

Posture: Push your body forward, then torso upward into Bhujangasana (cobra pose).

Step 8

Breath: Exhale.

Posture: Lift yourself back and up to Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog).

Step 9

Breath: Inhale.

Posture: Step your right leg forward, place the left knee down and point the left toe, in a low lunge.

Step 10

Breath: Exhale.

Posture: Go on to your left toes, lift your left knee up and step forward into Uttanasana (standing forward fold).

Step 11

Breath: Inhale.

Posture: Rise up, while lifting arms up and arching back in Urdhva Hastasana.

Step 12

Breath: Exhale.

Posture: Lower arms to the side, standing in Tadasana..

The above 12 steps are one-half of a round of sun salutes, according to the Sivananda tradition. In order to complete a full round, repeat the same with the left leg.

As you can see, the Surya Namaskar movements encompass a series of opening and closing of the body, which is accompanied by the inhales and exhales. The breath and movement, together with mindful awareness, will helps us to let go and expand.

Of course, there are many modifications we can make to the classical sun salutations, based on our ability and anatomy. There are also many different kinds of sun salutes, including the Ashtanga Vinyasa Sun Salutes A and B, and also chair-based sun salutes. Contact me if you’d like to work 1:1 with me on the sun salutations below.

Alternatively, if you have any questions, please do email me above as well!