Sun Salutation B, in Sanskrit, Surya Namaskara B, is a yoga sequence created in modern times but its fundamental principles are linked to the Vedic age of yoga.
It is a common salutation sequence used by itself as a way to energize oneself, as well as a part of other sequences and systems of yoga asana, often associated with the method of Ashtanga Yoga.
Compared to the more popular Sun Salutation A, this sequence includes several more yoga poses, and invites practitioners to tap into and develop their strength.
Read on to find out:
- Meaning and Origins of Sun Salutation B
- Physical and Physiological Benefits of Sun Salutation B
- Other Benefits of Sun Salutation B
- Poses Included in the Sun Salutation B Sequence
- How to Practice Sun Salutation B
- Ways to Make Surya Namaskar B Accessible
Meaning and Origins of Sun Salutation B
Sūryanamaskāra translates directly from Sanskrit as Surya: sun and Namaskar: salutation, and in this case the B has been utilized to differentiate this sequence from the other Surya Namaskar sequences, which include A, Classical, and others.
Although the sequence was created in modern times, the creator was inspired by ancient yogic texts that depict rituals of salutation to the Sun.
These works may have served as a source of inspiration for the practice of the various Sun Salutation sequences that we use today.
Later on, the practice of Sun Salutations, especially Sun Salutation A and B, were embraced by practices like Vinyasa yoga, where the sequence is mostly used as an effective way to warm up the body as well as strengthen it, and it is often repeated a few times.
Physical and Physiological Benefits of Sun Salutation B
Sun Salutations embody these same qualities of heat, strength and resilience building, etc.
The intentionality behind the practice of Surya Namaskar B is to harness these energies within the practice and ourselves.
Sun Salutation B, just like Sun Salutation A and C has many benefits for the physical body:
1. Warms the body up quickly
2. Tones and strengthens the muscles of the entire body
3. Enhances flexibility and mobility
4. Increases stamina
5. Promotes cardiovascular health
6. Can support weight loss
Other Benefits Of Sun Salutation B
Yoga has benefits for the body, mind, and subtle body. and Sun Salutations are a great way to experience some of these benefits while letting the mind think you’re just getting a great workout.
Sun Salutation B can help you:
1. Harmonize body and mind
2. Reduce stress and anxiety levels
3. Find a meditative state while moving
Compared to Sun Salutation A, Sun Salutation B, since it includes the Warriors and a few more chaturangas, is often practiced a little bit further into the sequence, or with the intent to warm up quicker.
Poses Included in the Sun Salutation B Sequence
The Surya Namaskar B sequence is composed of 9 postures.
Since some of them are symmetrical while others are asymmetrical, you’ll find that certain asanas are repeated (to be able to do them once on the left, and once on the right) while others are only explored once on each round.
Here are the postures that are traditionally included in the Sun Salutation B sequence:
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
2. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
3. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
4. Ardha Uttanasana (Half Forward Fold)
5. Phalakasana (High Plank Pose)
6. Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
7. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)
8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
9. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior 1)
When practiced, the sequence is composed of 17 movements, since some of the postures are repeated.
How To Practice Sun Salutation B
Surya Namaskara B can be practiced at any pace you’d like, depending on what your emphasis may be, as well as how you may feel at the time you choose to practice.
In the Asthanga Yoga Tradition, this 17-movement sequence is repeated 5 times.
In the Vinyasa tradition, the practice is performed at a one-breath-per-movement pace, and it is not mandatory nor does it have to be performed a certain amount of times.
Here is how to practice Sun Salutation B:
1. Come to the top of your mat, feet parallel to one another, with your arms by your sides, palms facing forward, in Tadasana. Give yourself a moment to arrive and center. Breathe.
2. Inhale, lift your arms up as you lower your hips back and down into Utkatasana, Chair pose, extend through the side body and keep your neck in like with your forearms.
3. Exhale, fold forward into Uttanasana.
4. Inhale, slide your hands up your sheens, create a long spine, into Ardha Uttanasana.
5. Exhale, step back to your high plank pose, draw your navel toward your spine, ground into hasta bandha and the strength of your entire body.
6. Inhale in your palakhasana.
7. Exhale to lower down through Chaturanga Dandasana, keep your elbows and your shoulders in line, squeezing toward the center.
8. Inhale, press up into your Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, opening up the front of your body.
9. Exhale, send your hips up and back toward your downward dog position.
10. Take 3 to 5 breaths in Adho Mukha Svanasana
11. Inhale as you soften your knees and gaze between your hands.
12. Exhale, step your right foot between your hands and pivot your left heel 45 degrees or so toward the ground.
13. Inhale, square your hips forward and lift your arms up by your ears, arriving into Virabadhrasana I.
14. Exhale, back to plank pose.
15. Inhale, in the position, steady.
16. Exhale lowering through Chaturanga.
17. Inhale for upward facing dog.
18. Exhale and lift your hips to downward facing dog.
19. Take 3 to 5 breaths here, notice how you feel.
20. Inhale gaze forward between your hands as you soften your knees.
21. Exhale, step your left foot forward, and ground through the right heel.
22. Inhale, rise up onto Warrior 1 on the other side.
23. Exhale back to plank.
24. Take your vinyasa flow, staying with the breath, and go back to Downward Facing Dog.
25. Inhale, bend your knees and look between your hands.
26. Exhale, step both feet to the top of your mat.
27. Inhale, lift your chest half way, to Ardha Uttanasana.
28. Exhale, into the forward fold position, and relax your head down.
29. Inhale, bend your knees deeply and lift your arms and torso, back to chair pose.
Practice it here.
4 Ways to Make Surya Namaskar B Accessible
For yoga teachers wanting to make their classes more inclusive, as well as for those yoga practitioners looking for a way to make this sequence more adaptable to their needs, here are a few suggestions on how to make Surya Namaskar B more accessible.
#1: Replace the chaturangas for knees-chest-chin position
Or even skip the transition altogether to be more gentle on the wrists and shoulders.
#2: Replace the Warrior 1 positions for low lunge pose
This makes the flow more similar to the Classical Sun Salutation, and with the purpose of bringing more stability for the practitioners.
#3: Substitute any or all Downward Facing Dog positions for table top pose
#4: Skipping the vinyasa flows (chaturanga + upward dog + downward facing dog), or substituting them for cat/cow position
This can be more supportive for those wanting to refrain from putting too much pressure on their shoulders.
Get creative and about other ways in which you can adapt the Sun Salutation B sequence for yourself or your students.
Surya Namaskar B, or Sun Salutation B is a sequence used in Asthanga and Vinyasa Yoga as well as other styles of yoga.
It was created in the 1930s by Krishnamacharya inspired by the veneration to the Sun depicted in several ancient yogic texts.
Sun Salutation B includes 9 different asanas performed in a particular order, and traditionally practiced at a one-breath per movement pace.
This sequence can be practiced on its own, only once, or several times as a complete practice to foster stamina, energy, and strength as well as many other benefits.
It is often included in the beginning of longer yoga sequences as a way to warm the entire body up efficiently and quickly.
The conventional way of practicing Surya Namaskar B can be less accessible for some practitioners, so we invite you to modify it to fit your needs.
If you’d like to learn about other aspects of the Ashtanga Yoga system, read this piece.