Sun Salutations history and examples

This is a page dedicated to the art of Vinyasa Yoga Sun Salutations. These variations were performed by Mark Giubarelli when he lived on Maui in 2010.

Surya Namaskara literally translates to sun salutations

Early publications record some ancient methods of sun salutation but are a lot different to the modern Sūrya Namaskāra practiced today. Even by the 1930's Surya Namaskara was not part of the yoga asana flows being practiced for it is relatively modern.


Sun Salutatuons (Namaskars) were first described around 1500 BCE in the Rig Veda, the oldest collection of sacred Hindu scriptures, , as a ritual prostration to the dawn, with mantras, offerings of flowers and rice, and libations of water. Surya Namaskara is not mentioned in the revered "The Yoga Sutras".

One of the earliest texts that mentioned the flow of Surya Namaskar is the Yoga Makaranda by Shri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. Yoga Makaranda was Krishnamacharya's first book on the topic of Yoga, published in 1934. This was one of the first books to present the practice of yoga poses in a sequential manner (Vinyasa-krama), a method unknown at that time to the general public.

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Basic Cobra Flow

A basic Sun Salutation flow with a smooth 3 part backbend flow.

Total Duration: 02:45


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Quadriceps Flow

This flow shows an interesting stretch of the quadriceps during the flow.

Total Duration: 01:47


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Quadriceps Flow 2

Shows a progression of the previous flow with Bow pose blended in.

Total Duration: 03:12


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Half Locust Flow

See versions of the locust pose blended in a Sun Salutation.

Total Duration: 02:00


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Bound Arm Flow

Sun Salutation with many standing poses, Crescent Moon and 2 Bound arm poses.

Total Duration: 02:45


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Bound Arm Flow 2

Variations of the bound angle flow. Standing poses are sequenced on the step back.

Total Duration: 02:16


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Arm Balance Flow

Shows how arm balance poses flow with many standing poses and hamstring stretches.

Total Duration: 02:57


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Arm Balance Flow 2

Another variation of the arm balance flow. Different standing poses on the way down.

Total Duration: 02:53


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Triangle Circles

Opens up the side of the body as well as the shoulders.

Total Duration: 04:09


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Headstand Circles

This Sun Salutation involves Headstand variations.

Total Duration: 01:46


Simple Scorpion Flow

Shows a variation of the Scorpion pose blended into a sun salutation.

Total Duration: 01:30


Humble Crescent Moon

This Sun Salutation has an interesting spinal twist with the step back.

Total Duration: 02:57


Pigeon to Tree

Creates flexibility in the hips and also strengthens them while moving smoothly through a salutation.

Total Duration: 02:50


Rising Hands Of Faith

This Sun Salutation is dedicated to the moments of deep faith in our life. Both seem to rise and fall throughout our lives.

Total Duration: 02:55


Twisted Half Moon

This Salute to the Sun involves 2 side stretches and 2 spinal twists. The first side stretch is Triangle pose.

Total Duration: 03:58


Flowing Warrior 1

Warrior 1 flow that strengthens the quadriceps with repetitions into and out of the pose.

Total Duration: 03:38


Cobra to Downward Dog

Shows a flow in and out of Cobra Pose and Downward Dog pose.

Total Duration: 01:49


Twisted Hip Pigeon Bow

This Salute to the Sun involves 2 spinal twists after the step forward.

Total Duration: 04:17


Heart and Hip Opening Pigeon

This Sun Salute has many repetitions involving the hamstring and hips.

Total Duration: 03:35


Warrior 2 Side Triangle

This Sun Salutation has a blended flow of leg toners and leg stretches.

Total Duration: 03:44


Open Leg Side
Shoulderstand Salute

A beautiful flow though hip openers, hamstring openers, backbends and shoulderstand variations.

Total Duration: 06:53


Half Lotus Headstand
to Scorpion

Shows a basic Sun Salutation flow with a smooth 3 part backbend flow.

Total Duration: 03:02


Standing Side Flow

All the standing postures in this flow are sideways. This makes transitioning easy and smooth.

Total Duration: 02:30


Half Lotus Tree Vinyasa

Half Lotus Tree flow involves entering Tree Pose and blends into many Half Lotus poses.

Total Duration: 00:38


Cobra Waves Flow

This Sun Salute enters Cobra 3 times in flowing wave like motions.

Total Duration: 02:47


Twisting Warrior

This Sun Salute weaves in and out of many of the Warrior 1 variations as well as into many spinal twists.

Total Duration: 03:10


7 Standing Pose Salute

This sequence flows after the step forward into Extended Side Angle, Warrior 1, Warrior 2, and many other standing poses.

Total Duration: 01:36


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Twisted Side Winder

Sequence has hand and arm movements flowing from Extended Side Angle into Reverse Triangle.

Total Duration: 02:32


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Scorpion Sun Salute

This is a Sun Salute flow that flows through a deep backbend called Scorpion pose. It is a Sun Salute that is done after the back is warmed up and fully opened.

Total Duration: 01:37


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Echoes Of Warrior 2

Warrior 2 pose is repeated many times in this sequence. Frequent entries into Warrior 2 really strengthen the quadriceps muscles.

Total Duration: 04:02


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Triangle to Warrior 1

This Sun Salutation shows a repetitive flow from Triangle pose to Warrior 1 pose. The flow then blends into a low lunge before stepping forward.

