Home Practice: Surya Namaskar


As I wrote yesterday, I do not teach so my students will be dependent on me for their Yoga.  I want my students to learn from me, yes, but I really want them to learn so much more as they practice on their own.  To help you in creating a home practice, if you haven’t already, here is a chart of Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation.  This chart is provided by the Amrit Yoga Institute and features Gurudev demonstrating the postures.  Gurudev is a bit younger in these images and the alignment in lunge has been modified since the pictures were made:  The front knee needs to be directly over the ankle and press into the back heel so the back leg is fully extended.  Starting Monday and every Monday after that, I’ll review one of the postures in depth.  Once I finish with the postures of Surya Namaskar, I’ll continue with the rest of the postures in the Level I sequence.

Here’s a suggestion for how to practice Surya Namaskar: First begin your practice with a brief meditation and warm-up breath as described yesterday.  Step to the top of your mat and begin a round of Surya Namaskar on the right side (you will notice that on the chart, the directions show to step the right foot back or forward into lunge first) moving into or out of each posture on the breath.  For example, inhale to standing backbend, exhale directly to standing forward bend, inhale the right foot back to lunge and so forth.  Each transition happening on each inhale or exhale.  Complete one round on the right side and then repeat on the left.  Do a total of four rounds (two right and two left) moving on the breath.  On the fifth round, hold each posture for 5 full breaths before moving to the next posture.  On the sixth round, hold for 6 breaths and on the seventh, hold for 7 breaths.

In the beginning, your breath may be a little shallow.  Shallow breathing will shorten the amount of time you hold each pose.  Focus on breathing completely, a full inhale and a full exhale on each breath  but do not strain, struggle or force your breath.  This is not a fight.  As you continue to practice, your breath will slow, you will hold the postures longer and the effect on body and mind will become greater.

Jai Bhagwan