Lesson time 16:18 min
Find the variation that is most appropriate for you: Donna teaches this essential sequence and demonstrates progressive points of entry.
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Topics include: Upward Puppy Spiral • Beginner’s Sun Salutation • Classic Sun Salutation
[BIRDS CHIRPING] [FLUTE-LIKE TONES] - The Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar, is technically a series of standing postures, but it deserves a chapter all of its own, because this particular flowing practice is something you'll see in almost any method or tradition of yoga. Now, sometimes, it's practiced as an exclusive flow just in and of itself, and other flowing practices insert standing postures within the Sun Salutation itself. I'm going to be offering you progressive points of entry. And this is really important, because we all come into yoga with different bodies, different body histories, and we want to adapt the yoga for us. [AMBIENT MUSIC AND BIRD SONGS] Upward Puppy Spiral is an important preparatory posture for the Sun Salutation, because it helps to prepare the back for extension or back bending. For this practice, you will lay on your abdomen, lift your chest, and turn to look over your shoulder. Neil's going to demonstrate for me today. You may want to have a blanket underneath your pelvis, and it's helpful to be working on a yoga mat itself. So we begin the practice by coming down onto the floor with the hips on the edge of the blanket, the thighs off, and you start with the arms in a tripod position, parallel to each other, and that will change in a moment, as the practice continues. The first movement of Upward Puppy Spiral is your turn to look over your right shoulder, and then you turn to look over your left shoulder. And you can see that, as Neil's turning, his back is beginning to side bend. And what we know about side bending the spine is when the spine side bends, it rotates, so we're already starting to mobilize the back. Now, as that turn deepens, his pelvis will begin to lift, and the knee will quite naturally begin to bend. The foot may slide up. As the foot slides up, you want to make sure that the foot is tracking to that pelvic half rather than having the foot way off to the side. So that when you begin to push through your foot, you're sending that force into that pelvic half. So now, Neil adds this component of pushing back through his foot, sending force sequentially through the body to the other side. And then pause for a moment here, Neil, as you turn to look at your left leg. Let the focus be on lengthening through the right leg and lengthening all the way through to the right ear, and then we add a spiral. So Neil will side bend to the right, reach his left arm diagonally forward, roll onto the outside of the left shoulder, and on to his back. And you'll see that he's allowed his right knee to come away from the floor. Now, if he didn't do that, if he tried to pin this knee to the floor, you would see the shoulder come up. Rule of thumb, allow the knee to come up as much as you need to to bring the shoulder to the floor and as little as possible, because we want this counter rotation. So if he completely lets it go, he's going to lose that wonderful feeling of rotation...
About the Instructor
With nearly 40 years of experience, Donna Farhi is one of the most sought-after yoga instructors in the world. Now the “teacher of teachers” is sharing her approach to creating a safe, sustainable yoga practice with students of all levels. Whether you’re looking to realign with the heart of traditional yoga or are just getting started, learn postures, foundations, and philosophies to guide you on your journey.
Featured Masterclass Instructor
Renowned yoga instructor Donna Farhi teaches you the most essential physical and mental elements of creating a safe, sustainable practice.Explore the Class