Suryanamaskara “B” in its full expression has a few more moves than “A”, and will really get you moving and the blood flowing. This yoga pose has a beautiful rhythm and movement of opening and closing the body. In particular, it begins to open the hips with the addition of lunges. I have chosen to offer you a very modified version of the traditional asana at this time, as a way of giving you something that prepares your body and also develops your strength and stamina.
The full version of this yoga asana, with upward dog, if done properly is very challenging and often there are so many that are not able to do it with any integrity that I prefer to teach modifications until the strength and ability are developed. Keep in mind that the modifications are not for the faint of heart and offer plenty of challenge. You will begin from the same starting place in Tadasana – mountain pose. From there you will exhale and sink your hips and bend your knees as if you are sitting in a chair. This yoga pose is called Ukatasana, or fierce posture. On an inhale straighten your legs and bring your arms out to the sides and up over your head and you are again as tall as you can be in full upward extension, Urdvha tadasana. On the next exhale fold forward as you did in the “A” sequence, all the way down to your legs, with knees bent if you need to maintain a flat back. From there you move into half extension – Ardha utasana – with you fingertips on the floor or on you feet, shins or knees. That coordinates with an inhale.
Next you will place your hands (knees bent if needed!) on the floor beside your feet and step your left foot all the way back, coming into a lunge. Here you are going to explore your hip flexor on the left side for a bit, perhaps moving forward and back on the ball of the back foot, tucking your tail down toward your front heel and, if possible, letting your torso move back to upright so the pubic bone is tilted back. Explore here as well the feeling in your body of your right sitting bone being pulled back, so that both of your hips and sitting bones are on the same plane in relation to each other.
From there on an exhale, you will bring your right foot back to upper plank position and lower down to the mat. You will do “cobra pushup” here again, drawing your ribs forward, inhaling. On an exhale place your hands under your shoulders and push your way up and back into downward dog. Think of letting your navel “lift” you up and back, rather than your arms and shoulders (core body doing the work!).
After five breaths in downward dog you will lift your right leg up and through to lunge on the opposite side, repeating al of the same cues that you learnt for the hips and core on the left side. Once you have warmed up the right hip and feel ready bring your left foot back up to standing between your hands, right into half extension position. That is done on the inhale, on the exhale release into a full forward fold – Utanasana, exhaling.
You will then bend your knees and lower your hips to “The Fierce Pose”. This may be enjoyed for a couple of breaths before inhaling and raising your arms overhead, straightening your legs and standing up. Bringing the arms down along side and perhaps back to the heart to finish.
I would recommend that you do at least three “A” and two “B” for starters and refine them and next time we’ll introduce some other great work in Suryanamaskara “A” and “B”.