KRIYA — SURYA NAMASKARA

(The Aquarian Teacher, p. 336).

  1. Standing Straight (Samasthiti). The legs are straight in Mountain Pose. Your feet are together, thighs rotated inward to spread the sacrum, toes and heels touching, weight evenly distributed between both feet. Apply Root Lock and Neck Lock. The arms are by your sides, fingers together.

  1. Stretching Up. Inhale and bring your arms up over your head until your palms touch. As your arms lift and your shoulder blades drop, there will come a point at which you feel your chest lifted. At that point begin to raise your head to gaze at your thumbs. Keep your neck elongated, do not let it collapse as you gaze upward. Roll your armpits toward each other to spread your shoulder blades apart.

  1. Front Bend (Uttanasana). Exhale and bend your torso forward. Rotate your pelvis at the hip joint. As you bend forward, keep your spine straight, elongating it as if you were reaching forward with your heart. Draw your kneecaps up. When you can no longer keep your spine straight, relax your head as close to your knees as you can. Keep your knees straight. Place your fingertips on the floor of either side of your feet in line with the tips of your toes. Gaze at the tip of your nose.

  1. Inhale; pull your shoulder blades away from your ears. Straighten the spine, keeping the hands or fingertips on the floor. Gaze at your third eye point.

  1. Push-Up (Chaturanga Dandasana). Exhale and bend your knees, stepping or jumping back so your legs are straight out behind you and you are in a “push-up” position. You will be balancing on the bottoms of your bent toes and the palms of your hands. Lower your body so that it is parallel to the floor in a straight line from forehead to ankles. Make sure your navel is pulled in. Keep yourself equally balanced between your hands and feet. Do not push forward with your toes. Your elbows will be bent, hugging your ribcage and your palms will be flat on the floor under your shoulders. Your fingers are spread wide apart.

(You may need to lower your knees to help hold your weight in the beginning. Keep your elbows hugging your ribcage and smoothly lower yourself down. Use the navel to keep your lower spine from collapsing.)

  1. Upward-Facing Dog. From the position in #5, above, inhale, straighten your elbows and arch your back. Drop your shoulder blades and stretch through your upper back, still pulling in on the navel so that you do not put pressure on the lower spine. Point your forehead at the sky and gaze at the tip of your nose. Your body is balanced on the palms of your hands, with your fingers spread wide apart, and on the tops of your feet. Your thighs are off the ground.

  1. Triangle Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Exhale. Life your hips so that your body is balanced in the inverted v-shape called Triangle. Your feet and palms are flat on the floor and your elbows and knees are straight. Your fingers are spread wide apart. Gaze toward your feet or knees and hold this position for five breaths.

  1. Inhale and jump or step back into position #4.

  1. Front Bend (Uttanasana). Exhale and bend forward into position with your head close to your knees.

  1. Stretching Up. Inhale and come all the way into position #2, with your arms over your head, palms touching. (Before you come up, first bring the head into alignment with the spine. Then use the navel and the backs of the thighs to lift the torso all the way up.)

  1. Standing Up Straight (Samasthiti). Exhale and return to the starting position with your arms by the side.

Comments: When Yogi Bhajan was studying with his Teacher, the Sun Salutation was used as a warm-up exercise before starting the Kundalini Yoga kriyas. This is an excellent warm-up and is beneficial as an exercise in its own right. It increases cardiac activity and circulation, stretches and bends the spine, massages the inner organs, aids the digestive system, exercises the lungs and oxygenates the blood. Synchronize your breath with the movements to create an uninterrupted rhythm throughout the sequence of postures. Start by practicing three rounds and then gradually increase to five or six. When practiced with awareness, this improves one’s ability to maximize performance and enjoyment of all yoga postures