Yogi’s Corner: Sun Salutation-Modified for Pain or Balance Issues

April 7, 2021

by LauBen Fournier, PT, DPT

Here’s another common yoga sequence called a Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) that can be made more accessible by performing in a chair.

Benefits: Able to continue your practice during an acute pain episode or if balance is an issue, lengthens the side bodies, lengthens the back fascial line, back extensors, lengthens the hamstrings and gluteus maximus.

Precautions: Shoulder impingement, acute lumbar disc pain, recent hamstring injury, hip impingement or labral tear

Step by step:

  1. Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your spine straight.

Modified Sun Salutation pose

2. Inhale as you lift arms overhead, lifting your gaze as you reach up.

Modified Sun Salutation pose










3. Exhale and fold forward, reaching toward the floor. (Modify the depth by placing blocks or books to bring the floor to you).

Modified Sun Salutation pose










4. Inhale, place your hands on your thighs and extend your spine, small arch.

Modified Sun Salutation pose










5. Extend your leg and fold forward and the hip

Modified Sun Salutation pose










6. Draw one knee into the chest

Modified Sun Salutation pose










7. Switch to the other side.

Drishti (aka: Direction of your gaze): Follows your movement, unless stated otherwise

Modifications: Blanket on chair; move through a smaller range of motion, use blocks

Check out the video!


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