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Essential Sequence: Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar A)

Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations, are the quintessential yoga warm-up sequence. They combine deep breathing with flowing movement, they stretch the entire front and back of the body, and they build strength, too.

There are several variations of Sun Salutations; we thought we’d start with the most basic, which is version “A” in the yoga canon, or Sun Salutation A.

See also Essential Sequence: Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar B)

Sun Salutation A: How To

Before you begin, spend a few breaths in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Notice how your feet feel in contact with the earth — is there more weight on one foot than other? On the front of the foot or the back? Continue to scan your attention all the way up the body, observing the sensations that arise.

Let this inward drawn attention help you start to deepen your breath. Do a total of five rounds of Sun Salutations, synching each movement to your breath and staying in Downward-Dog for five breaths.

On days when you don’t have time for a long practice, this powerful package of poses can quiet your mind while boosting your energy and give you just the amount of stretch and activation you need to have a calm, productive day.

Sun Salutation A Sequence | Surya Namaskar A | Jason Crandell Yoga Method

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{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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Essential Sequence: Immune Booster

It’s holiday season and, for me, it’s “My child is in preschool and constantly has the sniffles season.” Whether you’re in hyper-drive, ticking your way through the holiday to-do list or you’re feeling too depleted to get off the couch and do yoga, the yoga sequence here is invaluable to have in your back pocket during the winter months. It’s not a high-intensity practice – it’s a healing, nurturing, immune boosting yoga practice. The poses encourage relaxation, reduce stress, and facilitate circulation throughout your whole body. These are the three most effective things that yoga asana can do to help support your immune system.

Yoga for the Immune System

You’ll start off on your back in a Supta Padangusthasana series, which requires very little exertion for those of you feeling fatigued. From there, you’ll gently open your hips, where stress and tension often pool. Then you’ll move into forward bends, which facilitate quiet, inward-drawn attention. You’ll finish with some rejuvenating yoga inversions that reverse blood flow and open the neck and shoulders. (Sometimes they even relieve sinus congestion, although too much inverting can make it worse, so listen to your body.)

As you move through the practice, give yourself permission to slow down and settle in to your body and breath. Try to be as gentle and patient with yourself as possible – especially if you have a cold when frustration and impatience can rear its head. These qualities—going slowly, nurturing yourself, taking your time—are your own natural antidotes to stress, depletion, and fatigue. I hope this sequence helps you tap into them and have a healthy winter season!

Yoga for Immune System Sequence | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method

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{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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