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How to Do Yoga Sun Salutations B (Surya Namaskar B)

Sun Salutations are a great way to start practising vinyasa yoga at home. They warm up the body and get you flowing. If you’re not sure what to do when you roll out your mat, start with a few rounds of Surya Namaskar and see where that takes you. After you are comfortable with the basic flow of Sun Salutations A, try this slightly more advanced Surya B routine, which also comes from the Ashtanga tradition. With its inclusion of Chair Pose and Warrior I, plus extra vinyasas, the B variation fires up your legs and generates more heat.

  1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Begin by coming to stand in Mountain pose at the top of your mat. Take a few breaths here to get aligned and drop your awareness into your body.

  1. Inhale to Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

On an inhalation, lift your arms overhead and bend your knees to sink your seat toward the floor. Bring your palms to touch overhead or keep the palms shoulders’ distance apart if that’s more comfortable.

  1. Exhale to a Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

On an exhalation, release your arms to either side as you straighten your legs and come into a standing forward fold. Bring your weight slightly into the balls of your feet to keep your hips over your ankles.

  1. Inhale to a Flat Back (Ardha Uttanasana)

On an inhalation, come up to your fingertips or bring your palms to your shins, whichever allows you to lift to a flat-backed position. Lift your head so your neck maintains the natural extension of your spine and let your gaze come to rest a few feet in front of your toes.

  1. Exhale to Jump Back Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

On an exhalation, bend your knees and soften your elbows to jump your feet to the back of your mat, landing with the elbows bent 90 degrees in Chaturanga. It’s actually quite difficult to land with good alignment, so if this jump back isn’t a part of your practice, step back to Plank instead and lower from there to Chaturanga on an exhalation.

  1. Inhale to Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Flip to the tops of your feet and press into your palms to come into Upward Facing Dog. Keep your shoulder down and soften your elbows to draw your chest through your upper arms.

  1. Exhale to Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Lift your hips and return to the balls of your feet (flip one at a time or roll over) to press back into Downward Facing Dog. 

  1. Inhale to Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

On an inhalation of breath, step your right foot forward next to your right hand. We usually say to place the foot to the inside of the hand when stepping forward, but try stepping the foot to the outside of the hand instead. This automatically sets your feet up for a wider and more stable Warrior I. Pivot on the ball of your left foot to lower the left heel to your mat, placing the heel down at about a 45-degree angle (use your Liforme Yoga Mat’s alignment guide lines if you have them). Lift your arms overhead while bending into your right knee to keep the knee over the ankle. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and lift your gaze. You’ll have to move quickly to do all of this during one inhalation.

  1. Exhale to Chaturanga Dandasana

On your next exhalation, release your hands to the front of your mat and step your right foot to the back of your mat to lower to Chaturanga. Even though you’re moving quickly, maintain your safe alignment by coming forward onto your tiptoes before you lower. This helps you keep your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Also, remember to lower only to the point at which your upper arms are parallel to the floor. When things go fast they tend to get sloppy, so stay present.

  1. Inhale to Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Move through the rest of your vinyasa.

  1. Exhale to Downward Facing Dog

Lift your hips to come back to Down Dog.

  1. Repeat the Warrior I sequence with the left foot forward this time. Return to Downward Facing Dog after your vinyasa.
  1. Exhale to a Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Jump or step your feet to the front of your mat to come into a standing forward fold.

  1. Inhale to Flat Back (Ardha Uttanasana)

Lift up to a flat back with your hands on your shins or fingertips on the floor.

  1. Exhale to a Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Return to a full forward fold.

  1. Inhale to Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Bend your knees to drop your seat back and lift your arms overhead to come back into Chair Pose.

  1. Exhale to Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Straighten your legs to come to a standing position and release your arms to your sides with the palms facing forward.

Running through a few rounds of Sun B in time with your breath will really get your heart pumping and your practice going. It’s also a natural way to start your own sequencing, as other standing poses flow easily from Warrior I.

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