Exploring the Sun Salutation Video

In this video Takako Hamada, a senior teacher at Yoga Garden, demonstrates the fine details of Surya Namaskar. The clip is aimed at yoga students with a general knowledge of Sun Salutations.
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This is Patrick from Yoga Garden. On the screen is Takako Hamada, one of our senior teachers and today we are going to take a close look at Sun Salutations. In this important part of the salutations is linking the poses with the breath. So, let's explore that little bit here. Starting with the back bend, take a big in breath. You are going to feel a lot of pressure against the diaphragm, that's good, that's help in breathing gets the pressure. And the out breath, try to time the exhalation so that your hands just touch as the breath finishes, breathing in and breathing out again. To do strong in breath, both legs back at the same breath. Exhale once again timing, breathing in and the soft out breath move into dog. Don’t just tower your way to dog, make it gentle. As you hold dog, try to feel how we -- don’t just breathe in front of our bodies, use our backs, the sides of the body expand. Try to feel a 360 degree breathing. As you breathe in, step forward and out breath, pull those legs, breathing in and gently back to Mountain pose. I can stressing up that breathing is the most important part of the salutations and in yoga pose for that matter. Now, let's take a look at the fine details within each of the steps of the Sun Salutations. This time I am looking at Takako from the other side. First pose, Mountain Pose is not just standing, this is actually a quite complicated pose. The first thing you want to do is check your feet. Make sure that your toes are active and strong, lightly gripping the floor. Next we are going to move up to the knee. In Mountain pose try to avoid locking the knee tightly and she want to feel is gentle engagement of the muscles above the knee. It's a little hard to see, let's closer to it. What do you see right now Takako is relaxing and she is going to engage right there. So, the idea is to be in between floppy and locked, that's where you want to be in mountain pose and of course, the important feature here lifting the buttocks. This is going to help your spine attain a natural curve. Moving into the back bend now. Be careful that you are not compressing any one part of the spine. You want a gentle easing curve. Try to avoid a pinching feeling in the lumbar especially. From here using the hips, coming into the forward bend. Let's watch that all together one more time. Exhale and you can see the power is coming from the hips, not being forced with the back. Breathing in, looking at the stretching at the back of the legs and exhaling again, this time a little deeper perhaps. And from here step back one leg at a time. I prefer very gentle control to step back. This helps you find your center, uses the core and the arms, and it's also a great preparation for future jumping styles as you might want to do. From the Plank pose, keep the core strong and come down gently. I like to take it as a controlled fall more than anything else. In Cobra, like most of these types of hands on the ground poses, you want to spread the fingers as wide as possible. This will give you the big base to push up. Right here, Takako is demonstrating an error that a lot of people make which is having their elbows too far away from the back. You can see right there how she pull it over the hip. This will allow you to access the deep strong muscles of the back other than the shoulders. Touching the toes, exhale and going into dog pose. Let's look at that a little bit closer. Watch how the hips and the shoulders work together to move into the pose. You don’t want either the hips or the shoulders to dominate that movement, it should be one smooth action. Now, that we are in downward dog, be sure to stretch your fingers just like we did before in Cobra. Besides from feeling really good this has been shown to activate the system and also gives you a good place and power to push into the hips. A lot of people when they try to go deeper in the pose, end up squeezing their shoulders like you can see there, kind of pinching the shoulder blad

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