Digital Asana Project

Digital Asana Project: Surya Namaskara A Variations

(Sorry for the super dark videos this time. I just moved into a new apartment and do not yet have lights in my practice room. As you can see, I’ve resorted to using candles to light my way, which is actually pretty cool.)

Lately, I’ve been spicing up my Surya A’s and B’s by throwing in various inversions and whatnot. Besides being incredibly fun, these variations really help to build some heat and to wake up the shoulders and arms in particular. In the following two videos, I’ll demonstrate two of my favorite variations.

In this first video, I add a handstand split to Surya A. I really like this one because it also functions as an early hip opener. Gravity pulls on the legs to provide a passive hip opener early on in the practice, which makes those first Warrior I’s a little more palatable. To do this variation, from Down Dog, I jump forward with both legs and immediately split the legs, coming into a handstand split. I hold here for a few moments, letting gravity do its work on my hips. Then, I take the legs together coming into a traditional handstand. Slowly as possible, I lower the legs to the ground, trying to keep them straight the entire way down.


In this second video, I’ve added a “gorilla jump” handstand to Surya A. I like this one too because you don’t have to worry so much about the balance. By keeping the knees tucked in tight, my center of gravity is more compact, and, at least in theory, the balance should be easier. At the very least, you don’t have to worry about the weight of your legs taking you over the top when you tuck the knees in like this. Once you find the balance in the “gorilla jump” handstand, you can straighten the legs and come into a full handstand, as I do in the video. Or you can just set the feet back down, which still gives you the benefits of going upside down and waking up the shoulders, not to mention having a little fun with your Surya A’s.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified yoga instructor, and the ideas and opinions expressed here are not intended to be formal instruction on yoga poses. If you plan to start up a yoga practice, or if you have one and plan to do any of the yoga poses described in this blog, please seek out an experienced, living, breathing yoga teacher to guide you with hands-on instruction.

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2 thoughts on “Digital Asana Project: Surya Namaskara A Variations

  1. Great site…I especially enjoy the digital asana series!

    We’ve been practicing a similar Surya-A/B with handstand variations (during jump backs and jump forwards) in our Vinyasa class…you explain and demonstrate it with such ease!! It’s truly inspiring! Keep up the good work!

  2. thrilled with all the videos and so excited to approach the poses in these varieties. Happy to extend your creativity to my students for their own exploration and my own.

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