I wanted to share the how and why for this sequence... I hope it inspires and contributes to your own process!
As I said on Instagram, suryanamaskara A is so ubiquitous. I have loved practicing it in my years but I also found teaching it leaves me feeling unsatisfied and not up to my own standards. So often as I look around a class, I see people approaching self-aggression, checking out, and either not paying attention or not knowing exactly where to place their attention. In many ways, the sequence allows for one to move into a flow state of sorts, but it also has some problem areas; the most prominent being the jump back to chaturanga and the step or jump forward. I readily admit I love both of those transitions, but so often in my own practice they have been like a little point of added inner competition that didn't feel necessary anymore. I have wanted to change the script and have been working on several namaskars that do just that.
So one of those I came up with is Reverse Namaskar.
This sequence moves backwards and then forward - walking on the HANDS! A very different load and movement for the body than what we do so. much. of. our. lives... and also in yoga. Obviously there are limitations to this sequence as with any, but I find it a really fun and challenging alternative that leaves a lot of room to alter for special needs.
1. Downdog. -- still I think an excellent pose for so many reasons. Namely, dropping the head and getting into the body, inverting, and placing weight into the hands and shoulders. As a teacher you can see so much just by observing your students' downdogs.
2. Uttanasana. -- bend the knees a lot. It's the first forward fold in class for most classes I teach. Use your legs, not your back! Bend and let your upper body and head hang. Allow your spine to flow downward like a waterfall over your legs. Move your pose. Side to side, heel to toe. Keep your head out of it, physically and metaphorically.
3. Squat. -- we need this pose as modern humans. Our hips and pelvic floor and legs and feet and spine need it! I realize some people cannot get their heels to the floor. Add a blanket. If you have knee issues, sit on a block. There are lots of fun variations and modifications that challenge the hips and legs. Namely, lift off the bottom of your squat so you are not sitting in it. Then do some work with your upper body and arms. Enjoy. Take your time rising up to stand from squat. Enjoy. :-)
4. Tadasana. -- Phew!
5. Shoulder work. -- the world is your oyster. Maintain the integrity of your front ribs and broaden your kidneys and back of your diaphragm while you play with any number of shoulder exercises standing.
6. Squat! -- take your time making your way back down. Pause half way down and move your weight into your heels. Savor.
7. Uttanasana. -- lots of great variations for hands, wrists and shoulders here as well.
8. Downdog. -- walk out on your hands. Relish in not walking on your feet.
9. Plank to sideplank/vasisthasana. -- plenty of interesting and challenging variations and modifications.
10. Plank on knees. -- here I take time to do chaturanga two or more times slowly, first with support and then only optionally with knees up.
11. Shalabhasana. -- I love this posture as a first backbend, and I always challenge my students and myself to lift my navel off the floor as I go. Changing placement of the arms changes the load in the pose.
12. Cobra or updog. -- students are warmed up + their shoulder and abdominal muscles awakened in preparation for these backbends.
13. Downdog. -- and then repeat the sequence as many times as you like.
Let me know any feedback or questions, and thanks for the interest.