Breaking Down Sun Salutation B With Breathwork

Ok, so you’ve got Sun Salutation A totally down and now you’re left wondering: what’s next? Sun Salutation B is often practiced after several rounds of Sun Salutation A and emphasizes the same connection to breath and alignment. Think of them as moving meditations where you’re fully in tune with your body. The sequence presented below will likely feel familiar, but there are a few distinct differences between the two salutations. Remember to breathe in and out through the nose as you practice – Doing so will help warm the body and focus the mind. Carefully follow the step-by-step guideline below (taking extra breaths in poses as needed) and get ready to flow through Sun Salutation B with grace and ease!

Tadasana — Mountain Pose

Tadasana — Mountain Pose
Tadasana — Mountain Pose

Common Name: Mountain Pose

Breath: Neutral

Instructions:

  • Stand with your big toes touching and your heels about an inch apart.
  • Lift the toes from the floor, spread them wide, and set them back down.
  • Root down through all four corners of the feet.
  • Firm your thighs and activate the legs by drawing the kneecaps up.
  • Widen the sit bones by internally rotating the thigh bones.
  • Draw the belly in slightly and become aware of the natural curve of the spine.
  • Stack the shoulders directly over the pelvis and broaden across the collar bones.
  • Release the shoulder blades down the back.
  • Allow the arms to hang freely by your sides with palms facing forward.
  • Keep the neck long, the gaze steadily ahead, and the crown reaching towards the ceiling.
  • Take 10 full breaths here.

Utkatasana — Chair Pose

Utkatasana — Chair Pose
Utkatasana — Chair Pose

Common Name: Chair Pose

Breath: Inhale

Instructions:

  • Bend your knees, bringing the thighs as close to parallel with the floor as possible.
  • Touch your fingertips to the floor before bringing the arm bones up by your ears.
  • Draw the belly up and in while continuing to stay low in the hips.
  • Firm your shoulder blades against your back as you drop your tailbone towards the floor.
  • Stay low and strong as you take five deep breaths.

Uttanasana —  Standing Forward Bend Pose

Uttanasana —  Standing Forward Bend Pose
Uttanasana —  Standing Forward Bend Pose

Common Name: Standing Forward Bend

Breath: Exhale

Instructions:

  • From Chair Pose, hinge forward from the hip points and reach the arms towards the floor.
  • Lengthen the front torso and draw it away from the groins as you move deeper.
  • Bring fingertips or palms to the floor in line with the toes.
  • Keep a slight bend in the knees.
  • Engage the quadriceps to relax the hamstrings and lower back.
  • Shift your weight slightly forward to align the hips over the ankles.
  • Let the head and neck hang heavily towards the floor.
  • Take five full breaths here, letting any tension escape the body.

Ardha Uttanasana — Standing Half Forward Fold Pose

Ardha Uttanasana — Standing Half Forward Fold Pose
Ardha Uttanasana — Standing Half Forward Fold Pose

Common Name: Half Standing Forward Bend

Breath: Inhale

Instructions:

  • Coming from a Standing Forward Bend, inhale to raise your torso with a straight spine.
  • Keep your fingertips on the floor (or blocks) directly below the shoulders.
  • Maintain a slight bend in the knees.
  • Exhale and draw the shoulder blades together.
  • Inhale and take your gaze forward, following the direction of the spine.
  • On your next exhale, move to Four-Limbed Staff Pose.

Chaturanga Dandasana — Four Limbed Staff Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana — Four Limbed Staff Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana — Four Limbed Staff Pose

Common Name: Four-Limbed Staff Pose

Breath: Exhale

Instructions:

  • From Half Standing Forward Bend, bend your knees and plant your palms.
  • Step back to a high plank with wrists under shoulders.
  • Make sure the legs are activated and the core is engaged to maintain a straight spine.
  • Shift your plank forward slightly, bringing the shoulders in front of the wrists.
  • Bend your elbows straight back, keeping them close to the body as you lower halfway down.
  • Stay until you’ve completed a full exhalation before moving to the next pose.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana — Upward Facing Dog Pose

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana — Upward Facing Dog Pose
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana — Upward Facing Dog Pose

Common Name: Upward Facing Dog Pose

Breath: Inhale

Instructions:

  • Starting in Four-Limbed Staff Pose, inhale to straighten your arms and roll over your toes (untucking them one at a time if needed).
  • Press down firmly through the hands and tops of the feet to keep the thighs lifted.
  • Open your heart towards the ceiling and shift your gaze slightly upward.
  • Keep your shoulders stacked over the wrists as you let your shoulder blades soften down the back.
  • Follow your inhalation to the top before moving on to the next posture.

Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose

Common Name: Downward Facing Dog Pose

Breath: Exhale

Instructions:

  • From Upward Facing Dog Pose, tuck the toes and press down through the hands to lift your hips and straighten your legs.
  • Spread the fingers wide and roll the forearms in to bring weight to the thumb and index.
  • Rotate the biceps away from the ears to bring space across the collarbones.
  • Let your head and neck relax as you draw the shoulders towards the hips.
  • Engage your quadriceps to take weight away from the upper body.
  • Release your heels towards the floor, tip the tailbone up, and internally rotate the thigh bones.
  • As you take five deep breaths here, continue to isometrically pull everything towards the midline.

Virabhadrasana I — Warrior I Pose

Virabhadrasana I — Warrior I Pose
Virabhadrasana I — Warrior I Pose

Common Name: Warrior I Pose

Breath: Inhale

Instructions:

  • Inhale your right foot forward from Downward Facing Dog Pose to the inside of your right hand.
  • Turn your left foot flat at a 45-degree angle.
  • Make a 90-degree angle with your right leg, stacking the knee over the ankle.
  • Rise up, bringing arm bones by your ears with palms facing.
  • Lift your gaze towards your hands and slide the shoulder blades down the back.
  • Ensure both hip points are facing forward by pulling your right hip back slightly.
  • Engage the back leg by pressing through the outer edge of the left foot.
  • Hold for a full breath in or longer if you’d like.

Chaturanga Dandasana — Four Limbed Staff Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana — Four Limbed Staff Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana — Four Limbed Staff Pose

Common Name: Four-Limbed Staff Pose

Breath: Exhale

Instructions:

  • From Warrior I Pose, plant your palms on either side of your front foot.
  • Step back to a high plank with wrists under shoulders.
  • Make sure the legs are activated and the core is engaged to maintain a straight spine.
  • Shift your plank forward slightly, bringing the shoulders in front of the wrists.
  • Bend your elbows straight back, keeping them close to the body as you lower halfway down.
  • Stay until you’ve completed a full exhalation before moving to the next pose.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana — Upward Facing Dog Pose

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana — Upward Facing Dog Pose
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana — Upward Facing Dog Pose

Common Name: Upward Facing Dog Pose

Breath: Inhale

Instructions:

  • Starting in Four-Limbed Staff Pose, inhale to straighten your arms and roll over your toes (untucking them one at a time if needed).
  • Press down firmly through the hands and tops of the feet to keep the thighs lifted.
  • Open your heart towards the ceiling and shift your gaze slightly upward.
  • Keep your shoulders stacked over the wrists as you let your shoulder blades soften down the back.
  • Follow your inhalation to the top before moving on to the next posture.

Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose

Common Name: Downward Facing Dog Pose

Breath: Exhale

Instructions:

  • From Upward Facing Dog Pose, tuck the toes and press down through the hands to lift your hips and straighten your legs.
  • Spread the fingers wide and roll the forearms in to bring weight to the thumb and index.
  • Rotate the biceps away from the ears to bring space across the collarbones.
  • Let your head and neck relax as you draw the shoulders towards the hips.
  • Engage your quadriceps to take weight away from the upper body.
  • Release your heels towards the floor, tip the tailbone up, and internally rotate the thigh bones.
  • As you take five deep breaths here, continue to isometrically pull everything towards the midline.

Virabhadrasana I — Warrior I Pose

Virabhadrasana I — Warrior I Pose
Virabhadrasana I — Warrior I Pose

Common Name: Warrior I Pose

Breath: Inhale

Instructions:

  • Inhale your left foot forward from Downward Facing Dog Pose to the inside of your left hand.
  • Turn your right foot flat at a 45-degree angle.
  • Make a 90-degree angle with your left leg, stacking the knee over the ankle.
  • Rise up, bringing arm bones by your ears with palms facing.
  • Lift your gaze towards your hands and slide the shoulder blades down the back.
  • Ensure both hip points are facing forward by pulling your left hip back slightly.
  • Engage the back leg by pressing through the outer edge of the right foot.
  • Hold for a full breath in or longer if you’d like.

