Surya Namaskar or sun salutations is a sequence of yoga postures used to strengthen and warm up the body. Each posture is linked with the breath to create a "flow". The ancient yogis practiced this sequence as a way to worship and honor the sun. Sun salutations provides and excellent warm up or can be done as a complete practice.
While this practice can be very invigorating, it is not always ideal for expecting mothers. In traditional sun salutation sequence, it typically includes plank pose with a transition into upward facing or cobra. During pregnancy lying on the belly may not be physically possible and is considered a contraindication.
Below is a pregnancy modified sun salutation that can be used in place of traditional sun salutation offered in most yoga classes. You don't have to be pregnant to enjoy this sequence!
1. Mountain Pose / Tadasana
I like to start my sun salutation practice with one cleansing breath. Take a deep inhale in through the nose, exhale out through the mouth. Hands at heart center.
2. Extended mountain pose / Extended tadasana
Inhale extend the arms overhead. Palms face in. Optional: gaze toward your finger tips.
3. Forward fold with blocks / Uttanasana
Exhale forward fold. Optional: hands on the blocks. Adjust the block height setting appropriate for your body.
4. Standing half forward fold / Ardha Uttanasana
Inhale lengthen the spine, create a "flat" back.
5. Low lunge (right side) / Anjaneyasana
Exhale low lunge. Your knee should be slightly over your instep, not receding past your toes.
6. Cow pose / Bitilasana
Inahle tip your tailbone up and bring your gaze up.
7. Cat pose / Marjariasana
Exhale round your spine. Repeat cow and cat three to four times.
8. Low lunge (left side) / Anjaneyasana
Exhale low lunge with the opposite leg. Knee over instep but not receding past your toes.
9. Standing half forward fold / Ardha Uttanasana
Inahel half lift.
10. Forward fold with blocks / Uttanasana
Exhale forward fold.
11. Extended mountain pose / Extended tadasana
Inhale arms overhead.
12. Mountain Pose / Tadasana
Exhale hands to heart center.