Sun Salutation A


YOGA VIDA
Posture Center

MOUNTAIN POSE

English/Sanskrit Mountain Pose, Tadasana

Level Basic

Alignment Stand at the front of mat with inner edges of feet touching. Spread toes and press feet down equally. Lift arches and inner ankles up, lift kneecaps up to engage thighs. Pull navel in and up and lengthen tailbone down. Lengthen side ribs, lift center of chest and pull shoulders down and across the back. Face palms toward thighs with the fingers together. Engage and lengthen arms towards floor. Lengthen back of neck, maintaining the natural curve of the spine, and reach up through the crown of your head.

Modifications For hyperextension, take micro-bends in elbows or knees as necessary. A micro-bend is an almost undetectable bend in the elbow or knee so that the joint won’t bear the pressure of the weight and the muscles can begin to engage.

For flat feet, accentuate the lifting of inner arch. Feel more pressure in the outer edge of your foot and anchor the big toe joint down into the mat.

Benefits Improves posture, strengthens legs, increases awareness and develops grounding.
Posture Center

UPWARD HAND POSE

English/Sanskrit Upward Hand Pose, Urdhva Hastasana

Level Basic

Alignment Find Tadasana alignment in legs and torso. Reach arms up straight in full extension and take hands to a prayer. Draw shoulder blades down and across the back, gaze at thumbs, and press fingertips and knuckles together. Lift chest and draw lower ribs into spine while lengthening tailbone down.

Modifications For trouble keeping shoulders down your back, separate your arms and keep them shoulder-width distance apart with the palms facing each other.

Benefits Lengthens torso and lumbar spine, and takes the weight out of low back while stretching shoulders.
Posture Center

INTENSE FORWARD BEND

English/Sanskrit Intense Forward Bend, Uttanasana

Level Basic

Alignment Bring feet together, keep legs extended, and fold forward. Press hands down in line with feet and relax neck. Find equal weight in the balls of your feet and heels, and draw sitz-bones together. Soften your shoulders away from your ears.

Modifications If palms don’t press down fully, place a block underneath each hand on any setting.

For a rounded spine, bend knees and tip hips and sitz-bones up high. If upper spine is still rounded, pull chest forward more until the rounding dissolves.

For hyperextension, take micro-bends in knees, shift weight forward and lift sitz-bones up.

Do not perform without the guidance of a qualified teacher if experiencing glaucoma, hamstring injuries, or spinal disk disorders.

Benefits Improves flexibility in the hamstrings and spine. Strengthens legs and spine. Improves digestion, stimulates the liver and kidneys, and regulates blood pressure. Relieves insomnia and stress.
Posture Center

HALF INTENSE STRETCH

English/Sanskrit Half Intense Stretch, Ardha Uttanasana

Level Basic

Alignment From Uttanasana, extend arms, look up, and lift chest forward. Draw your shoulder blades down your back. Keep palms pressing down or come to fingertips.

Modifications If hands don’t make contact with floor, use blocks.

For hyperextension, take micro-bend in knees and shift weight forward.

Benefits Strengthens and stretches legs. Lengthens spine and torso, and stimulates abdominal organs.
Posture Center

FLOAT BACK

English Float Back, Hop Back

Level Basic

Alignment From Ardha Uttanasana, bend knees and press hands into the floor under shoulders. Hop legs back as elbows bend and chest reaches forward, landing in Chaturanga.

Modifications If working with an injury or fatigue, or if building strength, step back to plank pose and lower into Chaturanga or Knees Chest Chin.

Benefits Builds strength, coordination and focus.
Posture Center

FOUR-LIMBED STAFF POSE

English/Sanskrit Four-Limbed Staff Pose, Chaturanga Dandasana

Level Flow

Alignment From Downward Facing Dog, roll chest forward to top of a push-up, with shoulders are over wrists and body parallel to the floor. Keep chin forward slightly, stay on balls of feet, and press heels back. Lift navel toward spine and lengthen tailbone toward heels. Bend elbows and move chest forward and down at the same time. Shoulders should be in line with elbows making a perfect right angle.

Modifications For fatigue, stay at the top of the push-up and work on strengthening.

For shoulder injuries, don’t bend elbows so low. Start with lowering 3-4 inches and work on pulling chest forward more.

Do not perform if experiencing carpal tunnel.

Benefits Builds strength, coordination and focus.
Posture Center

UPWARD FACING DOG

English/Sanskrit Upward Facing Dog, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Level Flow

Alignment From Chaturanga, roll onto the tops of feet, pointing toes. Extend arms and pull chest through upper arms, moving your shoulders down your back. Press into the tops of feet, and keep lifting knees and thighs off floor. Spread fingers and lift chin slightly.

Modifications For fatigue, take Low Cobra instead.

For hyperextension, take micro-bends in elbows. Press through index finger more.

Do not perform if experiencing serious back injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Benefits Strengthens wrists, arms, and buttocks and stretches lungs, chest, spine, shoulders and abdomen.
Posture Center

DOWNWARD FACING DOG

English/Sanskrit Downward Facing Dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana

Level Basic

Alignment Come to hands and knees. Place hands shoulder-width distance apart, with wrists and middle fingers parallel and fingers evenly spaced. Tuck toes and lift knees off floor. Extend arms and legs, and lift hips up high. Roll forward to top of push-up.

