Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) & Vinyasa Yoga – Sanskrit & Naming

Surya Namaskar

SOOR-yah nam-ahs-KAHR

“surya” = sun

“namaskar” = greeting of honor and respect to the divinity present in all

Sun Salutation

To view the particular sequences for each version, please see Surya Namaskar Asana & Sequences (in Quick Menu above)

Vinyasa Krama / Vinyasa Yoga

“nyasa” = to place  “vi” = in a special way  “vinyasa” = to place in a special way

“krama” = step; stages; orderly way, method or path

“vinyasa krama” = wise progression or placement

More Than a “Salutation”

The Sanskrit name Namaskar was slightly short-changed when it was translated to Salutation. The root of nama, meaning “to bow” and in some cases “not me,” tells a more meaningful story about the sequence’s original purpose. “Of course it is a beautiful greeting, but it was also meant to be a transformative experience to release the burden of our personal obsessions and just come back to essence,” says Shiva Rea. – Yoga Journal, Why Sun Salutations Are So Much More Than Just a Warm-Up  link


  • The Sanskrit word “vinyasa” means “to place in a special way.”
  • In postural yoga,  vinyasas are “progressive sequences that unfold with an inherent harmony and intelligence.” (Shiva Rea) They are often described as a “marriage of breath and movement.”
  • Surya Namaskar and Chandra Namaskar are particular vinyasas — a series of postures and transitions, each accompanied by a particular phase of the breath.
  • “Vinyasa Yoga” or “Vinyasa Flow Yoga” typically refers to a style of yoga based on a flowing sequence of poses coordinated with the breath.
  • Often, Vinyasa Yoga features Surya Namaskar, variations of Surya Namaskar, and any variety of sequences built around the structure of Surya Namaskar.
  • From a teaching perspective, Vinyasa Yoga is designed using methodologies for safe and effective sequencing to meet an intention.

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