Continued from: Sequence for Learning Surya Namaskara
The following pages describe step by step the twelve different positions of surya namaskara together with the associated breathing sequence.
POSITION 1: PRANAMASANA (PRAYER POSE)
Stand erect with the feet together. Face the sun or the direction of the sun. Place the two palms together in front of the chest in an attitude of prayer, the namaskara mudra. Close the eyes and relax the whole body. Be aware of the body for at least half a minute. This will prepare you for the forthcoming practice. Try to consciously relax the muscles of the body. Breathing: Breathe normally with full awareness.
POSITION 2: HASTA UITH AN ASANA (RAISED ARMS POSE)
Raise both arms above the head, keeping hands separated by a shoulder’s width. At the end of the movement bend the head, arms and upper trunk backwards.
The palms should face forwards. The movement should be executed in one smooth motion with awareness. Breathing: Inhale while raising the arms.
POSITION 3: PADAHASTASANA (HAND TO FOOT POSE)
Bend forward and place the palms of the hands on the floor, either in front of or on each side of the feet. The movement should be continuous and without any jerking. Keep the legs straight. If possible, try to touch your knees with your forehead or chin; (be careful of your nose for you may cause injury when doing surya namaskara quickly). Under no circumstances should undue force be used in order to attain the final position. Breathing: Exhale as deeply as possible while bending forwards and if possible accentuate the contraction of the abdomen, especially in the final position. Beginners: Beginners and people with stiff backs will find the final pose difficult to attain. If you cannot touch the floor with your hands, or at most can only touch the floor with your fingertips, don’t worry. It is only a matter of practice. As you become more supple through yoga practices, you will be surprised to find how easy it becomes to place the palms flat on the floor. Only time and practice are necessary. It is important that the legs remain straight in position three, so that the leg muscles (hamstring muscles) are stretched and the legs become more flexible. However, beginners who cannot touch the floor will have to adapt in the following manner: bend forwards as far as you can and try to touch the floor with the fingers or hands, keeping the legs straight. Try to stretch the legs a little more by reaching towards the floor with the fingers, then bend the legs to place the palms on the floor in order to assume position four. However, if avoidable, the legs should not be bent.
Continued from: Technique – Postures and Breathing. Part II