Align shoulders over wrists and see that body is straight. When measurement is assessed correctly, push hips up and back, extend arms and relax neck. See that feet are hip-width distance apart. Spread toes and reach heels towards floor. Keep arches and inner ankle bones lifted, tilt sitz-bones up, and engage legs. Draw your navel and front ribs in, and lengthen spine. Externally rotate upper arms and soften neck. Gaze at navel or thighs, and keep arms extending straight. Press through fingertips, base of knuckles, and inner and outer wrists while lifting through arches of hands.

Modifications If supporting your weight feels quite challenging, try first at the wall. Stand about one legs-width distance away from the wall with feet hip‐width distance apart. Reach your arms straight forward until palms press into wall, shoulder-­width distance apart. Bend at hips, move chest toward the floor and press hips back. Relax neck and look down, as you externally rotate upper arms.

For tight shoulders, use a block underneath each hand on the lowest setting.

For a rounded lower back or tight hamstrings, bend your knees in this pose and work on tilting hips and sitz­‐bones up. You can also try modifying by placing a block underneath each foot.

For hyperextension take micro­‐bends in elbows or knees as necessary.

For flat feet, work on lifting arches more by spreading toes and pressing firmly into outer edges of feet and big toe joint.

Benefits Strengthens arms, shoulders, and legs. Stretches shoulders, spine and hamstrings. Increases circulation and energizes body. Relieves stress and headaches.
Posture Center

PREP TO FLOAT FORWARD

English Prep to Float Forward, Prep to Hop Forward

Level Flow

Alignment From Downward Facing Dog, lift heels, bend knees, and look

Benefits Ensures safe preparation for hopping.
Posture Center

FLOAT FORWARD

English Float Forward, Hop Forward

Level Flow

Alignment From Prep To Float Forward, softly hop your feet forward to land between your hands. Arrive with bent knees to cushion the knee joints. Keep the gaze forward as you hop. Modifications If working with an injury or fatigue, or if building strength, step or lunge forward instead of hopping.

Benefits Builds strength, coordination and focus.
Posture Center

HALF INTENSE STRETCH

English/Sanskrit Half Intense Stretch, Ardha Uttanasana

Level Basic

Alignment From Uttanasana, extend arms, look up, and lift chest forward. Draw your shoulder blades down your back. Keep palms pressing down or come to fingertips. Modifications If hands don’t make contact with floor, use blocks.

For hyperextension, take micro-bend in knees and shift weight forward.

Benefits Strengthens and stretches legs. Lengthens spine and torso, and stimulates abdominal organs.
Posture Center

INTENSE FORWARD BEND

English/Sanskrit Intense Forward Bend, Uttanasana

Level Basic

Alignment Bring feet together, keep legs extended, and fold forward. Press hands down in line with feet and relax neck. Find equal weight in the balls of your feet and heels, and draw sitz-bones together. Soften your shoulders away from your ears. Modifications If palms don’t press down fully, place a block underneath each hand on any setting.

For a rounded spine, bend knees and tip hips and sitz-bones up high. If upper spine is still rounded, pull chest forward more until the rounding dissolves.

For hyperextension, take micro-bends in knees, shift weight forward and lift sitz-bones up.

Do not perform without the guidance of a qualified teacher if experiencing glaucoma, hamstring injuries, or spinal disk disorders.

Benefits Improves flexibility in the hamstrings and spine. Strengthens legs and spine. Improves digestion, stimulates the liver and kidneys, and regulates blood pressure. Relieves insomnia and stress.
Posture Center

UPWARD HAND POSE

English/Sanskrit Upward Hand Pose, Urdhva Hastasana

Level Basic

Alignment Find Tadasana alignment in legs and torso. Reach arms up straight in full extension and take hands to a prayer. Draw shoulder blades down and across the back, gaze at thumbs, and press fingertips and knuckles together. Lift chest and draw lower ribs into spine while lengthening tailbone down.

Modifications For trouble keeping shoulders down your back, separate your arms and keep them shoulder-width distance apart with the palms facing each other.

For flat feet, accentuate the lifting of inner arch. Feel more pressure in the outer edge of your foot and anchor the big toe joint down into the mat.

Benefits Lengthens torso and lumbar spine, and takes the weight out of low back while stretching shoulders.
Posture Center

MOUNTAIN POSE

English/Sanskrit Mountain Pose, Tadasana

Level Basic

Alignment Stand at the front of mat with inner edges of feet touching. Spread toes and press feet down equally. Lift arches and inner ankles up, lift kneecaps up to engage thighs. Pull navel in and up and lengthen tailbone down. Lengthen side ribs, lift center of chest and pull shoulders down and across the back. Face palms toward thighs with the fingers together. Engage and lengthen arms towards floor. Lengthen back of neck, maintaining the natural curve of the spine, and reach up through the crown of your head.

Modifications For hyperextension, take micro-bends in elbows or knees as necessary. A micro-bend is an almost undetectable bend in the elbow or knee so that the joint won’t bear the pressure of the weight and the muscles can begin to engage.

For flat feet, accentuate the lifting of inner arch. Feel more pressure in the outer edge of your foot and anchor the big toe joint down into the mat.

Benefits Improves posture, strengthens legs, increases awareness and develops grounding.