Sun salutations…love them, hate them…if you’ve ever been to a yoga class you’ve undoubtedly come across them. A staple for all flowing classes, they serve to warm up the entire body and syncronise movement with the breath, but let’s face it, doing the same thing every time can become a bit stagnant. Add some extra fire to your sun salutes this autumn with these easy to add movements.
Double dip chaturanga
When one chaturanga just isn’t enough, why not try give it the double dip. Hold your chaturanga for (at least) one breath, then push back up to high plank with shoulders stacked over hands, stabilise through the core then move forward and lower to your chaturanga again. For tips to perfect your alignment in chaturanga check out ” How to nail your chaturanga”.
One legged vinyasa
From downward facing dog, lift one leg towards the sky in 3 legged dog keeping hips square and parallel to your mat. From here, shift your weight forwards into high plank keeping the leg lifted then lower to your chaturanga. As you roll over the toes to move into upward facing dog lower the lifted leg to the floor so that you can press into the tops of both feet evenly.
Side plank + variations
Take your plank up a level by taking it onto one side, strengthening the entire body whilst working on your balance. You can take it even further by playing with variations from here such as one legged side plank or tree pose in side plank. If you’re feeling particularly fiery you can even take your chaturanga with your chosen leg variation.
Jump to malasana
Challenge your coordination and focus by jumping the feet to the outsides of the hands (from downward facing dog) to enter your yogi squat (malasana). Bend your knees and lift your pelvic floor (will help to engage mula bandha for a sense of lift) then lightly hop the feet forwards. Keep the chest open and extend through to the top of your head to help get abdominal toning benefits from the posture.
Dolphin push up
Starting in down dog, inhale to lower the forearms to the floor moving into dolphin pose. You can stay here to strengthen and stretch the arms and shoulders, or for added power exhale press strongly through the hands whilst engaging the core to lift the forearms off your mat back to downward facing dog, spread the fingers wide for a solid foundation and to help keep your hands in place as you lift up. Shift your gaze to between your hands as you enter dolphin pose, then back towards the toes or naval moving back into downward facing dog.
Your traditional sun salutation, but faster! Whilst typically moving through sun salutations one breath is considered a slow count from 1 to 4, you can power up by speeding up your flow so that each posture (and breath!) is a count of 1, 2. Cutting the length of your sun salutation in half, this double time approach will really get the blood pumping and the body moving.