Surya Namaskar – essential fundamentals! – 4/6 Roxane

I’m sure many of us would have heard of Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar, during our practice one time or another. Most lessons would begin with a Surya Namaskar to warm up the body. Each pose in the sequence involves different parts of the body, including stretching out and engaging of the muscles.

As a teacher, having your students practise Surya Namaskar provides a good indication of the level of practice they are at.

  • Tadasana – General look of one’s posture
  • Urdhva Hastasana – Possible tight shoulders
  • Uttanasana / Adha Uttanasana – Whether hamstrings or back are tight
  • Phalankasana – Arm strength and core, core core
  • Ashtanga Namaskar – Back flexibility, and arm strength when lowering down
  • Bhujangasana – Back flexibility and strength
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana – Arm strength, shoulders, back flexibility and strength, hamstrings, any hyperextension of joints

There are also so many variations of Surya Namaskar out there which can be added into the practice. Just a few examples:

  • Tadasana – Urdhva Hastasana – Uttanasana – Adha Uttanasana – Phalankasana – Ashtanga Namaskar – Bhujangasana- Adho Mukha Svanasana – Adha Uttanasana – Uttanasana- Urdhva Hastasana – Tadasana
  • Tadasana – Urdhva Hastasana – Uttanasana – Adha Uttanasana – Phalankasana – Chaturanga – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Adho Mukha Svanasana – Adha Uttanasana – Uttanasana- Urdhva Hastasana – Tadasana
  • Tadasana – Urdhva Hastasana – Uttanasana – Adha Uttanasana – Virabhadrasana I – Phalankasana – Ashtanga Namaskar – Bhujangasana- Adho Mukha Svanasana – Virabhadrasana I – Adha Uttanasana – Uttanasana- Urdhva Hastasana – Tadasana
  • Tadasana – Urdhva Hastasana – Uttanasana – Utkatasana – Uttanasana – Adha Uttanasana – Phalankasana – Ashtanga Namaskar – Bhujangasana- Adho Mukha Svanasana – Adha Uttanasana – Uttanasana- Utkatasana- Urdhva Hastasana – Tadasana

But apart from practising Surya Namaskar as a warm up, it is actually a good practice to focus inwards and as a form of movement meditation. As we move from pose to pose, we connect them with our breaths, inhaling and exhaling. After practising this sequence so often, I find it the most effective way to quieten my mind, focusing on how my body feels at each pose and how my breath is. I came across this quote on Surya Namaskar while researching online and absolutely love it: “One is offering salutation to the Divine, represented by the sun, as a source of light removing the darkness of a clouded mind and as a source of vitality removing the diseases of the body”. So why not take a few minutes out, go out into the sunshine, and practise your Surya Namaskar 😉