SURYA NAMASKAR TRANSITION – MODIFIED
In grade 5 I had a teacher who could be easily distracted into a ½ hour discussion off topic as long as we asked him about space or rocket ships. Modifications are my rocket ships. Each week when I teach my classes I am asked questions about modifications that can be used and practiced. “Sheryl, in my other class my teacher is asking us to do (insert pose name here), but I just can’t get into it the way they’ve described it. Do you have any suggestions.” I usually do! Having practiced in my body as it is for so long, I have learned to modify.
The most asked question? How do I step my feet to my hands from Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog)? The following are a few different ways to practice this.
*One caveat, with practice this transition gets easier and easier, so challenge yourself, don’t limit yourself to only the easiest modified version although it is a great place to start and to be.
1. The first and simplest way to make this transition is to drop the knees completely to the ground. From all fours (table top) take the gaze to the hands, step the right foot forward, lift the back knee and step the left foot forward. This is also an excellent practice for those who are not comfortable moving from the floor to standing.
2. The second modification is a little more challenging, but is a great way to start to practice the transition. Step the foot as far forward as you can, step the other foot forward, then take smaller steps to get the feet all the way to the hands. (I like to practice this at home, sometime pausing and allowing for opening through the hamstrings as I move forward).
3. If transitioning into Warrior pose, step the foot as far forward as you can, than rise. If you need to broaden your stance do so now.
4. Building on the previous option, step the foot as far forward as you can, then reach back with the same hand (right foot, right hand), take a hold of the foot and draw it forward.
5. The final modification is to use momentum. As you exhale, bend the knees and shoot the hips back, look at the hands and draw the foot to where you want that foot to go. To begin this may be just behind the right hand if you are moving the right foot.
One of the keys for someone who may have a larger body, or breast or belly, is to think about where you need that foot to move to. You may want to think about drawing the foot not to the midpoint, but rather to the outside edge of your hand creating space for the foot to move through.
As you practice you may move into this transition more easily, but be patient and practice, practice, practice!