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Refining Your Sun Salutations

In our regular Monday All Levels Yoga class at 5:30, Jocelyn O'Shea will be breaking down Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations, over the course of 4 weeks. Each week of this four part series builds upon lessons in the previous week, so students may benefit most from attending all four sessions. However, the classes stand alone as individual lessons and are appropriate for drop-in students as well. Regular drop-in's ($15) and all class packages accepted.

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Surya Namaskar is performed in almost all Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Hatha yoga classes, and is often incorporated in Jivamukti, Anusara, and Forrest yoga. It is a salute to the life giving energy of the sun and a prayer for that energy to vitalize the body, mind, and soul. 

Moving intelligently through the Sun Salutation sequence will warm the body properly for deeper movement to be attempted as the class progresses. This workshop will break down the individual asanas in the sun salutation sequence, exploring proper alignment, energetic actions, and use of breath. We will also address variations and modifications for individuals. Once the foundations of the Sun Salutation are established, the practice will open to more clarity, structure, and mental freedom.

Week 1: 

September 10, 5:30-6:30 pm, Surya Namaskar A

We will discuss a brief history of the modern sun salutations and the importance of Ujjayii breath. Sun salutations teach us how to effectively link Ujjayi breath to movement as a tool to move mindfully through space and transition from shape to shape. The class will cover variations that include “Knees chest chin” and “baby cobra”. Time will be spent on understanding uttanasana and the art of forward folding to release the lower back rather than just the hamstrings and calves. Emphasis is placed on finding samasthitihi (equal standing) within all the asanas (postures).


Week 2: September 17, 2018, 5:30-6:30pm, Surya Namaskar A.

We will review variations learned in week 1 and begin to incorporate knees down chatarunga and full cobra, jumping forwards with blocks and engaging mulabandha (the root lock) as a tool for lift off. We will break down the complexity of downward dog specifically external and internal rotation of the arms in this posture, use of three bandhas (energetic locks) in downward dog, and how to move mindfully from DD to Samasthitihi

Week 3: September 24, 2018, 5:30-6:30pm, Surya Namaskar B

In week 3 we will review lessons learned in weeks 1 and 2 and students will practice full chatarunga without putting unnecessary stress on the joints, and the difference between upward dog and cobra. We will break down the action of stepping forward into Warrior 1 without relying on momentum in the back leg, and the importance of using drishti (a focal point for the eyes). We will discuss the three major energetic locks and how to use them in hopping or jumping with or without blocks.

Week 4:  October 3, 2018, 5:30-6:30pm, Surya Namaskar B

We will review lessons learned in previous weeks and begin to integrate the “jump back” from uttanasana into chatarunga, and the contraindications related to jumping. Class will flow through Surya A and B and students are encouraged to integrate all variations as they see fit for their own personal practice. Our final class includes an in depth investigation of safe and efficient transitions and the importance of being mindful not only with each posture but also the spaces in between. An integration of breath, bandha, and drishti lead to a seamless experience on the mat.

Instructor Bio: Jocelyn O'Shea


By creating a strong flexible body you will find a strong flexible mind.

My classes integrate the philosophy of yoga and mindfulness practices with careful guidance and close attention to breathing. Focus on alignment helps to maintain a balance between effort and ease in our practice.

I began practicing yoga in 1999, and started teaching full time in 2009. I have studied many different lineages but currently teach non-lineage based yoga. I encourage my students to look within and listen to the inner teacher, to move intuitively in ways that promote harmony and healing.

I have found my greatest teachers to be my students who bring me endless inquiry and inspiration. It has been through teaching that I have learned about anatomy, modifications, and articulated guidance. As a teacher I am known for my consistency, precision, creativity, warmth and humor. It is with great love and respect that I offer these teachings to anyone who is interested in learning.

Earlier Event: September 9
Free Info Session: Yoga of 12-Step Recovery
Later Event: September 15
Akhanda Yoga 101: Intro to Holistic Yoga