There are many variations that can be made to the mini-Sun Salutation flow offered here. After experiencing it once or twice, the student may naturally flow into new versions. The right music can enhance the flowing nature of this vinyasa.

Sitting in VajrasanaStanding on kneesSalaamUpward facing CatDownward facing CatStraight-armed CobraDown Dog

Just as was suggested for the Moon Salutation, when you flow, use the breath as an envelope for the movement. This is great advice for every asana practice: begin the breath, and then begin the movement – end the movement before you end the breath. This way, all your movements are done inside the breath. Watching this is a meditation all by itself.

We begin the mini-Sun Salutation in Vajrasana, where we sit on our heels, hands folded in prayer at our heart. From this starting position we will flow in cycles. With each cycle, one new position will be added until the Down Dog is reached. After that, with each cycle one position will be subtracted until you come back to the beginning again. Note: if Vajrasana is not comfortable or possible for you, change your starting position to be the second posture; start from kneeling, and return to, and stop at, kneeling in each cycle.

Cycle One: Begin in Vajrasana, sitting on your heels. This is position one. Bring your hands to the heart center in anjali mudra (prayer). Exhale. On your next inhalation raise your arms high overhead as you come up onto your knees. Complete the inhalation as your palms touch. This is position two. As you exhale return back to the starting position, sitting again on your heels with your hands in anjali mudra.

Cycle Two: Sitting on your heels, bring your hands to the heart center in anjali mudra. Exhale. On your next inhalation raise your arms high overhead, as you come up onto your knees. Complete the inhalation as your palms touch. As you exhale, lower your arms to the floor, reaching them way out in front of you while you sit back on your heels. This is the Salaam position (like being in Child’s Pose but with your arms extended overhead on the floor). Complete the exhalation here. This is position three.

As you inhale, rise up again to standing on your knees with your arms reaching overhead. This is position three. As you exhale, return to position one.

Cycle Three: Come up to position two on the inhalation. Fold into Salaam, position three, on the exhalation. On the next inhalation, come onto your hands and knees into an Upward Facing Cat. Hide your spine deep into your back, as your tailbone and back of the head try to meet. Allow your belly to melt to the floor, but keep your hands actively rooting into the floor, shoulders high. Your toes may be tucked under to wake up the feet. This is position four.

As you exhale, fold, and sit back into position three, the Salaam. On the inhalation, rise again into position two, standing on knees. On the exhalation, return to Vajrasana, position one.

Cycle Four: Come up to position two on the inhalation. Fold into Salaam, position three, on the exhalation. On the next inhalation, come onto your hands and knees into an Upward Facing Cat, position four. On the exhalation, round your spine in the opposite direction into the Downward Facing Cat. The tailbone tucks under as you drop your chin to the chest. Lift the spine as high as you can, while maintaining the rooting action of the hands and toes. Shoulders remain high. This is position five.

As you inhale, round again into position four, the Upward Facing Cat. As you exhale, fold and sit back into position three, the Salaam. On the inhalation, rise again into position two, standing on knees. On the exhalation, return to Vajrasana, position one.

Cycle Five: Come up to position two on the inhalation. Fold into Salaam, position three, on the exhalation. On the next inhalation, come onto your hands and knees into an Upward Facing Cat, position four. On the exhalation, round your spine in the opposite direction into the Downward Facing Cat, position five. As you inhale, come into a straight-armed Cobra. Let your hips flow forward, as you move the chest up and between the arms. The arms remain straight, and your hips now lower to the ground. Your legs are straight behind you. Toes can remain tucked under or, for more challenge, point the toes away from you. Fill your lungs and open your heart. Look up. This is position six.

As you exhale, come back onto hands and knees into position five, the Downward Facing Cat. As you inhale, drop the spine again into position four, the Upward Facing Cat. As you exhale, fold and sit back into position three, the Salaam. On the inhalation, rise again into position two, standing on knees. On the exhalation, return to Vajrasana, position one.

Cycle Six: Come up to position two on the inhalation. Fold into Salaam, position three, on the exhalation. On the next inhalation, come onto your hands and knees, into an Upward Facing Cat, position four. On the exhalation, round your spine in the opposite direction, into the Downward Facing Cat, position five. As you inhale, come into position six, which is a straight-armed Cobra. Now, on the exhalation, flow into Downward Facing Dog. You may keep your knees bent for the first visit to the Down Dog. Lengthen the arms and the spine and turn the tailbone high in the air. Be a happy puppy – happy dogs always have their tails held high – wag your tail! Root your front paws deep into the earth. Linger here for a few breaths, if you like. Then, exhale completely. This is position seven.

On an inhalation, shift your hips forward, and come back into a straight-armed Cobra, position six. As you exhale, come onto hands and knees into position five, the Downward Facing Cat. As you inhale, drop the spine again into position four, the Upward Facing Cat. As you exhale, fold and sit back into position three, the Salaam. On the inhalation, rise again into position two, standing on knees. On the exhalation, return to Vajrasana, position one.

Cycle Seven and beyond:

Down DogStraight-armed CobraDownward facing CatUpward facing CatSalaamStanding on kneesSitting in Vajrasana

The mini-Sun Salutation now unwinds. Each new cycle removes one posture until we are back to the starting position:

Cycle Seven repeats Cycle Five.
Cycle Eight repeats Cycle Four.
Cycle Nine repeats Cycle Three.
Cycle Ten repeats Cycle Two.
Cycle Eleven repeats Cycle One.
Cycle Twelve there is no Cycle Twelve just sit in Vajrasana, close your eyes, and enjoy the feeling of energy flowing.

 

  1. — If you would like a very different musical experience, try Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage and Eclipse from the Dark Side of the Moon. It works! For traditionalists, a wonderful CD to accompany your Yin Yoga practice is Rosa Mystica by Theresa Schroeder-Sheker.