Surya Namaskar A & B. The sun salutation series is foundational to classical vinyasa-style yoga classes—and folks tend to either love it or hate it. Even just a few rounds of Sun A can quickly generate heat, which you may or may not want depending on how you’re feeling that day.

While practicing in Bali, I picked up a new variation on the namaskar series that I keep coming back to. Less focused on building heat and yang energy, Vayu Namaskar seeks to harmonize the five vayus. In yogic philosophy, there are five major vayus (or winds) that are said to energetically influence our body + mind: prana, apana, udana, samana and vyana.

☾ 

prana vayu // governs perception; the force that draws breath into the body; upward flow of energy; top of diaphragm to larynx

apana vayu // governs excretion; the force that expels waste; downward flow of energy; region below the navel

udana vayu // governs thought absorption; the force that allows thoughts and consciousness; circular pattern of energy distributed around the throat and head

samana vayu // governs digestion; the force that governs the digestive system and associated organs, as well as the heart and circulatory system; circular pattern of energy distributed around the navel from the inside out

vyana vayu // governs circulation; the force that regulates and controls all movement, and also coordinates the other four vayus; flows from the heart to the extremities

☾ 

If you’re a visual learner or newer to yoga, the video below shot in Thailand shows the series in two rounds. Personally, I love using the first round to move really slowly. To drop into and flow through it, allowing plenty of time to connect with the breath and notice the sensations in my body.

If you learn by reading or are familiar with yoga, here’s a roadmap of the vayu namaskar series.

TADASANA
feet hip width, find the earth, elongate the spine, deepen the breath

URDHVA HASTASANA
optional backbend

MALASANA
spine lengthens, heels can lift off the earth

TABLETOP
a few rounds of cat + cow, if you’d like

ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA
R1 hold here for several breaths; expand the ribcage on the inhale, belly in and up on the exhale

VIRABHADRASANA I (R LEG)
pause halfway, feeling the long line of energy from the back heel to crown of head. settle for a breath or two, then straighten front leg and fold forward. pause halfway (can bend front knee if hamstrings are tight)

LOW LUNGE → ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA

VIRABHADRASANA I (L LEG)

LOW LUNGE → ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA

PLANK → LOWER TO BELLY → BABY COBRA
variations: lower knees first (less intensity), chaturanga to up dog (more intensity)

ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA

TABLETOP

MALASANA

HASTA TADASANA
press down through the feet to rise, optional backbend

TADASANA
hands find the heart in anjali mudra


If you give it a go, I’d love to know what you think and how it feels in your body. The first time I practiced vayu namaskar, I felt a subtle hum of energy the rest of the day—centered and alive. Happy flowing, babes. ☾ 

header image credit: pinterest


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