Yoga Sun Salutation


Yoga Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) IIlustrated Step by Step

Sun Salutation (Salute to the Sun) or more popularly known as Surya Namaskar (Surya is the Sanskrit word for the sun and  Namaskara derives from namas: “to bow, obeisance, reverential salutation) is a set/sequence of asanas/postures often practiced in a morning yoga session to aerobically generate heat and warmth in the body, which is helpful as one gradually moves into deeper postures.

Sun Salutation is performed in the morning empty stomach in a graceful flow and linked by breath-a method called vinyasa that massages, detoxifies, and stimulates almost every organ of the human body. It can be practised on varying levels of awareness, ranging from that of physical exercise in various styles, to a complete sadhana which incorporates asana, pranayama, mantra and chakra meditation and it is best done early morning on an empty stomach.

Each Sun Salutation round consists of two sets. These 12 yoga poses complete one set of Surya Namaskar.To complete the second half, you need to repeat the same sequence of postures, only moving the left leg instead of the right.

You might find many different variations of the Sun Salutation. However, it is best to stick to one particular sequence and practice it regularly for best results.

Sun Salutation is important for two reasons. One, it can be a great workout for the whole body – stretching, flexing and toning the muscles, an excellent exercise for weight loss. It also offers numerous health benefits beyond the physical level, relaxing the mind, leading it to meditation. Two, Sun Salutation gives us an opportunity to express gratitude to the sun, without which life on earth would be impossible!

Benefits: It’s a perfect asana sequence; it’s a great way to start your daygenerate heat to cleanse your body and mind.


Sun Salutation Mountain Pose

Stand in Mountain pose with the hands in prayer position, feet and legs together, heals are rooted, firm your legs.

The palms are gently pressed together with the shoulders back and down.

The chest presses in towards the thumbs


Sun Salutation Backbend Pose

Inhale through the nose and raise the arms up above the head with your hands in prayer position. Look up at the thumbs.

Gently Bend back.

Lift out of the waist, reaching up towards the sky.



Sun Salutation Standing Forward Fold

Exhale into Standing Forward Fold.

Press the palms onto the floor; if necessary, bend the knees slightly.

If you have the flexibility, bring the fingertips under your shoulder in line with the toes.


Sun Salutation High Lunge Pose
Inhale through the nose
and step the right foot back into High Lounge.

Shoulders are back and down, the chest presses forward, crown lifts up.  Keep the front knee directly over the ankle and keep the back leg firm and straight or knee bent.


Sun Salutation PlankPoseInhale and step the left foot back into Plank.

The shoulders are aligned forward directly over your wrists. The body is in one straight lane in a push-up position.

Press the heels back, and reach the crown of the head forward.

Sun Salutation Snail PoseExhale down into Caterpillar/Snail.

Bend the knees to the floor and then lower your chest and chin to the floor. Keep your chest open and your elbows close to the side of your rib cage. Reach the hips up towards the sky, arching the back

Sun Salutation Cobra PoseInhale and raise your upper body into Cobra pose.

Roll the shoulders back and extend the shoulder blades down and press them in towards the chest. Your chest should be lifted and open and elbows should stay close to the body.

Your legs and feet should be well extended. As a variation, you can also do an upward dog.

Sun Salutation Downward Facing Dog PoseExhale into Downward Facing Dog.Tuck the toes under, bend the elbows, and lift the hips up and back.

Press firmly into the hands, spread the fingers and press the palms into the mat, they should be shoulder width apart.

Now, lift your hips up towards the sky, lengthening your spine. Gently straighten your legs, pressing your heels down into your mat as far as you can go.

Sun Salutation High Lunge PoseInhale and step right forward into High Lunge.

Step the left foot forward between the two hands. Adjust the legs so that the knee is directly over the ankle and the toes and knee are pointing forward.

Keep the back leg straight or bent as you sink the hips down. The chest and gaze are forward.


Sun Salutation Standing Forward Fold

Exhale into Standing Forward Fold.

Press the palms flat to the floor or hold on the fingertips.

If you have the flexibility, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.


Sun Salutation Backbend Pose

Inhale and sweep the arms up with palms together.

Gently arch the lower back

Look up to the sky



Sun Salutation Mountain Pose

Exhale and bring the palms together in Mountain Pose.

Place the feet together or 2-3 inches apart, parallel and facing forward.

