Surya Namaskar C, or Sun Salutation C, is one of the several set sequences popularized by ashtanga yoga, power yoga, and vinyasa yoga styles.
Although a bit less popular than Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B, this strengthening, stretching, and energizing sequence can be a great addition to your asana practice.
If you’d like to learn more about this yoga sequence, read on to find out:
- Meaning and Origins of Sun Salutation C
- Physical and Physiological Benefits of Sun Salutation C
- Other Benefits of Sun Salutation C
- Poses Included in the Sun Salutation C Sequence
- How to Practice Sun Salutation C
- 3 Ways to Make Surya Namaskar C Accessible
Meaning and Origins of Sun Salutation C
Sūryanamaskāra translates directly from Sanskrit as Surya: sun and Namaskar: salutation, and in this case the C has been utilized to differentiate this sequence from other Surya Namaskar sequences.
The Vedas, written between the 10th and 12th centuries BCE, have spells, conjurations, and chants directed to the adoration of the Sun and the fire as a source of health and prosperity.
These texts depict rituals of salutation to the Sun that may have served as a source of inspiration for the practice of the Sun Salutation sequences that we use today.
Physical and Physiological Benefits of Sun Salutation C
Surya, the Sun, relates to the element of fire (agni) and to the masculine energy that all beings have within, contrasting the so-called feminine energy, or Chandra, the Moon.
According to yogic philosophy and tradition, the Sun energy is hot, strong, resilient, powerful, authoritative, and bright.
Sun Salutations embody these same qualities of heat, strength and resilience building, etc.
The intentionality behind the practice of Surya Namaskar C is to harness these energies within the practice and ourselves.
Sun Salutation 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 C
Sun Salutation C can be used as a stand-alone practice and repeated a couple of times, or perhaps more (learn about 108 Sun Salutations here).
It can also be used as a warm-up for a longer practice, especially since it targets all the major muscle groups of the body as well as create space for the practitioner to start to harmonize their breath with their movement and energy.
Sun Salutation C can also help you:
1. Harmonize body and mind
2. Reduce stress and anxiety levels
3. Find a meditative state while moving
Sun Salutation C, with the introduction of lunges, is often practiced as a strengthening and front-body opening practice, with the intent to warm up quicker.
Poses Included in the Sun Salutation C Sequence
Surya Namaskar C is a set sequence that is performed at a one-breath per movement pace and it entails 9 different yoga postures.
Consider familiarizing yourself with some of them before attempting to practice the entire sequence.
Before starting any type of physical exercise, speak with your primary physician if you have any concerns.
Here are the asanas included in Sun Salutation C:
1# Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
2# Ardha Hastasana (Upward Salute Pose)
3# Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
4# Ardha Uttanasana (Half standing forward fold)
5# Anjaneyasana (low lunge pose)
6# Phalakasana (plank pose)
7# Ashtanga Namaskara (knees-chest-chin pose)
8# Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
9# Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog pose)
How to Practice Sun Salutation C
When performing Surya Namaskar C, you will be performing 12 yoga postures in total, since some of the asanas are repeated.
Surya Namaskara A 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.
The practice is performed at a one-breath-per-movement pace in the Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition.
Here is how to practice it:
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 into Ardha Hastasana, and extend through the side body.
3# Exhale, fold forward into Uttanasana.
4# Inhale, create a long spine, into Ardha Uttanasana, and plant your hands firmly onto the ground.
5# Exhale, step your right foot back, and lower your knee down, for Anjaneyasana.
6# Inhale and lift your arms up overhead.
7# Exhale, step back to your high plank pose, draw your navel toward your spine, and ground into hasta bandha and the strength of your entire body.
8# Inhale in your phalakasana.
9# Exhale to lower down through the knees-chest-chin position.
10# Inhale, press up into your cobra pose, opening up the front of your body.
11# Exhale and send your hips up and back toward your downward dog position.
12# Take 3 to 5 breaths in Adho Mukha Svanasana.
13# Inhale as you soften your knees and gaze between your hands.
14# Exhale to step your right foot between your hands and lower your left knee to the ground.
15# Inhale, lift your arms up, biceps by your ears.
16# Exhale, lower your hands to the floor, and frame your right foot.
17# Inhale and lift your left knee up, gaze forward between your hands.
18# Exhale as you step your left foot forward to the top of the mat, bringing your feet parallel to one another, hips-distance apart.
19# Inhale lift to Ardha Uttanasana.
20# Exhale to fold into Uttanasana.
21# Inhale, lift your arms out and up and lift your entire body into Urdhva Hastasana.
22. Exhale as you bring your hands together in Anjali Mudra in front of your heart.
That completes one round of Sun Salutation C.
Feel free to repeat the sequence as many times as you’d like, alternating the starting foot.
Here is a free tutorial on how to practice this series from the Ashtanga yoga tradition:
3 Ways to Make Surya Namaskar C Accessible
Making the practice more accessible to a wider range of people is paramount in order to create inclusive spaces.
Surya Namaskar C performed as it was created originally can bring about a challenge for those in non-normative bodies, with disabilities, injuries, chronic illness, and elder folks.
There are ways in which this sequence can be accessed and adapted in order to make the practice fit the person instead of the one-size-fits-all approach.
Here are some ways to make the sun salutation C sequence more accessible:
1# Utilizing props
The use of blocks, blankets, bolsters, and straps can enhance the practice for both beginner asana practitioners and frequent ones by enhancing the experience and bringing support wherever it may be needed.
Here are two ways to use props to access the sequence differently.
- Use yoga blocks under the hands for the lunges, in order to provide more support for the practitioner, especially if they feel wobbly.
- For those with sensitive knees, utilizing a blanket underneath the back knee when in Anjaneyasana can be a game-changer, reducing pain and discomfort and making more space to breathe in the posture.
2# Modifying the vinyasa transition
Instead of taking the so-called vinyasa flow transition (phalakasana + ashtanga namaskara + bhujangasana + adho mukha svanasana) which can be quite demanding on the entire body, we invite you to consider:
- Skipping the transition all together and going straight to downward dog from your plank pose.
- Lowering the knees to the table top and taking a few cycles of breath in cat/cow pose instead before going back to downward dog.
3# Using a chair and blocks
An interesting way to practice this sequence is seated in a chair, if you have two chairs, bring them along!
The chair must be sturdy and stable, and if it has wheels, lock them so that the chair cannot move away.
Here is how you could modify the different postures for someone who chose to practice this sequence seated:
- Tadasana seated on a chair
- Ardha Hastasana seated on a chair
- Forward fold seated on a chair, hands to blocks or the floor
- Ardha uttanasana seated on a chair, hands on the blocks or knees
- Seated cat/cows to replace the vinyasa flow
- Practice the lunges from the chair, if lower body mobility is available.
- Practice downward dog seated on a chair, and using another chair in front to extend the arms and create the V position.
Sun Salutation C 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.
It is often included at the beginning of longer yoga sequences as a way to warm the entire body up efficiently and quickly.
To learn more about another popular Sun Salutation sequence and how to practice it, check out this article.