What is Surya Namaskar
Surya Namaskar also known as the Sun Salutations is a practice to stay fit in today’s stressful era. Surya Namaskar constitutes 12 yoga asanas that provide an intense, yet decent, cardiovascular workout.
Sun is the soul of the entire world. Sun is the only god which bestows us good health. Therefore we should worship the Sun for health and long life.
Surya namaskar provides vigour and vitality and keeps us healthy and fit.
Surya Namaskar is a workout for the full body. All 12 asanas help to keep the body fit and the mind at peace.
You should perform these asanas early in the morning and on an empty stomach. These 12 poses complete one entire cycle of Surya Namaskar.
Let us take a look at each of these asanas and how to perform them step-by-step including the Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits
Every asana in Surya Namaskar increases the flexibility of all the muscles.
Asana 1: Beginning the Surya Namaskar with Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
Pranamasana is probably the most centering Yoga exercise and is a customary part of everyday Indian culture.
As a Yoga practice, it is the beginning and concluding asana of Surya Namaskar sequences.
While the core elements of the pose are related to spiritual enlightenment and devotional energy, it has proved to be of extreme benefit when it comes to physical wellness. Over the years, a number of people have started practicing this asana for bringing stability to the mind and body.
How to do Pranamasana?
Begin in a standing position. Hands up in front of you and join your palms together in a prayer form with your feet closer. You have to join them palm to palm and have your fingers pointed upwards.
Your folded hands must be at your chest level. Your thumb has to be on your upper chest. Now breathe in and out deeply for a couple of minutes. Remember to keep your weight balanced evenly between your feet.
Benefits of Pranamasana
- Increases the concentration
- Maintains the balance of the body
- Sense of relaxation to the mind and the soul
- Improves the awareness
- Infuses the spiritual energy into the mind
- Corrects the body posture
- Maintains the body mind balance
- Helps in the nourishment of the legs muscles and bones
- Evokes the calmness of the mind
Asana 2: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Step 1: Stand on a yoga mat. Legs straight, arms by your side, spine long and feet together
Step 2: Lengthen your spine and stretch your arms above shoulder-width apart
Step 3: Join the hands together softly
Step 4: Slightly tilt your upper body backward and gaze up to the thumbs
Step 5: As you tilt your head and neck back, make sure you do not strain them
Step 6: Exhale, lower the arms down and stand in Tadasana
Benefits of Hasta Uttanasana
- Relieves the neck pain and back pain as this asana increases the tone of muscles and enhances the stretching capacity
- Improves the digestion process as the abdomen is stretched during this asana
- Tones the muscles of the abdomen
- Enhances the lung capacity to intake the oxygen to the fullest
- Takes into the meditative state and environment
- Tones the abdominal organs
- Balances the Anahita Chakra
Come back to the standing position. Now, take a breath in and lift your arms up slowly. Make sure to keep your arms close to your ears. The purpose of this asana is to stretch the entire body, from the heels to your fingertips. Remember that you are reaching up with your fingers, and to attain the stretch do not bend backward.
Asana 3: Uttanasana or Hasta Padasana or Padahastasana or (Hand to Foot Pose)
Here is the guide to do the Uttanasana
Following from step 2, exhale and then bend forward slowly from the waist down. The spine should be kept erect. As you breathe out completely, start bringing your hands down to the floor, just beside your feet. If required, you may bend your knees to bring your palms facing down towards the floor.
The Hasta Padasana is one particular pose you can use if getting a better memory is at the top of your to-do list. It involves bending over so that your head eventually is near your knees with enough practice.
Benefits of Hasta Padasana
- Tones the abdominal muscles
- Helps in weight loss by reducing the fat around the stomach
- Improves the flexibility of the spine and makes it supple
- Increases the blood supply of the nervous system
- Relieves constipation
- Enhances memory
- Tones the abdominal organs
- Stretches all the back muscles of the body
Asana 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Take a deep breath in and push your right leg back as far as you possibly can. Now, lower your right knee to touch the floor and look upwards. To achieve maximum benefit, make sure that your left foot is located exactly between your palms.
Benefits of Ashwa Sanchalanasana
- Enhances the lung capacity as this asana strengthens the chest muscles
- Enhances and maintains your skin glow
- Tones and strengthens the muscles of ankles and knees
- Opens up groins and hips
- Improves the flexibility of the spine as this asana stretches the spine
- Strengthens the back
- Improves the functional abilities of the kidney and liver by toning and massaging them
- Enhances the digestion and overall metabolism
- This asana serves as the boost for the cardiovascular metabolism, gives the same benefits as the cardiovascular workouts
- Helps in the development of the positive emotions and improves the mental health
Asana 5: Dandasana (Stick Pose)
Dandasana resembles the pose you take for doing push-ups. From step 4, take a deep breath in and take your left leg back. Bring your entire body in a straight line. To ensure maximum benefit from this asana, keep your arms perpendicular to the floor.
