Learn Surya Namaskar B

Ashtanga Sun Salutation Basics

Many vinyasa classes use the Ashtanga Sun Salutation sequences (or some variation of these sequences) as the basis for their introductory flow. In Ashtanga yoga, the same poses are always done in the same order and each session starts with Sun Salutations

Five rounds of Surya Namaskar A come first, then the flow intensifies with five rounds of Surya Namaskar B to further warm up your body. In the traditional Ashtanga method, each breath is accompanied by a movement, making for a fairly brisk pace. The inhalation or exhalation happens at the same time as you assume the pose.

There are links within each pose description if you'd like a more detailed instruction as to proper form. These links also provide more information about some of the most common pose mistakes, as well as how to make the positions easier or more difficult to better suit your level of fitness.

1

Mountain Pose (Samasthiti or Tadasana)

Samasthiti in Surya Namaskar B
Samasthiti. Ann Pizer

In Ashtanga vocabulary, the Mountain Pose is called Samasthiti. In sanskrit, it is referred to as Tadasana. This pose begins and ends the Surya Namaskar B sequence.

To do Mountain Pose, you begin by standing with a solid base while engaging your quadriceps (thighs), rotating them inward. Your shoulders are directly above your pelvis and abs drawn in slightly.

Bring your shoulders to your ears in a shrugging motion, then pull them back and downward. You arms are hanging at your sides, palms facing the front of the room.

2

Awkward Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Utkatasana in Surya Namaskar B
Awkward Chair Pose - Utkatasana. Ann Pizer

Inhale. Bend your knees until your quads are as parallel to the floor as you can get them. Bring your arms up and lower your butt as if you are about to take a seat. You are now in Awkward Chair.

3

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Uttanasana in Surya Namaskar B
Uttanasana. Ann Pizer

Exhale. Straighten your legs as you forward bend by tipping your pelvis forward. Your knees are bent slightly and your quads are engaged to fully open your hamstrings (the muscles on the backside of your upper leg). Keep your weight on the balls of your feet.

4

Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)

Ardha Uttanasana in Surya Namaskar B
Ardha Uttanasana. Ann Pizer

Inhale. Lift your head and come up to your fingertips for a half forward bend. Your arms are straight, your knees are bent slightly, and your back is flat. If you find it difficult to straighten your back, move your hands to your shins or thighs.

5

Four Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

Chaturanga Dandasana in Surya Namaskar B
Chaturanga Dandasana. Ann Pizer

Exhale. Move into a plank position, flatten your palms on the floor, and jump or step your feet to the back of the mat directly into Chaturanga Dandasana. Your elbows are hugged to your side, upper arms parallel to the floor, and shoulders are slightly forward of your wrists.

6

Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Upward Facing Dog In Surya Namaskar B
Upward Facing Dog. Ann Pizer

Inhale as you begin to transition into Upward Facing Dog. To do this, straighten your arms, drop your hips, roll over to the tops of your feet, and expand your chest toward the ceiling. Your shoulders are directly above your wrists with your shoulder blades back and down.

7

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog in Surya Namaskar B
Downward Facing Dog. Ann Pizer

Exhale and move into Downward Facing Dog. This involves lifting your hips up and rolling back over your toes. Your heels are in contact with the mat, if possible, and pushing down into the floor. Keep the pressure off your arms by engaging your quads.

8

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior I in Surya Namaskar B
Warrior I. Ann Pizer

Inhale. Step your right foot forward so it is next to your right hand. Bend your right leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Lift your arms up straight overhead with your palms touching for Warrior I. Your left heel remains on the mat.

9

Four Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

Chaturanga Dandasana
Chaturanga Dandasana. Ann Pizer

Exhale and return to Four Limbed Staff Pose. Do this by bringing your palms to the mat and stepping your right foot to the back of your yoga mat so it rests next to the left one, lowering directly into Chaturanga all in one breath.

10

Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Upward Facing Dog
Upward Facing Dog. Ann Pizer

Inhale and transition back into Upward Facing Dog. This requires that you straighten your arms and roll over the toes. Again, your shoulders are above your wrists and your shoulder blades are back and down. At this point, you are about halfway through the Surya Namaskar B sequence.

11

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog. Ann Pizer

Exhale, lift your hips, and move back into Downward Facing Dog. Get your heels as close to the mat as you can. It helps to push your hips back a bit, putting more of your body's weight on your heels versus placing it on the balls of your feet.

12

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior I
Warrior I. Ann Pizer

Inhale and do Warrior I pose, this time on the left side. Step your left foot forward next to your left hand, keeping your thigh as parallel to the floor as possible. Bring your arms up and touch your palms over your head.

13

Four Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

Chaturanga Dandasana
Chaturanga Dandasana. Ann Pizer

Exhale, drop your palms down to the mat, and step your left foot back to lower into Chaturanga. Pay attention to your form to ensure that your shoulders are slightly forward of your wrists. If you find it difficult to keep your body aligned, rest on your knees versus keeping your legs straight.

14

Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Upward Facing Dog
Upward Facing Dog. Ann Pizer

Inhale and roll forward to Upward Dog. Verify that your shoulders are not up around your ears but are, instead, pulled back and down. It's also helpful to bring your thighs together as if they are hugging. This keeps them off the mat and prevents them from slouching toward the ground.

15

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog. Ann Pizer

Exhale and lift your hips back to Downward Dog. If you are new to yoga, you can bend your knees slightly to make this pose easier. To make it more difficult, move your weight to the balls of your feet instead of the heels.

16

Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)

Ardha Uttanasana
Ardha Uttanasana. Ann Pizer

Inhale. Bend your knees, come up onto the balls of your feet, and step or jump your feet forward into Ardha Uttanasana. Again, keep your back flat with your fingertips against the mat. Double-check that you are bending forward at the hips versus the waist.

17

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Uttanasana
Uttanasana. Ann Pizer

Exhale and forward fold over your legs to return to the Standing Forward Bend. To ensure that you're in the proper position, imagine that your pelvis is a bowl and you are pouring its contents onto your toes. This is opposite of the way you'd move your pelvis in a pelvic tilt.

18

Awkward Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Awkward Chair Pose - Utkatasana
Utkatasana. Ann Pizer

Inhale, bend your knees, lift your arms up, and drop your butt back for Utkatasana. Check your position to ensure that your knees are directly over your middle toes. Your abdominal muscles are engaged and shoulders are relaxed.

19

Mountain Pose (Samasthiti or Tadasana)

Mountain Pose - Tadasana
Samasthiti. Ann Pizer

Exhale. Straighten your legs and lower your arms to your sides, returning to Mountain Pose. You have now completed Surya Namaskar B and are ready to complete the rest of your yoga sequence.

Was this page helpful?