The crown of the head lifts up, the chin is parallel to the floor


Standing Heating Breath Bhastrika Pranayama


Standing Heating Breath (Bhastrika Pranayama) 

Bhastrika Pranayama is an empowering chest/thoracic type of breathing technique that has a very important place in hatha yoga. The Standing Heating Breath benefits are numerous, they range from physiological to postural, mental, psychological and emotional. This type of pranayama has been adopted by Bikram as part of the initial warm up sequence and as a mean to energize/detoxify the body in preparation of yoga practice consequently is now associate with hot yoga, however, this technique of forcefully and quick breathe in from nose and breathe out from mouth exists for centuries.

Blower in Sanskrit is called Bhastrika. Hence exhalation of breath forcibly and quickly is the main feature of Bhastrika Pranayama. One should inhale & exhale breath like a blower. It is in a way a combination of Kapalbhati & Ujjayi. Among all the Kumbhakaras, this Pranayama is considered the best.

Contraindications and Cautions: The Standing Heating Breath should not be performed in case of pregnancy, heart disease and high blood pressure. These are the best way to properly prepare for esoteric forms of yoga breathing exercises.

Bikram Bhastrika PranayamaBikram Bhastrika PranayamaBikram Bhastrika PranayamaBikram Bhastrika PranayamaBikram Bhastrika Pranayama


Maintaining fluidity in the flow of life.

by Odaka Yoga Francesca Cassia & Roberto MIlletti

Yoga and osteopathy derive from a homeopathic vision of the human being: both are seeking fluidity. A fluid body, drained, with ” working lympathic system brings upon wellness and a prefect synchronicity of mind and body.

To move with awareness and presence allows for the fluidity of the organism that is always moving and changing, increasing our vital energy (prana) that is essential to our physical and meant a wellbeing. Every human being is created to maintain a natural state of balance (health), but this notion is usually difficult to apply due to various factors tied to our lifestyle, physical trauma and our emotions.


The osteop”thic techniques of manipulation, which are integrated in a yoga practice, with conscious movements of the body that are founded on breathing, create harmony and allow for our system to remove blocks from emotional or physical tension, in order to be able to easily reach homeostasis and the eventual pre-existing dysfunction leaves space for a “physiologic” l self-healing.” The potential self-healing may be reawakened from specific actions that act upon our muscular, internal, cranial, hormonal and emotional system.

The tissue system (complex system of tissue connection) and the bodyʼs meridian system (chAnnels of energetic connection coincide with A yogic and osteopathic practice, which favor the attainment and the maintenance of a global state of balance and physical and mental vitality.


In OdAka” Yoga, by using a certain rhythm and inflection in the sequence, there comes forth a certain peculiar flow of internal energy (prana); it is possible to experiment and point out the theoretical principles and the existing connections between the two philosophies through the following:

___ the shaking of the tailbone

this reawakens the prana and allows the kundalini energy to spread throughout the body while ascending to the cranium as explained by William Garner Sutherland;

___ the movement of the waves

that deeply connects the cranial area and the tailbone area, combined with listening to the natural breath, goes to determine the right fluidity in terms of

energy, fluctuation mechanisms that in osteopathy is defined as “tide”, meaning the back and forth fluid motion;

____ liquify your limits

flowing like water in its multiple forms, allows for the understanding of how to be in the “flow.” A state in which one becomes aligned with his/her most genuine self, our intentions and the environment that surrounds us. In doing so it is possible to experience a sense of freedom that transforms every obstacle and limitation to discover new “forms” within ourselves.


William Garner Sutherland defines “the Breath of Life” the Mechanism of Primordial Breathing with microfluctuations of the cranium that spreads throughout the body through the cerebrospinal fluid, through the membranes that envelop the brain and the bone marrow of the spine or rather the crani”l system.

“A true and sincere act that belongs to me is one that, when finished, makes me happy. I see myself, I feel comfortable regardless of my insecurities.”

In osteopathy, fluidity is understood as elimination of the cornerstone derived from tension in order to reactivate the normal physiologic”l state of the various apparatus.

______ spiral concept:

the concept of a spiral is the idea of a  never-ending movement; an open and unlimited movement. The spiral is energy and produces energy; in breathing, energy and movement move in unison in a type of vortex following the same form in nature and that of the human body. The spiral in osteopathy has beginnings in the axial strip that encircles the dura mater that then extends into the other strips that unifies the muscles, joints and gut.

________ the Ultimate Warrior movements:

the combination of personal defence techniques, functional movements and yoga poses allow the body to move slowly and smoothly during the transition from one position to the next involving, simultaneously, the entire kinetic chain of movement. The poses are done safely and the practice also has an effect on an emotional level.

