Vinyasa yoga indicates a flowing set of movements that are coordinated with controlled inhaling and exhaling. A specific type of Vinyasa yoga, called Sun Salutation, consists of 12 poses per set. Typically, at least 2 sets are performed to balance the left and right sides of the body.
Vinyasa yoga, including the Sun Salutation, is a great option for intermediate yoga practitioners who are looking to apply their knowledge of basic poses. Since Sun Salutation coordinates with breathing, the speed of the Vinyasa can be somewhat adjusted according to your inhalation and exhalation. Breathing slowly can give you a chance to meditate and focus on your poses, while quickening the pace can energize the body.
Sun Salutation’s 12 poses are beginner level poses, making Sun Salutation accessible to most anyone. If performing Sun Salutation a home atmosphere, feel free to practice the individual poses before diving right in to the Vinyasa.
Although there may be variations, the most widely accepted 12 Sun Salutation poses are: Mountain, Upward Salute, Forward Bend, Lunge, Plank, Stick, Upward Dog, and Downward Dog. To complete the cycle from Downward Dog return to Lunge, then forward bend, upward salute, and back to Mountain. This is one cycle of Sun Salutation. On the second cycle, switching left and right will balance out the body and conclude one full cycle of Sun Salutation.
Once familiarized with the necessary poses, adding coordinated breathing will transform this set of poses into a flowing Vinyasa.
Begin in Mountain pose. Inhale into Upward Salute and exhale as you gracefully fold into Forward Bend. Inhale and step the left foot back to form a Lunge and then exhale bringing the right foot to meet it in Plank. One more inhale in Plank, then exhale into Stick position and inhale into Upward Dog. Exhale into Downward Dog, and then inhale as the left foot comes forward for the lunge. Exhale bringing the right foot forward into Forward bend. Inhale into a tall Upward Salute and conclude this cycle with a calm exhale into Mountain pose.
Breathing (through the nose) is an integral piece of the Sun Salutation Vinyasa. Practice slowly at first until the breathing becomes an ingrained part of each pose. With practice, the Sun Salutation can easily be done at home and takes only 5 minutes. A beautiful way to begin each day, Sun Salutation builds a foundation of strength and focus.
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