Chaturanga Dandasana — Four Limbed Staff Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana — Four Limbed Staff Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana — Four Limbed Staff Pose

Common Name: Four-Limbed Staff Pose

Breath: Exhale

Instructions:

  • From Warrior I Pose, plant your palms on either side of your front foot.
  • Step back to a high plank with wrists under shoulders.
  • Make sure the legs are activated and the core is engaged to maintain a straight spine.
  • Shift your plank forward slightly, bringing the shoulders in front of the wrists.
  • Bend your elbows straight back, keeping them close to the body as you lower halfway down.
  • Stay until you’ve completed a full exhalation before moving to the next pose.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana — Upward Facing Dog Pose

Mukha Svanasana — Upward Facing Dog Pose
Mukha Svanasana — Upward Facing Dog Pose

Common Name: Upward Facing Dog Pose

Breath: Inhale

Instructions:

  • Starting in Four-Limbed Staff Pose, inhale to straighten your arms and roll over your toes.
  • Press down firmly through the hands and tops of the feet to keep the thighs lifted.
  • Open your heart towards the ceiling and shift your gaze slightly upward.
  • Keep your shoulders stacked over the wrists as you let your shoulder blades soften down the back.
  • Follow your inhalation to the top before moving on to the next posture.

Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose

Common Name: Downward Facing Dog Pose

Breath: Exhale

Instructions:

  • From Upward Facing Dog Pose, tuck the toes and press down through the hands to lift your hips and straighten your legs.
  • Spread the fingers wide and roll the forearms in to bring weight to the thumb and index.
  • Rotate the biceps away from the ears to bring space across the collarbones.
  • Let your head and neck relax as you draw the shoulders towards the hips.
  • Engage your quadriceps to take weight away from the upper body.
  • Release your heels towards the floor, tip the tailbone up, and internally rotate the thigh bones.
  • As you take five deep breaths here, continue to isometrically pull everything towards the midline.

Ardha Uttanasana — Standing Half Forward Fold Pose

Ardha Uttanasana — Standing Half Forward Fold Pose
Ardha Uttanasana — Standing Half Forward Fold Pose

Common Name: Half Standing Forward Bend

Breath: Inhale

Instructions:

  • Step or float your feet forward from Downward Facing Dog Pose.
  • Inhale to raise your torso with a straight spine.
  • Keep your fingertips on the floor (or blocks) directly below the shoulders.
  • Maintain a slight bend in the knees.
  • Exhale and draw the shoulder blades together.
  • Inhale and take your gaze forward, following the direction of the spine.
  • On your next exhale, move to Standing Forward Bend.

Uttanasana —  Standing Forward Bend Pose

Uttanasana —  Standing Forward Bend Pose
Uttanasana —  Standing Forward Bend Pose

Common Name: Standing Forward Bend

Breath: Exhale

Instructions:

  • From Half Standing Forward Bend, hinge forward from the hip points and fold.
  • Lengthen the front torso and draw it away from the groins as you move deeper.
  • Bring fingertips or palms to the floor in line with the toes.
  • Keep a slight bend in the knees.
  • Engage the quadriceps to relax the hamstrings and lower back.
  • Shift your weight slightly forward to align the hips over the ankles.
  • Let the head and neck hang heavily towards the floor.
  • Take five full breaths here, letting any tension escape the body.

Utkatasana — Chair Pose

Utkatasana — Chair Pose
Utkatasana — Chair Pose

Common Name: Chair Pose

Breath: Inhale

Instructions:

  • Inhale up from your Standing Forward Bend.
  • Bend your knees, bringing the thighs as close to parallel with the floor as possible.
  • Touch your fingertips to the floor before bringing the arm bones up by your ears.
  • Draw the belly up and in while continuing to stay low in the hips.
  • Firm your shoulder blades against your back as you drop your tailbone towards the floor.
  • Stay low and strong as you take five deep breaths.
  • Come out by straightening your knees on an inhale and exhale your arms by your sides.

Tadasana — Mountain Pose

Tadasana — Mountain Pose
Tadasana — Mountain Pose

Common Name: Mountain Pose

Breath: Neutral

Instructions:

  • Stand with your big toes touching and your heels about an inch apart.
  • Lift the toes from the floor, spread them wide, and set them back down.
  • Root down through all four corners of the feet.
  • Firm your thighs and activate the legs by drawing the kneecaps up.
  • Widen the sit bones by internally rotating the thigh bones.
  • Draw the belly in slightly and become aware of the natural curve of the spine.
  • Stack the shoulders directly over the pelvis and broaden across the collar bones.
  • Release the shoulder blades down the back.
  • Allow the arms to hang freely by your sides with palms facing forward.
  • Keep the neck long, the gaze steadily ahead, and the crown reaching towards the ceiling.
  • Take 10 full breaths here.

That’s one full round of Sun Salutation B! Repeat this sequence five or more times following Sun Salutation A and you’re sure to feel revitalized and rebalanced. Always remember to take it at your own pace and move mindfully. Honor your body and it’s unique needs by modifying as necessary and you’ll start to notice a transformation both inside and out.

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