In osteopathy, the connection between the body and emotions happens through the dural tube that is itself activated by the PNEI System (Psycho Neuro Endocrine Immune).

“Do not resist; do not create suffering. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forw:rd; in some way this is what it likes.”

L:o Tzu

The balance of the PNEI System guarantees psycho-physic”l wellbeing, understood as our minds, our neurological system, endocrine system and immune system all working well.

Two Precious Tools

It is important to have energy move freely and consciously. To know how to distribute oneʼs emotional flow inside and outside oneself. Flexibility and flowing allow individuals to build relationships that are soft and elastic in order to become better at growth and transformation. Transform and let go…. Maintain the flow in the ebb and flow of life. One must keep the mind in a continuous state of fluidity, slightly meditative, characterised by calm movements, slow and centered and by a general sense of joy and satisfaction when confronted with life, the present moment, since the mind can become fixated on something means that the flow has been interrupted and there is no free behaviour.


This involves  new format, a fascinating project that allows for a journey mainly of experience and geared toward the understanding of Yoga and Osteopathic techniques. The intention is to bring back the old tradition of communication and expression of body language where the body is lived as a result of an evolving process in flux: live the moment with trust in the bodyʼs intelligence and the listening to oneself (and of the other). This generates empathy and frees all creative resources. The sharing and the transmission of knowledge accompanies people to enter into a space of listening openly and to reconnect with the bodyʼs needs. To express and affirm oneʼs originality, one must start with unique movements because they have origins in experience and individual awareness.

“Flow with whatever is happening and free your mind. Be centered accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”

Chuang Tzu

Experience :as a Base
Practical experiences stimulate our bodiesʼ emotions during movement making us aware of our internal and external world.

The temporal dimension that has been slowed down allows one to find a functional and organic movement that respects the bodily structure and the intimate relationship with the earth, space, others, allowing to revive our motor

skills, which is a part of human evolution.

This technique allows for a lesson in listening to messages from the body, “a place of resources and potential, experimenting with the birth of movement beginning with basic elements of openness to bring oneself into the space. The psychomotor benefit are many and very well valued. But, the heart of the method beats around the body. Mannerisms are listened to, “along with posture and immobility in order to stimulate the forgotten parts, starting with movement, can create a positive change in psychophysical wellbeing.

While practicing one can experiment with the fact that change is at hand: the body is key to this journey and the road to a life full of marvellous encounters. The proposal is simple for everyone and the experience happens exclusively through action not words because the body does not know how to lie. The finding is geared towards the discovery of honest movement and so extremely unique. During the course of an encounter, music and movement serve as a guide to support the union of Yoga and Osteop”thy. A synergetic union, when intermixed, that mutually enriches.

“If you are compassionate with your body, this will repay you with moments of happiness.”

by Francesca Cassia And Roberto MIlletti

Let’s repeat as our mantra: “Happiness is a state of the soul. A state of innate joy in living the present moment.”

Happiness is not an uninterrupted sequence of pleasures. Happiness cannot depend on external factors that consume it and make it vulnerable. Happiness does not become agitated, does not adapt to tricks nor does it logically make sense or does it need cooling off. Happiness is a mental state that enables one to handle joyful and painful emotional states in the same way. Just like the ocean floor, which remains still even when there are ripples at the surface.

“Happiness is not in acquiring and enjoying [what we purchased], but in the not desiring anything, which is the only way to feel free.” – Epictetus

In primordial yoga there existed developmental spiritual practices that would train the body and mind to observe oneself to become more aware of one’s nature. The original purpose of yoga was to cultivate discernment, understanding and one’s superior conscience. Within the course of time, there was a split between those who searched for physical development and those who searched for spiritual development. The lack of consciousness and attention for an internal experience, gradually disconnected the student from his/her body. Instead, the intrinsic meaning of yoga remains to expand one’s level of consciousness.

Happiness is a quality of the soul – as Patanjali teaches – the more we are “connected” to ourselves, therefore, to our soul (or Superior Self), the more we are happy. Yoga has had the high regard of imposing on the Western world a modern tool capable of reducing stress, improving well-being and increasing flexibility. [Yoga] in its expansion has highlighted the great work it does on a muscular level and, at times, forgetting the importance of its main objective: one’s consciousness that differentiates and elevates it with respect towards other sports. Narcissism, that is often seen in many sports, is the result of excessive embellishment that focuses on the actual pose and alignment. However, this places a conceptual distance from the true practice of yoga. Improving one’s flexibility is something that one gains over time. But, this is not the aim. This is an example that certain sports are transfixed on asanas that they forget the entire meaning of yoga.

