Finding A Match Yoga Pose

Each pose flows into the next without transition. Sometimes the end of one pose matches immediately with the beginning of the subsequent one. Other times a component must be added or removed so that they match perfectly. In the first illustration above, Pranamasana, or Mountain Pose, is the beginning and ending component of the second illustration, Hastauttanasana, or Raised-Arm Pose.

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Salutation Posture is also the beginning component of the third illustration, Padahastasana, or Forward-Folding Posture. Having Raised-Arm Posture match both the ending component of one asana and the beginning component of the next creates a seamless transition, and makes breathing through the vinyasa a simple matter of understanding the breath of the next asana in the sequence. So, actually, the match looks like this transitioning from Salutation Pose to Raised-Arm Pose to Hand-to-Foot Pose (illustrated right): Sometimes we remove a component in order to transition seamlessly.

For instance, the third pose in the Sun Salutation sequence is Padahastasana, or Forward-Folding Posture. Practiced just on its own, the beginning and ending components are the same, as we usually depart from a pose in the same way we enter it.

So, if we were practicing Forward-Folding Posture on its own, we would begin with Pranamasana, or Mountain Pose, then move into the Forward Fold to work on the balance of strength and surrender, to apply effort, and to persist. However, in the case of this Sun Salutation we do not depart from the Forward Fold back to Mountain.

Instead, we remove that final Mountain Pose component and move right into the beginning component of the next asana, Ashwa Sanchalanasana, or Lunge Pose. By removing the ending component of Forward-Fold Pose, we have seamlessly transitioned into Lunge Pose by squatting and stepping forward with one leg. As a result, this sequence would appear like this: Sometimes we have to add a component to get to the next pose.

In the case of the fifth illustration in the Sun Salutation, Par vat as ana, or Downward-Facing Dog Pose, we are intending to move to Bhujangasana, or Upward-Facing Dog Posture. To get there we add the component of moving down like a caterpillar, or Ashtanga Namaskara. As a result, we move from the middle component of Downward-Facing Dog directly into the middle component of Upward-Facing Dog.

The example is a little more elegant in that the ending component of Downward-Facing Dog and the beginning component of Upward-Facing Dog have both been removed, as we insert the new component of the Caterpillar. As a result, it looks precisely as depicted in the Sun Salutation sequence above.

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