Sun Salutation Modifications
Most of the above asanas that are part of the sequence of Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) can be performed even if the practitioner is new or has certain discomfort in a specific pose. These postures can be altered based on each individual's capacity and comfort level:
- In Hasta Uttanasana, one need not arch the back much. Just raising and stretching the arms should be good enough to get the stretch.
- In Pada Hastasana (Uttanasana), bending knees will help avoid too much pressure on the lower back. It will also give the flexbility to extend the arms to touch the floor. If the neck hurts when trying to take the head towards the knee, then just relax the neck and look in front and don't push the head towards your knees.
- In Ashwa Sanchalanasana, if the chest does not open, remain close to the ground with the palms on the floor. With slow repeated practice, the chest will open up and it will be easy to expand it backwards. If the knees feel uncomfortable, place a blanket underneath the knees or you could also reduce the distance the back leg is stretched or the front leg is bent.
- Parvatasana or Adho Mukha Svanasana is a difficult pose for beginners. Here one could bend the knees or even reduce the distance between the feet and the arms. If placing the head deep is uncomfortable, then you could look up. In some cases of Migraine, looking down may be very uncomfortable. In such a case, simply look up. If the arms feel weak, use a blanket below the palms to give support to arms and shoulders.
- Ashtanga Namaskara or Ashtangasana (Salutation with Eight Limbs or Eight Limbed Pose) is most certainly easy to do after going flat on the floor and then raising the lower back and thighs off the floor. Some yoga students may find going into this yoga pose directly a bit difficult as a lot of pressure is put on the shoulders and arms. So one could practice by first going down flat on the tummy and then with inhalation rising up on the eight limbs.
- Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana requires chest and abdominal strength to bring the body in this yoga pose from Ashtangasana (Eight Limbed Pose). Here one could bend the elbow initially until one gets comfortable with the pose. You could place a blanket below the thighs to give support to the back to stay in the pose. To avoid more strain to the back, one can give a slight arch to the back and avoid going deep with the back bend.