Now that we’re in the heart of summer, we thought it would be the perfect time to get outside, into the sunshine with a flow brought to you by yoga guru Cat Walker. Here, Cat guides you through Sun Salutation Salutation A—the foundation for most yoga practices and a wonderful starting point to get the body warmed up and to unite your breath with your movements.
Let’s get going!
1. Mountain Pose- Tadasana
Start at the top of your mat. Bring your hands to prayer at heart center. Root down with your feet into the earth, setting a solid foundation with your legs. Stand tall while letting your shoulders pull down your back. Feel activation through your entire body, and take a moment to find your breath.
2. Upward Salute- Urdhva Hastasana
Inhale, lift your arms up over head, reaching for the sky. Have an internal rotation of your arms by turning your pinkies in towards each other. Release your shoulders away from your ears, and gaze up just slightly.
3. Standing Forward Fold- Uttanasana
On your next exhale, spread your arms to your sides like wings, and swan-dive heart first towards the earth coming into a forward fold. Try to maintain a flat spine as you travel down bringing your forehead towards your shins. Take a micro-bend at the knees as you begin to warm up. Engage your core to help your lower back open up.
4. Half Standing Forward Fold- Ardha Uttanasana
Your inhale initiates your movement to a half-way lift. Bring your hands to your shins and press your shins back into your palms to feel an extension through your spine. Lengthen from the crown of your head to your tailbone, and squeeze your shoulder blades to kiss behind you.
5. 4-Limbed Staff Pose- Chatturanga Dandasana
Exhale, bring your hands to the earth, stacked right below your shoulders, and step one foot back and then the other meeting in high plank. Try riding your exhale as you shift forward slightly so your hands are even with your rib cage then lower down only half to the ground, keeping your elbows glued to your side body. Try to keep your body straight, keeping your hips even with the rest of your body, not sinking down or lifting up. You can always take this on your knees to help build strength and maintain proper alignment.
6. Upward facing dog- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Upward facing dog is your inhale. Keep your hands right where they are, and flip your feet over so that your toe nails are pressing firmly into the earth. Press the earth away as you lift your chest to the horizon keeping your legs engaged so much that your knees begin to lift off the ground. Just your palms and tops of your feet are touching the earth. Only press up to as far as feels comfortable to your lower back. Roll your shoulders back and pull them down, broadening across your collarbone.
7. Downward facing dog- Adho Mukha Svanasana
Exhale, lift your hips up to the sky and press back into downward facing dog. Hands should be shoulder distance apart, and feet are hips distance, maybe further if your low back and hamstrings are tight. Take a little bend at the knee if this is the case to create space to open up. Press firmly into all 10 fingertips, creating a suction-like felling in your hands. And work towards getting your heels to the earth. Gaze between your legs or down at your feet.
8. Half Standing Forward Fold- Ardha Uttanasana
Inhale, gaze forward at your hands and bend your knees. Wait for your exhale, then try jumping or just step to the top of your mat.
Inhale to halfway lift, maybe this time around try keeping your fingertips on the ground, maintaining a long, flat spine. Work on pulling the shoulder blades together behind you.
9. Standing Forward Fold- Uttanasana
Exhale forward fold, forehead to shins. Keeping a bend in the knee is okay. Pull the belly button up towards your spine, so feel an openness in the back body.
10. Upward Salute- Urdhva Hastasana
Inhale with a strong core and elongated spine, arms extend out to your sides, and come all the way to standing reaching your arms next to your ears and fingertips to the sun.
11. Mountain Pose- Tadasana
Exhale slowly, hands to heart center, mountain pose.
There you have it! Sun Salutation A—try dedicating one full inhale or exhale to each posture, and take this flow with you from your home to the beach or wherever this summer may bring you.
Until next time, Namaste!