May 2

Surya Namaskar A Breakdown

Surya Namaskar A is another favorite of mine, so I’m pumped to break it down!


Surya Namaskar means Sun Salutation: Surya = sun; Namaskar = salutation. Although this translation doesn’t really do it justice. The word ‘salutation’ feels quite formal and stuffy.

Namaskar means ‘to bow’- to recognize with your whole being. You reach up towards the sun and then bow forward to the earth; there is meaning in this movement that goes beyond what the word ‘salutation’ implies.

The sun literally gives life to all things on earth – it may be the closest thing to ‘god’ that we can tangibly see. Without getting too ‘woo-woo’, I invite you to think about the life-giving power of the sun the next time you practice Surya Namaskar.

What is it?

Sun Salutations are an ancient sequence of movements intended to express gratitude to the sun. They are also a key part of the vinyasa yoga practice. As a sun worshipper myself, it comes as no surprise that I love them!

Sun Salutations are the classic yoga warm-up sequences, linking flowing movement to deep breathing. They stretch the entire front and back of the body, and they build strength. They’re great for warming up for any class, and they consist of many foundational postures that are useful for students of all levels. They do it all!

Surya Namaskar A

There are a few different variations of Surya Namaskar – there’s A, B, and C. In this post we’ll be breaking down Surya Namaskar A, which is the most basic, and also happens to be my favorite (seriously, I have it tattooed on my body).

In the ‘Highlight On…’ series, we’ve already covered all of the essential postures for Sun Salutation A – they’re actually all the same postures utilized in a vinyasa, with a few extras. So without further ado, let’s get into it!

Surya Namaksar A Yoga Tutorial. Learn which poses go together to make up Surya Namaskar A, the classic sun salutation! Pin now, practice later!​


1. Begin in Tadasana, Mountain Pose, taking a few breaths to feel grounded:

2. Inhale, raise the arms into Urdhva Hastasana:

3. Exhale, hinge from the hips to fold into Uttanasana, Forward Fold:

4. Inhale, lift the gaze & lengthen the spine into Ardha Uttanasana, Half Lift:

​5. Exhale, bring palms to the ground and step back into Plank Pose: Inhale in plank

6. Exhale, lower half way into Chaturanga Dandasana:

yoga tutorial: chaturanga dandasana

7. Inhale, straighten arms & open chest into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Upward Facing Dog:

yoga tutorial: upward facing dog

8. Exhale, press the hips up and back into Adho Mukha Svanasana, Downward Facing Dog:

Variations & Modifications

Now that you have some understanding of Surya Namaskar A, watch the video below.

The sequence of postures I have outlined above is one way to practice Sun Salutation A, but there are other variations and modifications you can take – this video will break those down.

So whenever you encounter Surya Namaskar A in a class, or if you’d like to practice it at home, you’ll know what your options are!

I hope this post and video have helped; if you have any questions at all, please drop me a comment or shoot me an email!

Happy sun saluting!

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