The sun salutation, or sūrya namaskar, is an integral part of yoga. Some texts say it is an ancient practice based on the 12 phases of the sun. Other texts say it’s a fairly recent practice, only 700-800 years old. Regardless, most yoga traditions practice some version of the sun salutation.
As a yoga teacher, you’ve been taught the basic cues for a sun salutation.
But how do we advance our teaching and inspire our students to experience the sun salutation deeper?
How can we allow them to move beyond their body and breath and explore the mental and emotional aspects of yoga?
Cuing the kosa’s in your class allows your students to move beyond the pose and beyond the physical body. They separate yoga from regular exercise. The kosa’s help your students find that “more than” they are looking for in their practice and can change the lives of your students. Don’t know what the kosa’s are? Check out my previous blogs to learn about the kosa’s and how to teach them.
Here are some examples of my sun salutation cues. I’ve written out the cues but you can also click on the video to see the cues in action. Below, you’ll also find metaphysical dynamics that you can explore with your students to help them go beyond the physical and into the mental and emotional levels of yoga.
Annamayakosa: Cue the movements through each pose.
Pranamayakosa: Cue breath with movement.
“Inhale arms up
Exhale bend your knees and Forward Fold
Inhale Half Lift
Exhale Forward Fold
Inhale step back
Inhale shift your weight forward slightly
Exhale Knees, Chest, Chin, chaturanga
Exhale Downward Facing Dog
Inhale look up between your hands
Exhale step forward into Forward Fold
Inhale bend your knees and rise up
Exhale hands to heart”
Manomayakosa: What are you feeding your body? Address their habits as they move through the pose.
“Your body may be starting to warm as we progress through this series. Do you monitor yourself to stay steady and comfortable? Or are you trying to keep pace with your neighbor?”
Vijnanamayakosa: Point out how they respond to poses rather than reacting to them.
“In this sun salutation, we are constantly changing and flowing – opening & closing, looking up and down, folding into ourselves then expanding out. How do you handle these changes and transitions? Are you able to flow mindfully or are you simply going through the motions? In what other areas of your life do you just “go through the motions?”
Anandamayakosa: Focus on positivity, connection and bliss. See my previous post on this kosa and my theory for teaching it.
“Find your smile in this plank! Notice how smiling actually makes this pose easier! Keep your smile as your slowly lower into chatarunga, then gracefully move into your updog. Let your heart radiate that smile out into the room!”
Next time you teach the sun salutations, slow them down and allow your students to move deeper within the poses – not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.
Ready to Stand Out as a Yoga Teacher? Learn 5 ways to grow your classes, connect with your students and transform your student's lives...without a big following or decades of experience. Join the Yoga Teacher Conf's FREE Masterclass.