Surya Namaskara A & Modifications

Onwards to more sun salutations!  The first vinyasa (flow) in the Ashtanga tradition is Surya Namaskara A.  Although this is the first piece of the Ashtanga practice, it is challenging!  It requires strength and flexibility to execute the flow from chatturanga to up-dog, as well as coordination to execute the jumps between postures.  It's a great way to generate energy and heat in the body. 

The full version of A isn't appropriate for every body.  If you're stiff, injured, or still building strength, you might find them overly difficult or burn yourself out before you get into other asanas.  For this reason, I often use a modified version of SNA, that incorporates lunges in place of the jumps, and bhujangasana, a less intense backbend.  From here, you can always move onto the Ashtanga version when you're fully warmed up.

SURYA NAMASKARA A (modified)

INHALE standing in TADASANA (Mountain Pose)
EXHALE to soften and release hand along sides
INHALE to URDVA HASTASANA (Upward Hands)
EXHALE to UTTANASANA (Standing forward fold)
INHALE to High Lunge
EXHALE to ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Downward Facing Dog)
INHALE to Plank (High Pushup)
EXHALE through CHATURANGA DANDASANA to floor
INHALE to BHUJANGASANA (Cobra)
EXHALE to ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Downward Facing Dog)
INHALE to  High Lunge
EXHALE to UTTANASANA (Standing forward fold)
INHALE to Urdvha Hastasana (Upward Hands)
EXHALE to Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

SURYA NAMASKARA A (Astanga)

STAND in TADASANA (Mountain Pose)
INHALE to URDVA HASTASANA (Upward Hands)
EXHALE to UTTANASANA (Standing forward fold)
EXHALE to CHATURANGA DANDASANA
INHALE to URDHVA MUKHA SVANASANA (Upward Facing Dog)
EXHALE to ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Downward Facing Dog)
HOLD FOR FIVE BREATHS
INHALE jump forward and look up
EXHALE to UTTANASANA
IINHALE to Urdvha Hastasana (Upward Hands)
EXHALE to Tadasana (Mountain Pose)