Don’t Forget About Sun Salutation C! Here’s a Refresher of How to Practice (Photo Tutorial)

Tonya Wetzel
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Sun Salutations are a wonderful way to warm your body up, set your breathwork for practice, and get into the yoga zone.

If you’ve taken a Vinyasa, Power Yoga, or Ashtanga class before then you are probably already familiar with Sun Salutations A and B, but you might not be familiar with Sun Salutation C.

Want a refresher on Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B? Learn Surya Namaskar A and B: Sun Salutation Flow Photo Tutorial

Sun Salutation C (Surya Namaskar C) is the perfect sequence to use to add variety to your practice when you may be on autopilot with Sun Salutation A and B or when you’ve had enough Chaturanga push-ups but still want to flow.

Like Sun Salutations A and B, this sequence links breath with movement but has a slightly different cadence.

Sun Salutation C (also referred to as Sun C) has a few variations across yoga traditions, but this tutorial covers the most common and foundational flow.
 
 

Learn How to Practice Sun Salutation C:

Follow along with this step-by-step yoga pose tutorial of Surya Namaskar C.
 

1. Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Step 1 and 17 Mountain Pose

Let’s Try It:

  • Stand with your toes together and a small space between your heels
  • Distribute your weight evenly across both feet as well as the balls and heels of your feet
  • Stack your shoulders and hips over your feet
  • Lengthen your spine from your tailbone to the crown of your head and broaden across your collar bones
  • Release your arms to your side, spread your fingers with your palms facing forward

 

2. Inhale: Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

Step 2 and 16 Upward Salute

Let’s Try It:

  • Keep the alignment and weight distribution from Mountain Pose
  • Inhale as your sweep your arms up overhead
  • Bring your palms together overhead and gaze up towards your hands
  • Draw your navel towards your spine to keep engagement in your core
  • Some yogis like to add a small standing backbend here

 

3. Exhale: Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Fold

Let’s Try It:

  • Exhale as you fold forward, hinging at the hips
  • Bend your knees as much as you need in order to plant your palms on the mat
  • Engage and lift your quadriceps to help release your hamstrings
  • Let your head hang heavy to release tension in your neck and gaze towards your shins

 

 
 

4. Inhale: Half Standing Forward Fold, or Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)

Half Standing Forward Fold

Let’s Try It:

  • Inhale as you lift your torso, lengthen your spine, and flatten your back
  • Place your fingertips on the floor or gently rest your hands on your shins
  • Gaze towards the floor
  • Bend your knees slightly as needed to flatten your back

 

5. Exhale: Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Fold

 

6. Inhale: Step Back Into Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Low-Lunge

Let’s Try It:

  • On your inhale, step your right leg back into a Low Lunge
  • Lower your right knee to the mat
  • All your hips to sink forward and down
  • Keep your left foot steady on the mat between your hands and your left knee stacked over your heel
  • Keep your palms on the mat or reach your arms overhead
  • Bring your gaze forward and relax the shoulders away from your ears

 

7. Exhale: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Down-Dog

Let’s Try It:

  • Exhale to plant your palms and step your left leg back to meet your right, feet hip-width distance apart
  • Lift your hips up and back, stretch your heels towards the ground (it’s ok if they don’t touch the ground – many don’t in proper alignment)
  • Your legs can be straight or have a slight bend in the knees
  • Spread your fingers apart and grip the mat slightly with your fingertips
  • Draw your navel in as you lengthen your spine and firm your shoulder blades into your back
  • Evenly distribute your weight between your hands and feet
  • Release tension in your neck and gaze towards your shins

 

8. Inhale: Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana or Phalakasana)

Plank

Let’s Try It:

  • Inhale and shift forward, stacking your shoulders over your wrists
  • Spread your fingers wide and grip the mat with your fingertips
  • Lengthen from your heels through your spine all the way to the crown of your head, and gaze straight down at the mat
  • Pull your navel towards your spine to engage your core and entire body
  • Modify by dropping one or both knees down to the mat

Want to make sure you’re practicing Plank Pose correctly? Here’s How!
 

9. Exhale: Knees-Chest-Chin (Ashtanga Namaskara)

Knees Chest Chin

Let’s Try It:

  • Exhale and lower your knees to the mat, keeping your toes tucked
  • Lower your chest to the mat between your hands, hovering your shoulders just over your hands
  • Gently lower your chin down towards the mat
  • Hug your elbows in close to your sides
  • Keep your hips and bum lifted high off the mat
  • Move slowly and fluidly through this pose as you take a long exhale

 

10. Inhale: Cobra (Bhujangasana)

Cobra

Let’s Try It:

  • Inhale and pull your chest forward as you lift your chest and shoulders off the mat and lower your thighs onto the mat
  • Keep your elbows tucked in close to your sides
  • Release your feet so the tops of your feet are resting on the ground
  • Press your feet, thighs, and pubic bone into the ground
  • Broaden across the sternum and pull your chest forward and up instead of back
  • Bring your gaze forward

 

 
 

11. Exhale: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Down-Dog

Let’s Try It:

  • Send your hips up and back
  • Roll through or step onto the bottom of your feet
  • Take 5 breaths in Down Dog

 

12. Inhale: Step Forward Into Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Let’s Try It:

  • Inhale and take a large step forward with your right leg coming into a Low Lunge
  • Place your right foot between your hands
  • Lower your left knee to the mat

 

13. Exhale: Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Fold

Let’s Try It:

  • Exhale as you step your left leg up to meet your right, finding a fold forward

 

14. Inhale: Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)

Half Standing Forward Fold

 

15. Exhale: Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Fold

 

16. Inhale: Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

Step 2 and 16 Upward Salute

 

17. Exhale: Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Step 1 and 17 Mountain Pose

 

That completes one half of Sun Salutation C (Surya Namaskar C). Repeat the steps on the left side by stepping backward and forward with your left foot into lunges in Steps 6 and 12.
 
 

Final Tips and Guidance for Surya Namaskar C:

Sun Salutation C can serve as a complete practice when repeated several times if you’re crunched for time or can’t make it to your favorite yoga class.

Sun C is also great for class sequencing as you can easily add variations to low lunges such as lifting your arms up, adding a bind or twist, or lifting into Crescent Lunge variations.

Remember to keep breathing slowly and intentionally with each movement in this sequence to create a moving meditation, and as always listen to your body and adjust as needed.

Next time you feel like you’re in a bit of a yoga slump give Sun Salutation C a try and see how it invigorates your practice. Namaste!

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Tonya Wetzel

Tonya is a RYT-200 yoga teacher at Loft Yoga, BSL in Bay St Louis, Mississippi. She loves that she gets to share the joy and healing that yoga brought to her life. In addition to teaching yoga, she flips houses with her husband. Outside of work, Tonya is a travel enthusiast who loves the outdoors and adventure, spending time at the local beach, good wine, geocaching, and playing with her three dogs.

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