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Trickle is a community of lifelong learners where you can discover curated insights and share your own knowledge.

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The Sun Salutation is the most popular flow for beginners

Chapter 8 Combining poses to flowing sequences (Vinyasa)

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The Sun Salutation is a classic vinyasa flow that acts both as a warm-up for a full yoga class or can be practiced on its own for a complete practice. It is a sequence of postures or asanas that aims to awaken the body physically, mentally, and energetically. It is often performed in the morning facing the sunrise, but it can be done at any time of day. The movements flow together fluidly and bring awareness to the entire body. Physically, it targets just about every part of the body so that you’re prepared for a longer practice involving more poses.

The traditional name of the sun salutation is Surya Namaskār, which is derived from Sanskrit. Surya means sun and is also the name of the Hindu god of the sun. Namaskar is a greeting with the same root as the word Namaste. The exact history of the sun salutation is unclear. It may be derived from a Vedic ritual dating back to the 17th century. It was popularized in the 1920s by Bhawanrao Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi Share this expert BBP Bhawanrao Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi and described in a book . Tirumalai Krishnamacharya Share this expert TK Tirumalai Krishnamacharya is also believed to have been an important individual in the popularization of the sun salutation by teaching it to his students, who later exported it to the West.

There are several variations of the Sun Salutation. The most common one is variation A , which includes the following poses:

  • Mountain Pose (Samasthiti or Tadasana)
  • Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
  • Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
  • Half Standing Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana)
  • Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
  • Upward-facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
  • Downward-facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Half Standing Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana)
  • Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
  • Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
  • Mountain Pose (Samasthiti or Tadasana)

Two variations of the classic sun saluation

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Breathing is an important aspect of the sun salutation. The sequence starts with Mountain Pose (Tadasana), the transition to Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana) is accompanied by an inhalation. The next transition to Forward Fold (Uttanasana) occurs with and exhalation. Alternate between inhalation and exhalation with each transition. Breathing should remain even and controlled.

There is a nocturnal counterpart to Surya Namaskār called the Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskār). It was conceived to be a soothing sequence that invites you to bow to and cultivate the moon’s soothing lunar energy.

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