by Tonya Wetzel: Sun Salutations are a wonderful way to warm your body up, set your breathwork for practice, and get into the yoga zone…

Awaken

If you’ve taken a Vinyasa, Power Yoga, or Ashtanga class before then you are probably already familiar with Sun Salutations A and B, but you might not be familiar with Sun Salutation C.

Want a refresher on Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B? Learn Surya Namaskar A and B: Sun Salutation Flow Photo Tutorial

Sun Salutation C (Surya Namaskar C) is the perfect sequence to use to add variety to your practice when you may be on autopilot with Sun Salutation A and B or when you’ve had enough Chaturanga push-ups but still want to flow.

Like Sun Salutations A and B, this sequence links breath with movement but has a slightly different cadence.

Sun Salutation C (also referred to as Sun C) has a few variations across yoga traditions, but this tutorial covers the most common and foundational flow.

Learn How to Practice Sun Salutation C:

Follow along with this step-by-step yoga pose tutorial of Surya Namaskar C.

1. Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Step 1 and 17 Mountain Pose

Let’s Try It:

  • Stand with your toes together and a small space between your heels
  • Distribute your weight evenly across both feet as well as the balls and heels of your feet
  • Stack your shoulders and hips over your feet
  • Lengthen your spine from your tailbone to the crown of your head and broaden across your collar bones
  • Release your arms to your side, spread your fingers with your palms facing forward

2. Inhale: Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

Step 2 and 16 Upward Salute

Let’s Try It:

  • Keep the alignment and weight distribution from Mountain Pose
  • Inhale as your sweep your arms up overhead
  • Bring your palms together overhead and gaze up towards your hands
  • Draw your navel towards your spine to keep engagement in your core
  • Some yogis like to add a small standing backbend here

3. Exhale: Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Fold

Let’s Try It:

  • Exhale as you fold forward, hinging at the hips
  • Bend your knees as much as you need in order to plant your palms on the mat
  • Engage and lift your quadriceps to help release your hamstrings
  • Let your head hang heavy to release tension in your neck and gaze towards your shins

4. Inhale: Half Standing Forward Fold, or Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)

Half Standing Forward Fold

Let’s Try It:

  • Inhale as you lift your torso, lengthen your spine, and flatten your back
  • Place your fingertips on the floor or gently rest your hands on your shins
  • Gaze towards the floor
  • Bend your knees slightly as needed to flatten your back

 

5. Exhale: Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Fold

 

6. Inhale: Step Back Into Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Low-Lunge

Let’s Try It:

  • On your inhale, step your right leg back into a Low Lunge
  • Lower your right knee to the mat
  • All your hips to sink forward and down
  • Keep your left foot steady on the mat between your hands and your left knee stacked over your heel
  • Keep your palms on the mat or reach your arms overhead
  • Bring your gaze forward and relax the shoulders away from your ears

 

7. Exhale: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Down-Dog

Let’s Try It:

  • Exhale to plant your palms and step your left leg back to meet your right, feet hip-width distance apart
  • Lift your hips up and back, stretch your heels towards the ground (it’s ok if they don’t touch the ground – many don’t in proper alignment)
  • Your legs can be straight or have a slight bend in the knees
  • Spread your fingers apart and grip the mat slightly with your fingertips
  • Draw your navel in as you lengthen your spine and firm your shoulder blades into your back
  • Evenly distribute your weight between your hands and feet
  • Release tension in your neck and gaze towards your shins

 

8. Inhale: Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana or Phalakasana)

Plank

Let’s Try It:

  • Inhale and shift forward, stacking your shoulders over your wrists
  • Spread your fingers wide and grip the mat with your fingertips
  • Lengthen from your heels through your spine all the way to the crown of your head, and gaze straight down at the mat
  • Pull your navel towards your spine to engage your core and entire body
  • Modify by dropping one or both knees down to the mat

 

9. Exhale: Knees-Chest-Chin (Ashtanga Namaskara)

Knees Chest Chin

Let’s Try It:

  • Exhale and lower your knees to the mat, keeping your toes tucked
  • Lower your chest to the mat between your hands, hovering your shoulders just over your hands
  • Gently lower your chin down towards the mat
  • Hug your elbows in close to your sides
  • Keep your hips and bum lifted high off the mat
  • Move slowly and fluidly through this pose as you take a long exhale

 

10. Inhale: Cobra (Bhujangasana)

Cobra

Let’s Try It:

  • Inhale and pull your chest forward as you lift your chest and shoulders off the mat and lower your thighs onto the mat
  • Keep your elbows tucked in close to your sides
  • Release your feet so the tops of your feet are resting on the ground
  • Press your feet, thighs, and pubic bone into the ground
  • Broaden across the sternum and pull your chest forward and up instead of back
  • Bring your gaze forward

11. Exhale: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Down-Dog

Let’s Try It:

  • Send your hips up and back
  • Roll through or step onto the bottom of your feet
  • Take 5 breaths in Down Dog

 

12. Inhale: Step Forward Into Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Let’s Try It:

  • Inhale and take a large step forward with your right leg coming into a Low Lunge
  • Place your right foot between your hands
  • Lower your left knee to the mat

 

13. Exhale: Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Fold

Let’s Try It:

  • Exhale as you step your left leg up to meet your right, finding a fold forward

 

14. Inhale: Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)

Half Standing Forward Fold

 

15. Exhale: Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Fold

 

16. Inhale: Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

Step 2 and 16 Upward Salute

 

17. Exhale: Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Step 1 and 17 Mountain Pose

 

That completes one half of Sun Salutation C (Surya Namaskar C). Repeat the steps on the left side by stepping backward and forward with your left foot into lunges in Steps 6 and 12.

Final Tips and Guidance for Surya Namaskar C:

Sun Salutation C can serve as a complete practice when repeated several times if you’re crunched for time or can’t make it to your favorite yoga class.

Sun C is also great for class sequencing as you can easily add variations to low lunges such as lifting your arms up, adding a bind or twist, or lifting into Crescent Lunge variations.

Remember to keep breathing slowly and intentionally with each movement in this sequence to create a moving meditation, and as always listen to your body and adjust as needed.

Source: Yoga Approved