Sun salutation is the first sequence most yoga students learn. Moving through the positions with your breath can be both calming and invigorating. It is often the buildng block of vinyasa flow classes and there are hundreds of posible variations from the essential form.
Learning the Basic Form
The basic sun salutation tends to follow one of two formats: 1) the Ashtanga Yoga variation (as seen in the video below), or 2) what often gets referred to as the classic sun salutation, which explicitly includes lunges between down dog and forward bend (illustrated below the video). See below for modifications as well.
Surya Namaskar in the Ashtanga Tradition
The above video shows Surya Namaskar A. Surya Namaskar B incorporates warrior poses as well as beginning and ending with chair pose.
Jen's Favorite Sun Salutation Variation
Sun Salutation as demonstrated above does a great job warming up the spine with forward and backward bending, openning the shoulders and stretching the backs of the legs. The addition of lunges in the modifcation below warms up the hips as well. (Throw in a few side bends and a twist or two and you've got yourself a well-rounded practice in only a few minutes.)
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