Gurdjeff always said that only one thing is necessary: do not identify with what comes and what goes. “The morning comes, then the afternoon, then the evening. Night comes and then again the morning. But, you remain. If you identify yourself, you become the mind; if you identify yourself, you become your body; if you identify yourself, you become your name and your form; and the owner of the house is lost.”

The essence of an Odaka Yoga practice coincides with this thought; yoga is a means to an end and not the end. Extraordinary power is enclosed in the present moment; one needs to transform “doing yoga” into “being yoga.” Only in this way, can yoga become an instrument that sharpens the mind and allows one to see reality clearly. On the mat we must answer the question: “what defines the present moment?” By grounding our consciousness directly into action, completely in the present, at every point of existence, we can prepare ourselves until no problem and no suffering can settle within us. If through yoga we are able to find our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social balance, then body, mind, heart and spirit will establish a complete, profound and lavish happiness on every level. Obstacles, challenges and difficulties do not appear as negative events, but simply as experiences for our growth and evolution.

It is not easy being in the present moment. It is easier to set objectives and direct ourselves towards the future of our dreams….but this behaviour can create the mind to be trapped in the future.

The yoga mat is a microcosm. Every action and intention “affects” our nervous system and is copied in daily life. When we practice we must pay attention to the messages our bodies send and focus on its physical and emotional intelligence. Presence in yoga is centered in the reality of our bodies because our bodies do not “lie.” If one notes physical stress, the mind might deny it. But, not the body. Yoga uses the simple transparency of our bodies as a means to guide our minds to the here and now. If we tune our minds towards completely listening to the totality of every single instant, we can give ourselves magnificent feelings of happiness. A happiness that insists on our journey of discovery.

The mind considerably influences our wellbeing; even science is gradually recognizing the importance of mental behaviour and how it is tightly bound to our health. Our mind is an extraordinary instrument. We need only to learn how to use it wisely. Even though an asana is important, we must understand that it is only an instrument not the goal. We have to count on a peaceful mind, an open heart and kind and compassionate behaviour – not on perfect alignment! Where our thoughts go, our energy follows! Let’s not forget that.

“If you are compassionate with your body, this will repay you with moments of happiness.”

Teaching Yoga

In composing the Teacher Training program, I came across a series of personal reflections … “Who is the Yoga teacher?”, “What does it mean to teach Yoga?”

Fundamental questions for those who decide to start a training course, which often go into the background, focused on finding a suitable course for hours .. for the subjects studied .. for costs.

But they are also fundamental questions for those who already teach, reflections that sometimes do well to face ..   And then I rediscover and remind myself that teaching Yoga does not consist in simple information that the teacher transmits and disseminates, keeping them detached from oneself and leaving them at the end of the day in a Yoga Shala.

What one theaches should be one’s own state of being, a way of life that is necessarily part of the teacher himself. In learning Yoga, the teacher can accompany and support the student only to where he has come himself, he can point a light only to those places in which he was willing to cross. It can empathize with the student’s research and with the problems that may emerge in the course of this research, just because he personally embarked on the same journey.

Here then teach Yoga is continuous research, a continuous discovery of themselves, those sides that every time we find new, fragments of us that from time to time, experience after experience, we bring to light to find that balance so difficult to reach .

And then I remind myself that the foundations of the Yoga tradition are closely linked to the conduct of a life in which our actions are congruent and consistent with our values ​​and with what we transmit to others.   If we present ourselves as

“Yoga Teachers”, which is science and the art of living, then we must put ourselves into practice that way of life. If, on the contrary, we only want to teach positions and postures, then it is better to give to what we do a name different from Yoga.

A long journey … towards the Heart of Yoga ..

Article by Amrita Ceravolo Yoga Alliance (Italia/International) Master Yoga Teacher, Vice president of “Sathya Yoga – International School of Yoga Studies”, in Milano (Italy) affiliated with Paramanand Institute (India). Honorary Director of “Paramanand Institute of Yoga Sciencese & Research” (India), Honorary Director of “International Association of Indian Yoga” to find more about Amrita’s events and Yoga Teacher Training Courses visit her website

Amrita Ceravolo Master Yoga Teacher

Amrita Ceravolo Utthita Astha Padangusthasana



Amrita Ceravolo Ustrasana Variation