Yoga for beginners: Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation A)

Yoga for beginners: Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation A)

Yoga is one of the main fitness trends in 2014. So this weekend Niina and Aline met up outside Uppsala Cathedral to shoot a beginner’s tutorial for a basic yoga sequence: Surya Namaskara A, also known as Sun Salutation A. It’s as easy as 1-2-3 and we guarantee that you’ll be hooked!

It’s very important in yoga not to focus on your results, but instead always concentrate on the breathing and the positions will gradually perfect themselves over the time. So we are definitely not claiming that these pictures are the top standard you should be aiming for, rather a visual reference, so you can learn some basics in case you’re new to yoga, and enjoy the view of one of Sweden’s most stunning cathedrals.

Ideally, you should practice yoga barefoot on a mat, but the weather was a bit too cold for that, so Aline left her shoes on. Standing in the front part of the mat, bring your heels and toes together. Make sure your back is straight, pull your shoulders down and open up your chest. From here include “yoga breathing” – Ujaiya Pramayama: inhale and exhale through the nose, resonating deeply in the chest and the back of the throat (it should sound a bit like Darth Vader).

Inhale and bring your arms over your head. Press palms against each other and look at your thumbs (shown on the picture above).

Yoga for beginners: Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation A)

Swan Dive

As you exhale, fold over, but keep your spine straight, bring your arms to the sides for a balance and continue diving all the way to the floor.

Yoga for beginners: Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation A)

Uttanasana

Exhale and continue to Uttanasana where you either place your hands by the sides of your feet, or if you’re less flexible – on your ankles. You can even slightly bend your knees, in case you can’t reach the ground, but remember to keep your back straight!

Yoga for beginners: Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation A)

Inhale, lengthen through the front of the body and look up.

Yoga for beginners: Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation A)

Plank Position

As you exhale, step or jump back into the plank position. Check out this post to perform it right.

Chaturanga Dandasana

Chaturanga Dandasana

Continue to exhale lower the body down, elbows tucked into the sides. If there’s not enough strength in the arms yet, you can bring your knees down first and then proceed with Chaturanga Dandasana. Your arms should come down to about 90 degrees, so avoid bringing the body all the way down to the floor.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog)

From here straighten your arms and inhale. Balance on your feet and make sure you don’t shrug the shoulders.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)

Adho Mukha Svanasana
(Downward-Facing Dog)

Exhale and using the strength of the core push yourself back into Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward-Facing Dog position. Make sure the weight of your body is equally divided between your arms and legs; fingers must be widely spread and the back as straight as possible. In the beginning you might find that your heels don’t come all the way to the ground, which is totally fine, just keep practicing and you’ll get there. You can even bend the knees, if it makes it easier for you to keep the spine long and straight. Hold this position for five long breaths.

Yoga for beginners: Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation A)

Inhale, jump forward and lengthen the upper body.

Yoga for beginners: Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation A)

Uttanasana

Exhale, fold all the way down to Uttanasana.

Yoga for beginners: Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation A)

Inhale, come up and bring your arms over the head.

Yoga for beginners: Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation A)

Exhale, return to the starting position. Repeat this sequence three to five times in the mornings as a great little exercise or as a warm up for a longer yoga practice.

Namaste.

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