Surya Namaskar and its Variations

Surya Namaskar and its Variations

Surya Namaskar And Its Variations

Surya Namaskar is one of the most basic and fundamental practices in yoga. The exact founder is unknown; however, it is believed to have been propagated by the King of Anudh. There are few modifications to aid those who cannot perform the traditional 12 poses, while there are several variations which aim to challenge the limitations of the body and to develop endurance. There are upto 28 variations of this sequence. In Ashtanga yogic practice, sun salutation has two forms. In the first, there are nine poses, while in the second, there are 17 to 19. One can also practice the poses with a higher energy level for example, transition from Padahasta asana to Ashwa Sanchalanasana with a slight jump instead of slow gradual movement or landing in Chaturanga danda asana (with body parallel to the ground) instead of Ashtanga Namaskara.

Traditional Hatha Surya Namaskar

In this tradition, the sun salutation is performed through the classic 12 spinal positions, with emphasis on breathing. The 12 steps are:

  • Pranamasana
  • Hastauttanasana
  • Hasta Padasana
  • Vama Ashwa Sanchalanasana
  • Dandasana
  • Bhujangasana
  • Ashtanga Namaskara
  • Parvatasana
  • Dakshin Ashwa
  • Sanchalanasana
  • Hasta Padasana
  • Hastauttanasana
  • Pranamasana


Examples of variations: Half Sun Salutation (Ardha Surya Namaskar), Seated Sun Salutation (Upavistha Surya Namaskar), Surya Namaskar Variation Sitting On Chair, Surya Namaskar Variation Standing In Front Of Chair), Surya Namaskar Variation Quick Vinyasa and Sun Salutation Variation Crescent Low Lunge Surya Namaskar Variation Anjaneyasana.

Example of modifications of individual poses are-

I) Variations in the mountain pose (Tadasana)

II) Forward Stretch Variation (Uttanasana)

III) Lunge Variation

IV) Variations in the Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)


Light on Yoga: The Classic Guide to Yoga by the World’s Foremost Authority: B.K.S. Iyengar

Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques: Textbook by Mark Stephens

Certification of Yoga Professionals Guidebook for level 1

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