Tips For A Strong Sun Salutation
When it comes to beginner yoga, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. You thought you had the hang of a posture, until an instructor gives you an adjust that makes you realize you’ve been doing it all “wrong.” You thought you could finally keep up with a flow, until an instructor started cuing entirely in Sanskrit.
Believe us, we’ve all been there — and at Yoga Pod Denver West, one of our goals is to make beginner yoga much more accessible. After all, yoga is about stress-relief — not about feeling defeated.
Aside from trusting the yoga process, the general tip we want to emphasize is the importance of focusing on a few foundational postures. These postures, called the Sun Salutation, are the foundation of yoga. Mastering these is like learning the ABCs of yoga. Then, you’ll be ready to read and write.
What Is A Sun Salutation?
“Sun Salutation” is one of those yoga terms you’ll hear thrown around a lot, and often by different names.
Other names for Sun Salutation include:
- Surya Namaskar
- Sun A (the first of two Sun Salutations)
- Sun B (the second of two Sun Salutations)
- Vinyasa flow
No matter the name, each Sun Salutation generally revolves around the same foundational postures, including:
- Mountain pose
- Forward fold
- Half-way lift
- High Plank
- Chaturanga Dandasana (tricep push-up)
- Upward-facing dog
- Downward-facing dog
Traditionally, yogis perform Sun Salutations at dawn each day. As the name suggests, the sequence is meant to pay homage to the rising sun and to welcome a new day.
In vinyasa flow and beginner yoga classes, however, Sun Salutations are generally used as a warm-up flow.
Tip #1: Focus On The Breath
Perhaps more important than mastering the alignment of each posture is focusing on the breath. Sun Salutations follow a predictable inhale-exhale pattern, where you perform a different posture on each breath.
Learning to move at the rhythm of your own breath is a translational yoga skill that you’ll take with you for any class. If the instructor is cuing too quickly, stay grounded in your own breath. Likewise, if you need to go faster, listen to your body and breath.
Tip #2: Engage Your Core
You should engage your core in just about every yoga posture that exists (with the exception of shavasana, or the “corpse pose” at the end of class).
To engage your core, imagine sucking your belly button toward your spine. This movement activates the inner muscles of your core and allows you to move through postures with more integrity.
Yoga push-up? Engage your core. Mountain pose? Engage your core. No matter the pose, get into the habit of using your abdominal muscles.
There’s no better way to feel more comfortable with Sun Salutations than to take podFLOW 1 and podFLOW 2 classes. While each yoga class features different variations of the Sun Salutations, you can expect to see these foundational postures in any yoga class.
For beginner yoga classes in Golden, try $30 For 30 Days at Yoga Pod Denver West!