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Everyday Yoga: Sun Salutation Variations

The Sun Salutation is the core of the majority of yoga classes. Some teachers will call it a Sun Salutation, others will call it a “flow.” This series of poses includes a Downward Facing Dog, then a High Push-Up, Chaturanga, Cobra, and then a return to Downward Facing Dog. Some yoga classes will include the flow between each pose; some will include the flow at the beginning of the class as a warm up. Like all yoga poses and sequences, there are variations that you can use to maximize your body type.

The biggest differences between the beginner’s series and the advanced series include the way that you move in and out of the poses and whether you use Upward Facing Dog or Cobra. Both versions begin in Downward Facing Dog. In the beginner’s version, you shift forward into plank pose but drop your knees to the floor for support. Then, lower down to your belly for Cobra. Lift up into Cobra. Then, to return to Downward Facing Dog, you push back to your knees in all fours, then lift up to Down Dog.

When you move into the advanced version, you move into a high plank from Downward Facing Dog. You stay in a high plank, with knees up off of the floor and slowly lower down in a firm plank. Instead of lowering to the floor, you remain in a hover, just an inch or two off of the floor. Then, you shift onto the tops of the toes and press the chest forward into Upward Facing Dog. The only parts of the body that are touching the floor are the palms and the tops of the toes. The chest presses forward and the shoulders roll back. To move back to Downward Facing Dog, you press back up into a high plank and lift your rear up to the pose.

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Latest update: May 22, 2017