“You caught me out with that sun salutation A again” a fellow yoga teacher told me after class this week. “You call it sun salutation A but it’s really sun C.”
Wow I have been teaching this sequence for a couple of years now! Have I been naming it incorrectly all this time? I panic of course , it’s a disaster, a crisis. Do I have to give everyone their money back, how will I track them all down? Are there lawsuits pending? Will I be struck off of the “teachers who actually know what they are talking about” list? All of my yoga street cred gone, you don’t just get that back, you know. No front page of Yoga Journal for me now.
I didn’t make it up. I am sure I am not a lone wolf out there making my own stuff up. I learned sun As from multiple teachers. Including Shastri, a well respected Indian Yoga expert., who begins his advanced class with 25 minutes of the Sun As. After 25 minutes of the same pose I thought I pretty much had it down.
The issues is whether, after the forward fold, you jump or step back to plank. I can hear all the non Yogis reading this now say “what?” It’s like being in a room full of computer nerds as they discuss the finer points of Nvdia vs Intel Graphics cards on board memory speed. All that really matters is “Can I play Farmville on it? “
But this Yoga stuff matters. Where will it end. Downdog allowed to become “Wolfman”. Or worse yet “Fire hydrant pose” becoming “Dog peeing” or is that “wolf peeing.” It would be anarchy if we all started making the poses our own. Oh wait, some styles of yoga already do that.
Time for a little research, Internet to the rescue. Despite Google’s best attempts to remove useful websites from its results, with it’s recent “farmer” release (subsequently re-branded “panda” by an embarrassed marketing department), I track down several sites that explain in words and, for those of us dyslexia challenged, via video too.
Sun A is as follows.
1. Standing Mountain Pose — Tadasana
2. Upward Salute — Urdhva Hastasana
3. Standing Forward Fold — Uttanasana
4. Half Standing Forward Fold — Ardha Uttanasana
5. Four-Limbed Staff Pose — Chaturanga Dandasana
6. Upward-Facing Dog Pose — Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
7. Downward-Facing Dog Pose — Adho Mukha Svanasana
8. Half Standing Forward Fold — Ardha Uttanasana
9. Standing Forward Fold — Uttanasana
10. Upward Salute — Urdhva Hastasana
11. Mountain Pose — Tadasana
Each site confirms my worst fear, it’s that little transition into and out of downdog. To jump back or step back, that is the question. The demonstrations and explanations I find all suggest jump back.
My whole yoga career hangs in the balance here. I search harder. Despite Google’s attempt to bring about my early demise, finally I find a site that knows what it’s talking about. It’s buried in the small print, of course, but it’s there “Exhale as you step or jump back into Plank Pose (High Push-Up Pose), with your hands under your shoulders and feet hip-distance apart.” My heart beat returns to normal, I can breathe again
Step or jump back, there it is. Call off the lawyers, I am vindicated. By the way, if you do jump back, don’t jump back to plank as this text suggests. Jump with bent elbows to “Four-Limbed Staff Pose — Chaturanga Dandasana” It is less jarring on the shoulders and less likely to cause injury.
OK so I am picking and choosing the bits of this site that best suit my argument. Isn’t that what the Internet is there for 🙂 I conclude from this that my Yogi teacher friend and I were both right. You can do Sun A either with a jump back or with a step back. My old body prefers the step back until my knees have warmed up. I save the jump back for Sun Bs
There is one loose end of course. What is a Sun C ? Check out the site below for an explanation of all 3 sun salutation. There are other explanations out there, but this is the best one, it supports my case 🙂