Yoga classes can be intimidating if you’ve never been before. Everyone looks so limber and they seem to hold the most impossible, gravity-defying poses imaginable. However, every one of them was a beginner once too and building a solid foundation is easier than you think.
Understand that the first goal of yoga is to balance your breathing with your movements to center and focus your mind. Your teacher will guide your breath throughout each sequence. Next, you will begin to understand how each pose (or asana) is connected and creates a sequence. One of the most foundational sequences is Sun Salutation A, or Surya Namaskar A, and is perfect for beginners.
Standing At Attention, Mountain, and Forward Fold
You’ll start Sun Salutation A at Standing at Attention or Samasthiti, stand straight up with your feet firmly planted to the earth. Press your hand together at your chest, also called heart center. You will inhale and exhale once in this pose.
One the next inhale, reach your arms wide and up over your head into Mountain Pose, or Tadasana. Don’t worry about memorizing the sanskrit names as your yoga class instructor will be guiding you through each pose.
As you exhale, bend forward at the hips and keep your and your glutes and low core engaged, into Forward Fold Pose or Uttanasana. Let your arms and head hang down at your sides or hold opposite hand to opposite elbow.
Half-Way Life, High Plank, Chatarunga, Upward-Facing Dog, and Down Dog
From the Forward Fold Pose, inhale and raise your chest so that it’s parallel with the ground in Half-Way Lift Pose or Ardha Uttanasana. Rest your hands on your the top of your quadricep, but avoid resting them on your knees as it compromises your joints.
Exhale back into Forward Fold with your hands on the ground and either step or jump your feet back into a high plank position. This is Chaturanga Dandasana.
From high plank — usually referred to as Chaturanga — still on the exhale breath, lower down into a tricep pushup, keep your elbows pinned into your rib cage and the back of your neck long. Inhale, straighten your arms, lift your head up, and fold your toes under into Upward-Facing Dog or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, keep your legs strong and your knees off the ground.
Downward-Facing Dog, Then Back Again
nhale into Upward-Facing Dog, exhale into Downward-Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana. Fold your toes back and push your hips up and back, keep a slight bend in your knees and your arms long. You will feel your hamstrings stretch and it’s okay if you can’t completely plant your feet on the floor or straighten your legs. Stay in this pose for three cycles of breath. You can alternate bending your knees — similar to pedaling a bicycle — or stepping side to side while you hold this pose.
After three cycles of breath in Downward-Facing Dog, inhale look forward and step or jump your feet forward to a forward fold, inhale to half-way lift, keep your chest lifted and resting your arms on you the top of your quadricep.. Exhale into Forward Fold, letting your arms hang at your sides or holding your elbows.
Inhale back into Mountain pose. Dig your heels into the ground and lift your arms wide up over your head again. Bring your hands together and back down in front of you at heart’s center in Samasthiti. Congratulations, you’ve just finished a Sun Salutation flow!
If you’re in the Sloan Lake area and you would like more direction on how to perform this yoga flow or are interested in taking yoga classes, sign up today at Duality.