teacher training
Posted by Tracy Reid May 3, 2017

Sun Salutations are considered to be a part of the foundation for an asana (physical) yoga practice. They are most commonly used to build heat in the body at the beginning of your practice, however with modifications can really become a sole focus as well. Let’s just say after a couple of Sun Sals you will be sweating!


Allow me to walk you through (both visually and verbally) what we call the “formal” practice of Sun Salutation A. This means without any modifications…simply by the books. However, keep in mind that we have modifications for a reason. Every body is different, and if you find any pose to be painful or very uncomfortable, an alternative is always available and highly encouraged.

Begin in Tadasana, Mountain Pose: Feet hip distance apart, micro-bend in the knees, tailbone released down to the floor, shoulders down and back creating distance between the shoulders and ears, keep length in the back of the neck by tucking chin in slightly, palms open and spiraling forward, option to close eyes


INHALE, Raise arms overhead, Urdva Tadasana: Shoulders still relaxed down back, option for hands to meet, option for slight back bend by turning gaze up towards hands


EXHALE, Bringing hands through heart center, Forward Fold, Uttanasana: Deep bend in knees, relax neck, allow head to hang, option to sway from side to side painting the floor with the fingertips


INHALE, Half-way Lift, Ardha Uttanasana: Deep bend in the knees, tailbone tilted to the sky, option to place hands on shins or fingertips on floor, keep length in the spine 


EXHALE, Forward Fold


INHALE, Step or hop back to Plank, Phalakasana: Hips in line with ankles and shoulders (not sinking too low and not raised too high), hands firmly grounded with fingers spread wide, eyes of elbows facing forcing, micro-bend in the elbows, create distance between shoulders and ears, slight tuck of the chin keeping length in the back of the neck, core engaged, heels reaching backward


EXHALE, Caturanga Dandasana: Shift body weight forward so that shoulders are ahead of wrists, elbows stay tucked into the sides of the body, lower down, keeping hips in line, and stopping once biceps are parallel with the floor




INHALE, Roll onto tops of feet, heart reaches forward, Upward Dog, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Arms stay tucked in at sides, shoulders down and back, heart reaches forward, slight tuck to chin keeping length in the back of the neck,  ground through the palms and neck of the feet, hips sink creating a back bend




EXHALE, Roll back over toes onto the balls of the feets, hips lift, Adho Mukha Svanasana: Deep bend in the knees, heels reaching back, tailbone rotated towards the sky, sitz bones spread apart, fingers spread wide with middle-finger pointed forward, micro-bend in the elbows, shoulders drawn away from ears, ears in line with biceps, core engaged



INHALE, Gently step feet forward to meet the hands


EXHALE, Forward Fold


INHALE, Flat Back


EXHALE, Forward Fold


INHALE, Reverse Swan Dive to Upward Salute


EXHALE, Arms down, Mountain Pose or Anjali Mudra (hands to heart center)


Not too shabby, am I right? That’s all there is to the “formal” SunSalutation A. Should you be curious about modifications for any of these poses, or find you need clarification on any of the cues, please, I encourage you to reach out!


Namaste– Kylie,  www.coffeewithkylie.com

*Photography by Studio Magnolia,  www.saramagnolia.com

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