How to do Sun Salutation B
Last week I was so busy it felt like time was flying by. On Thursday it was like no time passed between leaving the house in the morning and coming back at night. I missed almost a whole day, because I was wrapped up in busy-ness and planning. This week my intention is to stop and smell the roses. Ground down in the here and now, and appreciate the beauty of this moment.
In honor of that intention is a slow and juicy Sun Salutation B (surya namaskara). For this week’s#pathtothepose I’ll go through a step by step for each pose so anyone can give it a try. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Starting from mountain pose, or tadasana, reach up with your hands and sit back into utkatasana or chair pose. Watch how I look down at my feet and then set my hips back so I can see my toes, pull my low belly in and send my tailbone down down to lengthen my spine, and finally look up at my hands. On your inhale lengthen out through your chest and fingers, on your exhale squeeze your legs and core and sink a little deeper. This is a powerful pose for your legs, a great way to generate heat and breath, and good for strengthening your spine – both physically and mentally!
After chair, the start of sun B is the same as sun A. Dive down into a forward fold, bending your knees as much as you need to, inhale and lift up half way squeezing your shoulders together. Exhale plant your hands and step back into chaturanga or high to low plank, inhale upward facing dog, exhale downward facing dog. Check out my previous post for sun A to get some tricks and tips for these poses!
From downward facing dog, inhale and step forward into warrior I – let’s break down the transition. A question I’ve been getting from my students is how to step all the way forward in one go – many step as far as they can and then help their leg along with their hand or readjust the back leg. Obviously there is a geometry issue here where if you have wonderful long legs you may not have the space to bring your leg all the way forward with your palms pressed on the ground, and maybe you can! The key is to lift up through your core, tuck your knee into your chest, and move almost in an arc, and I do bring my foot around the outside slightly. Try just repeating the transition forward and backward slowly, and aim to make no noise as your foot lands on and leaves the mat, and focus on lifting through your belly. Are you a long-legged beau who has experienced this? What has worked for you?
The last pose in the sequence is warrior I or virabhadrasana I. Square your hips to the front, press down through the blade edge of your back foot, inhale and reach your low ribs away from your hips, exhale pull your belly button towards your spine. This isn’t an easy pose, in fact I was speaking to a friend this week about how challenging warrior I is for me. The hip and knee orientation is not the most comfortable for me, and I feel more powerful in warrior II or crescent warrior. Play around with the pose and see how you feel, there’s always something else you can do if you are uncomfortable.
From warrior I flow through your vinyasa (chaturanga, upward facing dog, and downward facing dog) and repeat on the other side. When you come back into downward facing dog, inhale bend your knees and look between your hands, exhale and step or float back to your forward fold. Finish the sequence with a half-way lift, forward fold, and come back to tadasana. This sequence is usually at the beginning of a yoga practice almost as a warm-up, to get your breath going and energy moving. Flow or vinyasa style classes will use this as a building block, and add new poses in between each vinyasa.
Here’s to living smelling roses.