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Sun Salutations

Up for Challenge? Try This Creative Ashtanga Sun Salutation

Try the Ashtanga sun salutation for a physically demanding practice that involves synchronizing the breath with near-constant movement in a series of postures.

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Ashtanga, a physically demanding practice that involves synchronizing the breath with near-constant movement in a prescribed series of postures, is already rich with Sun Salutations in the form of two sequences: Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B, which weaves in Chair Pose and Warrior I. If you’re already familiar with A and B and are up for something a bit more improvisational, give Sun Salutation C a try.

BACK TOWake Up + Revive with 3 Sun Salutation Practices
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Warrior Pose I

Virabhadrasana I

TO BEGIN Start with the seven poses from Sun Salutation B, then go to C.

Step forward with your right leg and gradually bend your right knee. Lift from the tailbone toward the navel and move your arms and torso into a vertical position. Turn the back foot slightly in, while squaring the hips and torso. Hold for 5–10 breaths.

See alsoWarrior I Has a Lot To Say If You Stop & Listen

Warrior Pose II

Virabhadrasana II

Open your arms and hips, lifting your pelvic floor and lower abdomen to facilitate the widening of the front of the pelvis and external rotation of the hips and thighs. Extend strongly through your arms and hands. Hold for 5–10 breaths.

See alsoStand Strong in Warrior II Pose

Extended Side Angle Pose

Utthita Parsvakonasana

Lightly bring the right hand to the floor alongside the little-toe edge of the right foot and extend your left arm over your left ear. Draw your right knee against your right arm. Press down into the outer edge of the left foot. Hold for 5–10 breaths.

See alsoLengthen Your Side Body in Side Angle Pose (Parsvakonasana)

Extended Triangle Pose

Utthita Trikonasana

Straighten your right leg and bring your left arm to a vertical position. Lift your kneecaps by engaging your quadriceps, and either grab the big toe of the right foot with the right hand or place your hand on the ankle or shin. Hold for 5–10 breaths.

See alsoModifications for Triangle Pose if You Have Tight Hamstrings

Half Moon Pose

Ardha Chandrasana

Bend your right leg and place your right hand about a foot in front of the right foot, leaning forward to straighten the right leg. Bring the left leg up so it’s parallel to the floor. Flex the foot; extend the left arm up. Hold for 5–10 breaths.

See alsoBuild Balance + Transition from Triangle Pose to Half Moon Pose

Revolved Half Moon Pose

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana

Place your left hand on the floor next to your right one and lift your right arm straight up by twisting the torso. Point the left foot and extend the left leg. Hold for 5–10 breaths. Bend your left knee and lower the foot.

See alsoGet Strong and Shine On: Half Moon Pose

Revolved Triangle Pose

Ashtanga Revolved/Reverse Triangle

Parivrtta Trikonasana

Straighten your right leg, turn your back foot in, and internally rotate your left thigh. Place your left hand to the outside of your right foot. Draw your right hip back and down, extend your right arm up, and open your chest. Hold for 5–10 breaths.

See alsoExpand Mind + Body: Extended Triangle Pose

Revolved Side Angle Pose

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

Move your left foot back about a foot and bend your right knee over your right ankle. Move your right hip back and in, drawing your sitting bones toward each other. Press into the outer edge of your left foot. Hold for 5–10 breaths.

See alsoEquinox Flow: 4 Poses for Balance

Warrior Pose I

Raise arms overhead while lifting from the tailbone toward the navel and moving the arms and torso into a vertical position. Turn the back foot slightly in and ground the outer edge, while squaring the hips and torso. Hold for 5–10 breaths.

See also5 Experts, 1 Pose: Find New Nuances to Warrior I

Four-Limbed Staff Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana

On an exhale, bring your hands to the floor; step back with your right leg. Bend your arms and lower your chest until your shoulders are the same height as your elbows, balancing on your toes, keeping your thighs and midsection firm.

See alsoChaturanga Challenge: Engage Your Inner Thighs for Core Strength

Upward-Facing Dog Pose

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

On an inhale, push forward through your toes and bring your chest upward until your arms are straight, pressing firmly into the tops of your feet as you broaden your chest and roll your shoulders out and down away from your ears.

See alsoDo This, Not That: Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Downward Facing Dog Ashtanga

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Pull your toes forward until you can use the toe tips as pivot points, then flip feet and push back through your hands, moving shoulders back. Drop your head and press through your heels. Hold for 5–10 breaths. Repeat sequence on other side.

TO END Finish with these eight poses from Sun Salutation B.

See alsoFind Proper Arm Alignment in Downward Facing Dog