Surya– Sun Namaskar– Salute
Surya Namasakar is a compilation of 12 yoga asanas combined and performed in a sequence. It is said that practicing this asana in the morning time/ sunrise gives the entire body strength and good health as the combination of asanas work on healthiness of each and every body part.
The sun salutation should be performed daily to gain its benefits. The first eight asanas are different from each other while the last four asanas are a reversal of the first four asanas. This asana also has a systematic technique of exhalation and inhalation with per transition into next asana. It is advised to follow this breathing pattern strictly as suggested. Remember to breathe through nostrils and not through the mouth during the practice of surya namaskar.
Perform Surya namaskar on yoga mat. Spread the mat in East-West direction and perform all asanas facing the sun ( East ) direction. Below are the steps for this asana.
1. Pranamasana ( Prayer Pose )
Facing East stand on the front edge of the mat. Stand straight keeping your feet together. Keep the shoulders relaxed and back. The crown of the head shall point the ceiling while chin being parallel to the floor. Hands on the sides. Inhaling lift the hands up and exhaling bring the hands close to the chest and join the palms facing each other in prayer position.
2. Hasta Uttanasana ( Raised arms pose )
Inhaling deeply lifting your arms straight upwards and giving a good stretch to yourself from foot to finger tips. At the same time bend your back and head backwards. And keep the gaze at the ceiling.
3. Uttanasana ( Standing forward fold pose )
Exhaling slowly, bend forward from your waist without bending the knees. Keep the spine erect while doing so, place the palms to the floor beside your feet, also let the forehead touch the knees. ( Do not strain while bending, initially you can bend your knees little to touch the hands to the floor. But gradually you will be able to touch the floor without bending).
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana ( Equestrian pose )
While inhaling slowly, take the left leg as far back as possible and let the knee drop towards the ground. At the same time, bend the right knee so that it is just above the ankle. Keeping arms straight on either side of the right foot rest the palms on the mat. Keep your gaze straight.
5. Phalakasana ( Plank pose )
Exhaling slowly, take the left leg backwards and place it besides the right leg. Keep the arms straight and support the body weight on the palms and top of the feet. Hold the buttocks in the air so that the neck,back and thighs are in straight line.
6. Ashtanga namaskara ( Eight point salutation )
Hold the breath for fraction of seconds and while doing so bend the elbows and the lower body so that both feet, both knees, chest, chin and both palms touch the floor( eight points of body). The abdomen and hip should be raised up slightly.
7. Bhujangasana ( Cobra pose )
Inhaling slowly raise your torso away from the floor by straightening the arms and pressing the palms into the floor. Arch the back and head backwards resembling the posture of a cobra.
8. Adho Mukho Svanasana ( Forward facing dog )
Exhaling push the hips and abdomen up towards the ceiling forming an inverted “V” keeping the knees straight while your palms, feet be pressed into the floor.
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana with opposite leg ( Equestrian pose )
Inhaling slowly and while doing so take the right leg as far back as possible and let the knee drop towards the ground. At the same time, bend the left knee so that it is just above the ankle. Keeping arms straight on either side of the left foot rest the palms on the mat. Keep your gaze straight. (same as step 4 but with opposite leg )
10. Uttanasana ( Standing forward fold pose )
Exhale slowly and while exhaling bring the right leg forward besides the left foot, keeping the palms touched to the floor on either side of the legs and straighten the knees without straining your back and keeping the spine erect ( same as step 3 )
11. Hasta Uttanasana ( Raised arms pose )
Inhaling lift your torso up, arms straight and stretched up and back, also bend slightly back ( same as step 2 )
12. Pranamasana ( Prayer Pose )
Exhaling slowly straighten your spine and bring the hands down joining both the palms and returning to prayer position. ( same as step 1. )
Please Note:- The above description is only for half the asana. As per step 4 you need to bend the right knee and in step 8 you need to bend the left knee. The entire round will be complete when after these 12 steps you start the steps again from step 1. and this time in step 4 you bend the left knee and in point 8 you bend the right knee. This set of 12 and again 12 with opposite leg completes one entire round of surya namaskar i.e total 24 steps. You need to practice 5-10 complete rounds daily.
Benefits of Surya Namasakar
- Surya Namaskar is one of the asanas which works on the entire body.
- It helps in giving strength and flexibility to all the joints in the body.
- It improves blood circulation, respiratory system, reproductive system, digestion system.
- It helps increase the energy levels of the body and keeps the mind positive and alert.
- It tones the internal organs.
- It also helps in shredding those extra kilos in the body.
- Improves breathing.
- Strengthens the back muscles and helps getting rid of back pain.