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SURYANAMASKARA

The Sun Salutation - Steps 9 and 10

Complete Yoga Breath
with Sound!

Links to Sun Series

Click to enlarge images below for complete instructions.

  
Steps 1, 2


Step 3


Step 4


Step 5


Step 6


Step 7


Step 8


Step 9


Step 10

  
Steps 11, 12


Sun Salutation
Mini-Poster
to print!
My teacher, Eugenia Basilewsky, Stockholm, Sweden. She was in her 60s here. Step 9 (The Lunge - Inhalation)

This is a repeat of Step 4 with the left knee forward instead. Inhale as you come down into this position.

  • When you are first learning this, it's a good idea to just bring yourself down into this position from Step 8. Bend your left knee and place your right knee behind your buttocks, standing on your toes of your right foot.
  • With your left foot between the palms of your hands on the floor (as Eugenia shows in the image above), hold your head and chin straight. This might look easy, but it isn't. You can also use the tips of your fingers. If that is not possible, put your hands on your left knee.
  • If you study this image, you will notice that Eugenia's back is quite straight. Try to keep your back straight in this position. This means that your chest is not pressing against your thigh.
  • When you are able do this without having to think about it (and you will do that, even if might be hard to believe that right now!), you will then stand up and move into Step 10 with an exhalation.

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Step 10 - Uttanasana


Exhalation

Step 9This is a repeat of Step 3. This is a very powerful Yoga posture (asana). The image (left) is only to show you the goal. If you have not practiced Yoga, do not use force to attempt this position. It will only cause you to have pain in a couple of days.

This is called Uttanasana in Sanskrit, which in simple terms means to stretch every muscle and lengthen your body with intention. When we practice Yoga, we always allow the body to stretch at its own pace. This is how the body becomes agile—not through force.

 

The Goal

The goal is to work with the body enough to finally get into this position with ease. Believe it or not, even if you are very stiff—persistence will change that!
  • As you exhale, pull the small of your back in and stick your chest out in front of you as you let your upper body sink forward and down at the same time—as close to your legs as possible. Your back is as straight as possible when you come forward. Injury could be the result if you roll forward with a rounded back and and down with your spine.

    Look at this image to understand what I mean. Get your back like this BEFORE you move down to get closer to your thighs, knees or calves:

  • Straight back as you come down.
  • Let your arms hang down, loose. If you can reach the floor, place the palms of your hands on the floor next to your feet. If you can't reach the floor, place your hands anywhere on your thighs, calves, or ankles to help balance your body. If your head is hanging down loose, you can also look at your knees to help maintain your balance.
  • Keep your knees straight to get the full effect of this posture. If you feel any pain in your back, bend your knees to make this easier.
  • From this position, you are going to inhale and stand up to do Step 11, which is the same as Step 2.

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Forward Bend Variation for Stiff Backs and Hamstrings

There are preliminary stretches that you can do to finally get into this wonderful posture. See the smaller images ADD IMAGES !!! (below left) for variations. If you already have back problems and find it difficult to move forward, try this:
  • Stand with your buttocks against a wall. Place your feet (hip-width apart) two feet from the wall. Bend your knees so you are comfortable, sliding your buttocks only slightly down at the same time.
  • Now it should be possible to bend forward with your back straight and to let your upper body start to hang like a rag doll. Your neck is loose and your head just hangs down (you are not holding your head up, which is a common mistake people make).
  • Place your hands on your knees to support your body. If you want to push your hands on your knees and stretch the small of the back forward, that is another option. This can be very helpful for anyone who is too stiff to do The Forward Bend.

If you can move forward easily, look at how Eugenia is placing the palms of her hands on the floor next to her feet. Her knees are straight.

Another important tip:
  • Once you get into this position, visualize that you are lifting your buttocks as high as possible, so your weight is evenly distributed.
  • You are remembering to stand as instructed in the first position, with the heels and balls of your feet evenly placed on the floor and your toes are touching and spread out evenly, too. But now you can even try to bring more of your weight to the balls of your feet as you lift your buttocks up higher. This is a great stretch!

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Restorative Yoga Posture

This is a very restorative posture and can be highly beneficial for the following health problems:

  • If you have high or low blood pressure, do this many times throughout the day (but always 3 hours after a meal). It will help to stabilize your blood pressure.
  • Every muscle in the body is stretched and lengthened. This helps the nervous system to relax.
  • The blood flow into the head helps eyestrain, sinus, headaches.
This is one of those Yoga asanas that seems to have an effect on every part of the body. If you do this before getting into bed, it will clear your mind and make it easier to sleep. And if you are already working on perfecting the headstand, this is a good one to do before that.

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