Surya Namaskara A

Definition - What does Surya Namaskara A mean?

Surya Namaskara A is a foundational vinyasa common to many forms of yoga, often performed at or near the beginning of yoga practice and/or typically to start the day. In the very structured Ashtanga yoga, for example, five rounds of Surya Namaskara A begin each practice. It serves as a warm-up for the remainder of the yoga practice, activating the yogi's inner energy as well as physical energy.

The name of this vinyasa comes from the Sanskrit, surya, meaning “sun,” and namaskara, which means “salute” or “salutation.” In English, it is known as Sun Salutation A.

Yogapedia explains Surya Namaskara A

Surya Namaskara A consists of a series of basic poses tied together with the breath and flowing, rhythmic motion from one asana to another. To keep the rhythm and breath flowing, yogis inhale on an extension and exhale when folding. In Ashtanga yoga, this vinyasa is followed by Surya Namaskara B. In other styles, the yogi may also practice just one of the Surya Namaskara sequences or may combine poses from each into a single vinyasa.

The poses that comprise Surya Namaskara A can vary, but usually follow this order, with one asana flowing into the other:

  • Tadasana
  • Urdhva hastasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Ardha uttanasana
  • Utthita chaturanga dandasana
  • Chaturanga dandasana
  • Urdhva mukha svanasana
  • Adho mukha svanasana
  • Ardha uttanasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Urdhva hastasana
  • Tadasana
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