My TIIH Yoga Journal

Sun Salutation A – Beginner

Surya Namaskar

(SOOR-yah nah-mah-scar) / namaskar = “to bow”

This is the basic leading movements in most Hatha Yoga practices. The letter “A” indicates that this is a beginner Surya Namaskar sequence and is traditionally practiced in Ashtanga style yoga.I’m listing them here by their Sanskrit names 1st in an effort to learn proper pronunciation. “Inhale” and “exhale” are bolded to remind me that it is important to remind students when they should be breathing.


Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

(tah-DAH-sanna)  / tada = “mountain”

  • Stand in Mountain Pose at the front of your mat.
  • Inner edges of your feet together.
  • Lift the toes and spread them and set them down.
  • Ground your foundation into all 4 corners of your feet.
  • Roll your shoulders back. You’re tall.
  • Soft face. Relax your jaw, mouth closed, lips together.
  • Bring your palms together in front of the heart center.

Ujjayi Pranayama (Conqueror Breath)

(oo-JIE-ee) / ujjayi = “to conquer, to be victorious”

  • INHALE deep through the nose.
  • EXHALE

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)

(oord-vah hahs-TAHS-anna) / urdhva = “raised (or upward)” + hasta = “hand”

  • INHALE roll your palms out raising the hands above the head.
  • Lift the chest and arch the back.
  • Core is engaged. Neck is long.
  • Look up…and gaze at the thumbs.

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)

(OOT-tan-AHS-anna) / ut = “intense” + tan = “to stretch or extend”

  • EXHALE swan dive folding forward.
  • Pivot at the hip joint making your spine long.
  • Place your hands as close to your feet as you can in line with the toes, or just touch your ankles.
  • Chin to shins if you can. Bend the knees if you need to.
  • Gaze towards the navel.

Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Half Forward Fold)

(are-dah oot-tan-AHS-anna) / ardha = “half” + uttana = “intense stretch”

  • INHALE lift your heart and come to a flat back and look forward, fingers in line with the toes.
  • If your back is rounded, bring your hands to your knees to flatten the back.

(Begin “beginner” variations here…)

  • EXHALE step the right leg back into a high lunge
  • INHALE lift the head
  • EXHALE bring the left leg back moving into high plank and INHALE
  • EXHALE looking forward and bring your knees chest and chin to the floor

Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose

(boo-jang-GAHS-anna) / bhujanga = “serpent, snake”

  • INHALE lifting the chest but keep your navel on the floor.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)

(AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna) / adho = “downward” + mukha = “face” + svana = “dog”

  • EXHALE use core to lift your hips and roll back into downward facing dog.
  • Your feet are hip-distance apart.
  • Get comfortable here and evenly distribute you weight between your hand and feet, pushing the mat away from you.
  • Press in your finger tips.
  • If you can’t press your heels to the mat, not problem, pick them up and bend your knees a bit.
  • Stay here for 3-5 deep breaths.
  • Keep your shoulders away from your ears. Relax your neck, stare at your naval.
  • INHALE lift the right leg up
  • EXHALE step the right leg forward into a high lunge

NOTE: We go “out” of Sun Salutation-A the same way we went “in”, beginning with Standing Half Forward Fold.


Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Half Forward Fold)

(are-dah oot-tan-AHS-anna) / ardha = “half” + uttana = “intense stretch”

  • INHALE step the left leg forward. lift your chest looking up

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)

(OOT-tan-AHS-ahna) / ut = “intense” + tan = “to stretch or extend”

  • EXHALE folding forward
  • Pivot at the hip joint making your spine long.
  • Place your hands as close to your feet as you can in line with the toes, or just touch your ankles.
  • Chin to shins if you can. Bend the knees if you need to.
  • Gaze towards the navel.

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)

(oord-vah hahs-TAHS-anna) / urdhva = “raised (or upward)” + hasta = “hand”

  • INHALE lift up raising the hands above the head and lift the chest and arching the back lifting your heart to the sky.

Samastitihi (Mountain Pose)

(Sa-maas-tee-tee-hee) / “equal standing”

  • EXHALE bring our hands together in front of your heart.
2 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Day of Class! Did introductions and reviewed program expectations, started Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation A – Beginner Variations), setting our intentions (Sankalpa), journaling, overview of Patanjali’s 8-Limbed Yoga […]

  2. […] Salutation A (Surya Namaskar): Dove right in to Sun Salutations, both beginner and traditional. First Nancy taught, then we each […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.