Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans
Surya Namaskar A: Ashtanga Yoga Sequence of Sun Salutation A
There are many methods of following the standard practice of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). In this variation, you will notice the prana awakening is done at the center of the Sushumna Nadi. Unlike most other Sun Salutations, the focus is on both sides of the spine. Usually, you begin with the right side of the body (involving the right side of the spine, leg, hip, back, and right shoulder) and end it with the left side (left side of the spine, leg, hip, back, and the left shoulder). However, with this variation of Surya Namaskar A, the feet are always together, and the focus remains on the entire spine.This practice forms part of the Ashtanga Yoga and is done at the beginning of every yoga practice. As the students master this, they move to the next set of yoga poses in Surya Namaskar B (Sun Salutation B).
The yoga sequence given below comprises more or less the same as Surya Namaskar A, with just one change in the fifth yoga pose. Replacing Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) with Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose). Also, note we have used variations (static and dynamic) for a better understanding for beginners to yoga.
How many Surya Namaskar?
A frequent question asked!
The most important thing to answer before we answer ‘how many’, is- How are you going to do the Surya Namaskar?. Irrespective of the variation of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), it can be done in three ways:
The first or the slow (static) method is when you hold each yoga pose for more than 2-3 breaths.
The second or the medium (neither static nor dynamic) method is when you hold each pose just for one breath and go at a controlled pace when moving from one yoga pose to the other.
The third or the dynamic (fast) method is when you move through the yoga poses with the coordination of both inhalation and exhalation; thus, each yoga pose is done with either inhalation or exhalation.
Now, based on the method you practice, the Surya Namaskar counts vary. The static method will take longer but will open up the deeper tissues and hence can be done for 4-6 rounds. The medium method is done for 10-12 rounds, and the dynamic method can be done for 18-20 rounds. The other variations of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), are done in sets (pairs), as they involve both sides of the body.
The Ashtanga Style of Yoga practices A & B, in sets of 5 and sets of 3 respectively.
It is becoming relatively a modern practice to bring Hatha Yoga Surya Namaskar variations as a routine, and are done 108 times (54 sets) in number to lose weight.
Another way to practice this traditional pre-structured yoga sequence is with the mantras, which is done facing the sun during the early hours of the day. Given below is the link to the same, if one wants to bring this practice holistically.
Surya Namaskar A: Ashtanga Yoga Sequence of Sun Salutation A: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions
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A. From Volcano Pose, inhale stretching the arms above, exhale to go down in a forward bend in Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold Pose).
B. Stay here for about 4 breaths, inhale to relax, exhale to go down towards your shins.
C. Very important to keep the breathing under your control. Never take your mind off the breath or the body.
Beginner Tip: Placing a yoga block beside your feet to keep the palms or bending the knees a bit to reach for the floor with your hands. But ensure the alignment is perfect without also straining the lower back.
A. Inhale, raise the head up and pressing the hands down on the floor, look up to go into Urdhva Uttanasana (Upward Forward Fold).
B. In Upward Forward Fold, watch the stretch around the hamstrings, hips, shoulder, arms, and neck.
C. Stay here for about 4 breaths, relax to loosen the joints and muscles, stretch them while exhaling to go deep into the posture.
Beginner Tips: While this pose will bring a great stretch to the hamstrings and the neck, one could use blocks for the hands to make the posture comfortable. Even placing yoga blocks between your thighs would help.
A. From Half Forward Bend Pose, inhale and bend the knees, exhale and take the feet behind to come to Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose).
B. Exhale completely and begin the breathing to remain in this posture for about 4 breaths.
C. Ensure the feet are comfortable, if not adjust the distance to make the body feel comfortable.
D. While here, inhale to loosen the arms and shoulders, exhale to press the shoulders and arms to feel the stretch around the muscles.
E. A great way to open hips, lower back, shoulders, and core.
Beginner Tip: If bringing the legs stretched out completely is a challenge, bend the knees as per the body comfort and don’t push the shoulders too much. Relax the neck and the arms by reducing the distance between the feet and the palms. The other alternative is to go on your toes, the more you flex the toes, the faster the hamstrings and the hips open.