A Sun Salutation with Adaptations for Pregnancy

1. How to Adapt a Yoga Flow for Pregnancy

In a normal pregnancy, there is no reason why you can’t practice vinyasa flow yoga well

into your third trimester as long as you feel up for it. However, as your belly gets

bigger there are some recommended adaptations to the classic sun salutation poses that

are intended to feel more comfortable and to help prepare your body for delivery. You can

start to incorporate these at any time during your pregnancy, both in class and at home.

2. Raised Arms Pose – Urdhva Hastasana

Start by standing in tadasana, but take your feet as wide as your mat.



Bring your hands up through the heart center and then reach your arms toward the ceiling

coming into urdhva hastasana. The palms can press together or you can separate the hands

shoulder’s distance apart, whichever is more comfortable. Slide your shoulders away from

your ears.

3.Camper’s Pose


Bend your knees while keeping the feet wide and parallel. Lower the thighs to almost

parallel to the floor. It’s ok if you don’t come quite that low too. Bring your elbows to

your thighs and press your palms to your heart center in anjali mudra. This is called

camper’s pose, for obvious reasons. It’s offered as an alternative to a full forward bend

because it allows space for the belly, which often feels better on the pregnant body,

plus it’s more of a hip opener.

4.Lunge With the Left Foot Forward


Read more “A Sun Salutation with Adaptations for Pregnancy”


Half Sun Salutation

A half suL salutation is the part of the full sequence that is done at the front of your

mat before you step or jump back. (See the full sun salutation if you are confused). It

is often used as a warm-up for the longer sequence and is a good way to start a home

practice session. And sometimes a whole-body reach toward the sky followed by a little

forward-bending hamstring stretch is all you need.


On your first few rounds, feel free to spend several breaths in each pose as you

transition your body and mind into your practice. Move to the next pose when you a ready

on an inhalation or exhalation as designated. As you warm up, try to do the sequence

matching each breath with a movement.

1.Mountain Pose – Tadasana

Mountain Pose – Tadasana


Begin by standing at the front of your mat in mountain pose. Take time to set up your

alignment. Bring your shoulders over your hips and your hips over your heels. Roll your

shoulder blades down your back. Engage your thigh muscles, lifting your kneecaps. You can

either bring the hands into anjali mudra or let the arms hang at your sides with the

palms turned forward. Take five to ten ujjayi breaths to arrive fully in the present


2.Raised Arms Pose – Urdhva Hasatansana

Raised Hands Pose – Urdhva Hastasana




Reach your straight arms out to either side and overhead to urdhva hastasana. You can

bring your two palms to touch or keep them shoulder’s distance apart. Either way, keep

the shoulders relaxing down away from the ears. Bring your gaze to your upraised hands.

3.Forward Bend – Uttanasana

Standing Forward Bend – Uttanasana

Standing Forward Bend – Uttanasana. Ann Pizer




Swan dive over your legs into a forward fold. Lead with your chest. You can bend your

knees slightly if you like. Let your head hang heavy, make sure that to keep some of your

weight in the balls of your feel. If you lean too heavily into the heels, your hips will

move back, bringing them out of alignment.

4.Flat Back – Ardha Uttanasana

Half Forward Bend – Ardha Uttanasana




Lift up to your finger tips, raise your head, and come to a flat back. For many people,

bringing your hands to your shins is going to be a better position for flattening your

back. You can actually place your hands anywhere on your legs that allows for a straight

spine. Try to keep the pressure on your legs light.

5.Forward Bend – Uttanasana

Standing Forward Bend – Uttanasana




Fold deeply over your legs to return to uttanasana. Pull your belly in toward your spine

to make more room for your forward fold. If you want to take a few extra breaths here to

deepen your stretch, go ahead. Some people like to grab opposite elbows and just hang.

You can also grab your big toes for a little traction as you forward bend.

6.Raised Arms Pose – Urdhva Hastasana

Raised Hands Pose – Urdhva Hastasana




Reverse your swan dive to return to urdhva hastasana. Lead with your chest, just as you

did on the way down. When you get to the top, make sure your shoulders didn’t get

scrunched up along the way.