Total Duration: 03:33


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Pendulum Hip Flow

The leg takes many large motions one way then the other which is why it is named Pendulum Hip Flow.

Total Duration: 02:00


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Open Pigeon Twisted Standing Flow

This Sun Salutation really strengthens and stretches the hips. It moves in a very unusual way because there is no Cobra pose.

Total Duration: 03:03


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Pigeon Light

This Sun Salutation involves Pigeon pose and standing spinal twists to open the hips.

Total Duration: 02:30


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Falling Warrior

This sequence is called Falling Warrior because of the way the flow is brought to the knees.

Total Duration: 02:29


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Long Turn Sun Salute

Called the Long Turn Sun Salute because of the way it slowly progresses to the spinal twist Reverse Triangle.

Total Duration: 02:57


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Side and Front Flow

This Sun Salutation flows up and down in side poses such as Extended Side Angle and Warrior 2.

Total Duration: 02:44


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Koundinyasana Flow

An interesting arm balance called Koundinyasana is weaved into an interesting step forward.

Total Duration: 01:11


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Flying Warrior 3

The version of Warrior 3 has the arms out stretched out causing a feeling of flying.

Total Duration: 02:14


Bound Arm Flow

Shows 3 standing poses blended together with the arms bound together.Total Duration: 02:16


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Free Hand Straight Leg

This Sun Salutation shows a repetitive flow from a lunge pose to a straight leg pose.

Total Duration: 03:40


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Splintered Twists

This Sun Salutation has many spinal twists breaking or splintering from it.
Total Duration: 02:31


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Triangle Reflection

Involves a transition into Triangle pose at the beginning and end of the standing flow.
Total Duration: 03:28


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Reverse Triangle Crescent Moon Dip

This flow shows a nice entrance into Crescent Moon pose a deep lunge.
Total Duration: 03:46


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Extended Side Angle Rotations

Shows a smooth flow from Extended Side Angle to Warrior 2 variation.
Total Duration: 04:36


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Simple Triangle to Crescent Moon 

A nice simple flow in and out of Triangle Pose with Crescent moon blended between.
Total Duration: 01:12


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Side Flow to High Lunge 

This is a lateral flow that moves into a high lunge pose.
Total Duration: 04:54


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Crescent Moon Bows

This flow shows hamstring stretches blended with Crescent Moon Pose
Total Duration: 03:42


Lateral to forward Bend Flow

In and out of a lateral side flow into a forward bend flow.
Total Duration: 04:35


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Lateral to forward bend Flow II 

Show variations of a the previous lateral to forward bend flow.
Total Duration: 03:42


Triangle Salutation 

This Triangle Flow shows a Sun Salutation variation with Triangle pose blended in.
Total Duration: 02:41


The Leaning Warrior 1

This has warrior 3 prep pose (Warrior 1 leaning forward)
Total Duration: 02:58


Warrior 1 Salutation

Shows a Sun Salutation with Warrior 1 pose blended in.
Total Duration: 02:35


Warrior 2 Salutation

A simple Warrior 2 pose blended into a Sun Salutation with some forward bends.
Total Duration: 03:00


Extended Side Angle Salutation

Shows a Sun Salutation with extended Side angle blended in.
Total Duration: 02:24


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Reverse Hop To Moon

A quick transition from Reverse Triangle to Half Moon.
Total Duration: 03:39


4 Pose Triangle Flow

Many of the traditional standing poses blended together.
Total Duration: 03:30


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Headstand Salutation

A simple headstand Sun Salutation flowing into and out of headstand.
Total Duration: 01:11


Reverse Triangle 3 Pose Blend

One of the favorite flows this flow blends well after warming up.
Total Duration: 01:19


Reverse Triangle 3 Pose Blend II

Shows how the previous sequence can have other poses blended in.
Total Duration: 01:31


Pigeon Winged Bow

A very artistic blend of Pigeon Pose shown with the arms open wide apart.
Total Duration: 03:48


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Feathered Peacock to Camel

Shows an advanced flow with Feathered Peacock variation.
Total Duration: 02:38


Binded Hands

Many variations of poses shown with the hands bound.

Total Duration: 04:19


Old Extended Side Angle

A variation of Extended Side Angle once performed by Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.
Total Duration: 02:43


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Headstand Flow

Shows ways to move the legs while in the headstand.
Total Duration: 01:24


Triangle Warrior 2

Moves through both of these lateral poses in a Sun Salutation.
Total Duration: 02:35


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Side Triangle

A version of Triangle where the side is stretched blended with many other poses.
Total Duration: 03:09


Lateral To Warrior 1

Shows a lateral standing blend flow into Warrior 1.
Total Duration: 03:19


Wave Flow

Shows wave like motions while stretching the hamstrings.
Total Duration: 04:38


Blended Back

Shows artistic ways to blend Janu Sirsasana variations into a salutation.
Total Duration: 02:45


Side Angle to Warrior 1

Simple Extended Side Angle to Warrior 1 with Reverse Triangle blended between.
Total Duration: 01:47


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Crooked 8 limb Sage

Shows a flow with many very old traditional poses not often performed.
Total Duration: 03:12


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Lateral Waves

Lateral standing poses are blended in and out in wave like motions.
Total Duration: 02:54


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Pigeon Rising

Shows a flow that both strengthens and creates flexibility in the hips.
Total Duration: 02:00


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Simple Classic B

Classic B
Total Duration: 00:47