• How to do Surya Namaskar B (Sun Salutation B)

    Learning how to do Surya Namaskar B isn’t as difficult as you might think. In this tutorial, we give you video lessons that break down the individual poses, so you know exactly how to do Sun Salutation B. You’ll learn how to do each pose in the sequence correctly, and then follow along with the video that ties all of the poses together for you at the end of this post.

    If you already know how to do Surya Namaskar A, you’re well on your way to knowing how to do Surya Namaskar B. Sun Salutation B adds a few more poses to the sequence to ignite that inner fire and build heat in your body.

    In the beginning, you’ll take time to learn each individual pose. Once you can flow through the poses from memory, you will be able to do the poses with the corresponding breaths.

    Let’s start from the beginning and take you through each pose in Surya Namaskar B in order. Follow along with the video instructions to give you a better understanding of the pose. At the bottom of the post, you’ll find a full practice of the sequence that you can practice with.

    Samasthiti (Mountain Pose)

    Stand at the top of your mat with your feet together and your arms at your sides.

    Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

    From mountain pose inhale and sink down into chair pose by bending your knees like you are going to sit down. Bring your palms together over your head and look up at your thumbs.

    Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

    Exhale and straighten your legs. Fold your torso forward over your thighs into standing forward bend pose. Bend from your hips. You can bring your hands to the floor, or if you can’t reach the floor, place your hands on your shins.

    Ardha Uttanasana (Half Forward Bend)

    From uttanasana, inhale and straighten your back, coming up onto your fingertips if your hands are on the floor and look forward. You can bend your knees slightly if you need to.

    Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

    Exhale and place your palms flat on the floor. Step back into plank pose and lower down like you are going to do a push-up. This is chaturanga dandasana. Keep your elbows close to your body and stay broad through the collarbone.

    Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)

    Inhale and point your feet behind you and straighten your arms to come up into upward facing dog. Your legs are engaged. Your knees and pelvis are off of the ground.

    Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

    Exhale and roll your toes over. Send your hips back and up to downward facing dog. Straighten your legs and bring your heels down into the ground.

    Virabhadrasana A (Warrior I)

    Inhale and step your right foot forward between your hands. Rise up into warrior I pose.

    Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

    Exhale and step back to chaturanga dandasana.

    Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)

    Inhale and move into upward facing dog again.

    Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

    Exhale and return to downward facing dog.

    Virabhadrasana A (Warrior I)

    Now inhale and repeat warrior I but on the left side, so step your left foot forward.

    Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

    Exhale and step back to chaturanga dandasana.

    Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)

    Inhale and move into upward facing dog again.

    Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

    Exhale and return to downward facing dog. Stay in this pose for five breaths. Allow yourself to settle into the pose. Check in with your breath and make sure it is steady and even.

    Ardha Uttanasana (Half Forward Bend)

    Inhale and step forward, returning to half forward bend.

    Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

    Exhale and bend from your hips into standing forward fold. Now that you’re warm, you’ll find that you’re a bit more flexible.

    Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

    Inhale and return to chair pose.

    Samasthiti (Mountain Pose)

    Exhale and end the sequence by returning to mountain pose.

    Repeat this sequence of poses as many times as you like. You can follow along with this video to see how all of the poses fit together.

  • Yoga Pose Tips: Upward Facing Dog

    Upward facing dog is the first posture where you start to establish the patterns for back bending.  It’s the patterns that are going to eventually help you get into the deeper and more advanced back bends.

    When I’m stuck in an advanced posture I always go back to its building blocks in basic postures, which are conveniently placed at the beginning of every Ashtanga yoga sequence. I imagine this will be a lifelong process of going back to the foundations and finding more subtler experiences of them. Which is why I think an intro class can serve any level. It’s intended for beginners but there’s something to learn for any level practitioner when slowing things down and allowing ourselves the space to rediscover the inner workings of a basic posture.

    Establish the patterns for back bending.

    It’s important to create the right foundation right from the beginning with upward facing dog. In order to do that, we’re going to come into a sphinx position, to start to understand some of the movement mechanics involved in upward facing dog. Where your forearms are on the ground, and your elbows are underneath your shoulders.  First thing, you’re going to point the toes, and press the tops of the feet into the mat.  Engaging the legs, and lifting the knee caps. And then you’re going to pull the lower belly in, towards the spine.

     

    Create space in the front side of the body, a main objective of back bending.

    And this part is really important. You’re going to press the elbows down. Shoulders down.  You are going to sort of like drag the elbows back towards your ribs.  You’re pushing the elbows back towards the ribs.  That gives you the leverage to push the ribcage forward, and up, away from the hips. This helps to create space in the front side of the body, which is one of the main objectives in back bending.  Pressing the tops of the feet into the mat, engaging through the legs, and then moving the elbows back.  Ribcage forward, stretching the front side of the body.

    Translate the principles of Sphinx into Upward Facing Dog.

    Translating these same principles into upward facing dog, you bring your hands underneath the shoulders.  Straighten the arms. Press the shoulders down.  Tops of the feet on the mat.  Press into the tops of the feet.  Engage through the legs.  Drag the hands back.  Ribcage forward, as you pull the lower belly in towards the ribs. Shoulders down, and breathe.

    Practice with Monica Arellano

    By Monica Arellano

    Monica Arellano is a Level 2 Authorized teacher in the Ashtanga Yoga Method; a formal blessing received by her teacher R. Sharath Jois in Mysore, India. She first connected with the practice of yoga in 2010, looking for a more peaceful way of being. When she found her way to Miami Life Center in 2014 she began a regular Ashtanga Yoga practice and soon after completed a 2 year apprenticeship program under Tim Feldmann. Today she continues to practice, teach and travel regularly to Mysore, India to learn yoga directly from the source. 

    Monica’s teachings are informed by the knowledge carried on from her teachers and the first-hand experience from her daily asana and meditation practice. Her classes emphasize the breath, alignment, proper foundations and methods of concentration; in hopes of exploring the deeper intention of Asana and the resulting expression in each student’s unique body and mind. In this space, she believes we can deconstruct unhealthy patterns, facilitate healing on many levels, and find our way back to the most honest version of ourselves.