7.Mountain Pose – TadasanaMountain Pose – Tadasana




End back where you began, in mountain pose. Release your arms back by your sides and

slide your shoulder blades down your back. Take several full, deep inhales and exhales

before beginning the sequence again. If you feel ready, you can move on to a full sun

salutation from here.

learn to do sun salutation



Sun salutations are a key part of any vinyasa flow style yoga practice. You may not even

realize you are doing them, but many teachers use them as a warm-up at the beginning oF

class or even base whole classes around them. If you learn this sequence, it will really

help you out if you ever want to practice at home, since one of the biggest obstacles to

doing yoga on your own is figuring out what to do when you first get on your mat. Sun

salutations are the obvious answer.


The Breath


The breath is a very important part of this sequence. Movement from one pose to the next

is always done in conjunction with either an inhalation or exhalation of the breath. You

can control the pace of the sequence by altering the number of breaths in each pose, just

make sure to always move to the next pose on the correct breath.






1.Begin in Mountain Pose

Tadasana and Urdhva Hastasana

To begin, bring yourself to the front edge of your mat in mountain pose (tadasana) with

the hands in anjali mudra at your heart. This is traditionally where you might stop and

set an intention for your practice if you choose to.


Inhale. Bring the arms out to the sides and up to the ceiling to join your palms above

your head in raised arms pose (urdhva hastasana). Lift your gaze to your thumbs and slide

your shoulders away from your ears.

  1. Uttanasana to Flat Back

Flat Back

Exhale. Release your arms to either side and forward bend over your legs (as if you were

doing a swan dive into a swimming pool) to come into a forward bend (uttanasana).

Alternatively, you can keep your palm together and pass them in front of your heart as

you fold forward.


Place your fingertips in line with your toes. Flatten your palms if possible or tent your

fingers. Place your hands on blocks if they don’t reach the floor when your legs are

straight. You can also bend the knees a little if that makes you more comfortable.


Inhale. Lift your head as you come to a flat back (ardha uttanasana), coming onto your

fingertips or placing your hands on your shins, whichever allows you to get your back

really flat.

  1. Plank Pose


Plank Pose


Exhale. Plant your palms and step or jump back to a plank position. In plank, make sure

your shoulders are over your wrists and your butt is neither sticking up nor drooping

down. A straight line from the crown of your head to your heels is what you are going

for. Take an inhale here.


As an alternative for more experienced yoga students, you can plant the palms in

uttanasana, jump back directly to chaturanga dandasana on an exhalation, and go through

your vinyasa from there.

4.Knees, Chest, and Chin or Chaturanga Dandasana

Chaturanga Dandasana

If you are a beginner:

Exhale. Lower to your knees, chest, and chin. Keep your butt high and your elbows hugging

your ribs.


If you are more advanced:


Exhale. Shift your shoulders forward a few inches and lower down to four-limbed staff

pose (chaturanga dandasana). Bringing the shoulders slightly in front of the wrists

before lowering helps you get the alignment right in the final pose. If you are getting

tired, lower to your knees since doing chaturanga incorrectly can injure your shoulders

over time.

5.Cobra or Upward Facing Dog

Cobra or Upward Facing Dog

If you did knees, chest, and chin in the previous step:


Inhale. Come forward to a low cobra. Anchor your pelvis and the tops of your feet to the

floor but try not to press into your hands as you come up into the backbend.


If you did chaturanga in the previous step:


Inhale. Roll over your toes (if possible) to come into an upward facing dog. Bend your

elbows out to the sides at first in order to bring your shoulders down and away from your

ears. Then straighten your arms. Make sure your legs are straight and your knees are

lifted off the floor.

6.Downward Facing Dog

Exhale. Push back to downward facing dog. You can come through hands and knees on the way

if necessary.


Stay here a few breaths (or more) if you need to take a break. If you are going for a

brisk pace, just stay one breath.

7.Step or Jump to a Forward Bend

Flat Back

Exhale. Step the right foot next to the right hand and then bring the left foot to join

it in standing forward bend (uttansana). You may also choose to jump forward instead. To

do this, bend the knees on an exhalation and jump your feet to meet your hands. Try to

land with your toes in line with your fingertips.


Inhale up to a flat back and then exhale back to uttanasana.

8.Finish the Sun Salutation

Mountain Pose – Tadasana


Inhale. Lift your arms out to the sides and up, reversing the swan dive to return to

raised arms pose.


Exhale. Come to stand in mountain pose with your hands in a prayer position at the heart