Learn how to do a basic Sun Salutation B and synchronise your breath to the movements of your body.
Begin in Tadasana (Mountain pose) at the front of your mat. Close your eyes and take a few breaths to centre yourself.
Inhale, bend your knees deeply and sweep the hands up so the upper arms skim your ears. Try to keep the knees from 'overshooting' your toes, shoulders soft and spine long. If your shoulders are tight, bend your elbows and bring your forearms in front of you.
Exhale, push through the feet to straighten the legs and sweep the torso forward and down, hinging from the hips. Bring the fingertips in line with the toes and keep the spine long, shoulders moving away from your ears.
If this is too strong for your hamstrings, bend your knees and place your fingertips on the floor or your hands on blocks.
3. Ardha Uttanasana
Inhale and extend the sternum forward, coming onto your fingertips. Look forward but try to keep the sides and back of the neck long to prevent compression. Imagine energy radiating out in opposite directions from the crown of your head and your sit bones.
To modify, you could place your hands on the tops of your shins or your thighs.
Bend your knees deeply so that the palms can press firmly into the floor.
Choose a point just in front of your toes to gaze at and as you exhale, engage your abdominal muscles to support the spine and send your energy and the base of your sternum towards this focal point as you jump back to Chaturanga Dandasana. Land with your elbows bent, shoulders in line with your elbows.*
*For a thorough and detailed explanation of the 'jump back', read Jennilee Toner's excellent article - 5 reasons not to jump back to high plank pose.
5. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Inhale, roll over your toes and press your sternum forward and upwards so that your chest moves through the gateway of your upper arms.
Press the tops of the feet (especially the big toes) firmly into the floor and the draw the thighs away from the floor. Keep the abdomen slightly engaged to protect the lower belly and lift the sternum and the gaze towards the sky.
6. Adho Mukha Svanasana
Exhale, press firmly into the palms and draw the belly in and up. Begin to take the hips up and back, rolling or stepping over the toes so you come to stand on the balls of your feet, feet hip distance apart.
Extend through the crown of the head and the sit bones and press the tops of the thighs back. Aim to create length in your spine rather than forcing the heels to the floor.
7. Virabhadrasana 1
Inhale, raise your right leg and step the foot up to the right thumb with your knee bent. Turn your left toes slightly out, making sure your feet are hip-width distance apart, rather than in line with one another.
Raise your arms up to the sky and press into the outer edge of the left foot so your weight is spread evenly. Bring your palms together or keep them shoulder-width apart.
Exhale, bringing your palms to frame the right foot and step back to Chaturanga.
Check your shoulders aren't dipping below the line of your elbows.
9. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Inhale into Urdvha Mukha Svanasana / Upward Facing Dog again.
10. Adho Mukha Svanasana
Exhale, press back into Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog.
11. Virabhadrasana 1 Warrior 1 on the other side
From Adho Mukha Svanasana step forward with the LEFT foot into Virabhadrasana 1. Move through Chaturanga (12), then Urdvha Mukha Svanasana (13) one more time before pausing in Adho Mukha Svanasana (14) for five long, full, deep breaths....
15. Ardha Uttanasana
At the end of the fifth exhalation, bend your knees deeply and look at your hands. Hug your abdominal muscles in and up and press into the floor firmly with your palms.
Come onto the balls of your feet and hop or float to the top of your mat, keeping your elbows slightly soft. Inhale, coming onto your fingertips and extend the sternum forward once again coming into Ardha Uttansana.
Exhale, fold deeply, taking your palms once again to the outside of your feet, spine and back of the neck long.
Inhale, bend your knees deeply and sweep the arms back up towards the sky, tail bone long, space in the sides of the neck.
Exhale, press into the feet to straighten the legs and bring the palms down to touch at the heart centre.
Stand in Tadasana, with your eyes closed and take 5 long, deep breaths and repeat the sequence. Do three to five rounds.
Download and practise the sequence:
Click on the image to download and print a free pdf of the Sun Salutation B sequence. Or click here.
Practise Sun Salutation B in class:
All levels with Esther Ekhart: 3 Sun Salutations S / 3 Sun Salutations B - 10 mins, Vinyasa Flow.
Level 2/ 3 with Joey Miles: Half Primary series, counted method - 60+ mins, Ashtanga
Photography by Alex Amengual