Classical Sun Salutations

Sanskrit: Surya Namaskara

Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara) were first introduced to yoga in the 1930s by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. In total, there are twelve poses in the Sun Salutation family and they are linked together by breath and movement. Sun Salutations can be practiced anywhere in the sequence, but most usually you will find them near the start of the practice, and you will likely do several rounds. Practicing Sun Salutations helps to establish your breath connection and heat your body from the inside. All of this is excellent preparation for the rest of your practice.

There are three Sun Salutations that we practice at the studio - Classical, A and B.

In Classical Sun Salutations you work through nine poses, some repeated twice. You move at the pace of your breath.

How to work through a round of Classical Sun Salutations:

  • From Mountain Pose (Tadasana), inhale your arms overhead to Extended Mountain pose (Urdhva Hastasana)

  • Exhale to fold forward to Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

  • Inhale to send the chest forward into Half Way Lift (Urdhva Uttanasana)

  • Exhale to step your right leg back and drop your knee to the mat

  • Inhale to bring your arms up and overhead into Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

  • Exhale to bring your hands down to the mat and step back into Plank (Khumbakasana)

  • Inhale to bring your shoulders over your wrists

  • Exhale to drop your knees, chest and chin to the mat

  • Inhale to untuck your toes and send your chest forward into Cobra (Bhujangasana)

  • Exhale to press back into All Fours or directly to Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • (Optional) Inhale to lift your right leg into Three Leg Dog

  • (Optional) Exhale to step your right foot between your hands

  • Inhale to Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

  • Exhale your hands to the mat and lift your back knee, look forward

  • Inhale to Half Way Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)

  • Exhale to Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

  • Inhale your arms overhead to Extended Mountain (Urdhva Hastasana)

  • Exhale to return to Mountain pose (Tadasana). Samasthithi.


  • Instead of Knees-Chest-Chin, take Four Limb Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

  • Instead of Cobra (Bhujangasana) take Sphinx (Salamba Bhujangasana)

  • Instead of Cobra (Bhujangasana) take Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

PosesEmma Gartside