Yoga posture adho mukha svanasana, downward facing dog

Surya Namaskar - Sun Salutation

April 12, 2022

Surya Namaskar - Sun Salutation.

Soo -Ryah -Na-Ma-Skar.

Surya = Sun

Namaskar = Salutations or Bowing.

Sun salutations move the body in all directions, they increase energy flow and vitality and lengthen and strengthen every major muscle group in the body and stimulate internal organs.

How to Perform a Surya Namaskar

The following version of a Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is a great starting point.  

Begin in tadasana (the mountain), stand with a straight spine and a small space between the insides of your feet with the outside edges of your feet parallel.  Begin to breathe slowly in and out through your nose.  

When you are ready fully inhale as you exhale bring your hands to a prayer position in front of your chest.

Inhale and lift your hands above your head allowing your hands to part so that they are shoulder width apart with your palms facing forward, activate your lower abdominal muscles (to protect the lower back) and lift your breast bone, drop your head back and allow your hips to move forward. 

Exhale and fold your body into uttanasana (standing forward bend). Make sure you engage the lower abdominal muscles as you fold forwards, your arms take the natural path down until your fingertips touch the floor or they just hang alongside your legs.

Inhale and step your right leg back as far as possible whilst bending your left knee, to form a long lunge and place your hands onto the floor. Make sure that your left knee is over your left ankle (to protect the knee).  

Exhale and move to adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog). Step the left foot back so it is beside the right, allow your hips to move up and back to create a triangular shape with your body and the floor.  

Inhale and move to santolasana (high plank) by moving your shoulders forward and lowering your hips to form a straight line between your shoulders and your heels. Make sure that you brace the abdominal muscles as you move through this transition to protect your lower back. 

As you exhale lower knees, chest and chin to the floor whilst the hips remain lifted, this posture is known as the the 8 point salutation.

Inhale and move to urdhva mukha svanasana (upward facing dog). Slide your chest forward, lower your hips and slowly straighten your arms lifting your shoulders and torso from the floor.

Exhale and activate the lower abdominal muscles firmly as you move back to adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog).

Inhale and step the right foot forward into anjaneyasana (long lunge). This time the left leg is extended.

Exhale and step your left foot beside your right, straighten your legs and relax your upper body into uttanasana (standing forward bend).

Inhale and slowly uncurl whilst lifting the arms keeping them parallel. When the hands are above the shoulders, lift the breast bone, drop your head back and draw up the lower abdominal muscles as you allow the hips to move forward.

Exhale as lower your arms in front of your body keeping them parallel and returning to tadasana (the mountain).

Repeat all of the above stepping back with the left leg. Continue working both sides equally for at least 5 complete rounds and then gradually increase the amount of repetitions.

This blog article was written by Sue Fuller creator of the Yoga 2 Hear range of audio yoga classes and yoga teacher training courses. 


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