Benefits of Dandasana
- Improves the flexibility of the spine by stretching
- This asana helps to learn how to forward bend properly.
- Strengthens the muscles around the back
- Excellent pose for building your core strength
- Improves the functionality of the digestive organs thereby helping in the digestion process
- This asana helps to practice how to breathe properly
- Maintains the posture and body alignment
- This asana teaches us about our energy bodies
- Creates a sense of relaxation
- Corrects the overall body posture
- Relieves complications related to the reproductive organs
- Stretches the shoulders and chest
- Nourishes your body’s resistance to back and hip injuries
- Brain cells will be calmed
- Your awareness will be increased
- Improves the alignment of the body
- Mild stretch for hamstrings
Asana 6: Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute With Eight Parts)
Following from step 5, lower your knees down the floor gently and exhale. Now push your hips back slightly and slide forward. Rest your chin and chest against the floor and raise your backside just a little bit.
At the end of the pose, eight parts of your body should be touching the floor – your both hands, both the knees, the feet, your chin, and your chest.
Benefits of Ashtanga Namaskara
- Increases the tone of the muscles of hands and legs
- Improves the flexibility and posture of the spine
- Strengthens the back muscles, muscles of hands and legs
- Strengthens the chest
- Purifies your Body completely from within
- Enhances your Body Awareness
- Relieves anxiety and stress
- Strengthens your mind
Asana 7: Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
The Bhujangasana is extremely beneficial for treating chronic back pain. After you have completed step 6, slide forward and raise your chest from the mat. Keep your elbows bent and in front of you. You need to place your shoulders away from the ears. Stretch your neck to look up.
Benefits of Bhujangasana
- Enhances the flexibility of the body
- Relieves tiredness and stress
- Strengthens the muscles of the neck, back, and chest
- Relieves and soothes the lower back pain and sciatica
- Regularises the menstrual cycles
- Improves the function of the heart
- Strengthens the spine
- Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
- Firms the buttocks
- Stimulates the abdominal organs
- Opens the heart and lungs
- Reduces the complications and severity of asthma
- As per the Traditional texts Bhujangasana increases the body heat, destroys the disease, and awakens kundalini.
Asana 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog stretch yoga pose)
Here is the guide to do the Adho Mukha Svanasana
Now exhale and lift your hips up. Point your tailbone outwards and your chest downwards. The overall posture formed must resemble an inverted V or a mountain. If possible, try keeping your heels flat on the ground.
Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Increases the concentration and memory
- Removes the lethargy and increases the alertness
- Improves the tone of the muscles of hands and the legs
- Enhances the flexibility of the spine
- Strengthens and tones the muscles of the abdomen
- Daily practice of this asana removes all sorts of hair problems. Helpful in treating baldness, premature grey hair. loss of hair and even bald patches. As this pose helps increase blood circulation to your head, thereby supplying the essential nutrients to your hair.
- Prevention of cough and cold as this asana helps in pumping the oxygenated blood to your entire body.
- Enhances the digestion capacity hence cures digestion problems, gas, and acidity, if practiced regularly
- Reduces the intensity of the symptoms of the hearing disorders
- Regulates the function of the pituitary gland which is responsible for maintaining the insulin levels in your body, hence this asana is recommended for the diabetic patients.
- Reduces the severity of hydrocele, spermatorrhea and leucorrhoea
- Improves your eyesight
- Helps in curing constipation and piles
- You will observe a Healthy, glowing skin which is free from acne and blemishes
- Cures varicose veins
- Enhances your memory power
- Relieves from anxiety and panic attacks
- Removes the difficulties in falling asleep, helpful in people suffering from insomnia
- Enhances your overall flexibility and makes you feel active
- Improves the core strength
- Extremely helpful for people suffering from depression
- Strengthens and tones your shoulder and neck muscles
- This asana helps in developing strong calves and hamstrings
Asana 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Breath in deeply and bring your right foot forward to place between your hands. Lower your left knee to the floor and press your hips down. Raise your neck to look up.
Asana 10: Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
Breath out and place your left foot forward. Slightly bend your knees, if required, place your palms flat against the floor.
Asana 11: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Take a deep breath and bend your spine back gently. Place your hands up and push your hips out slightly. Now bend back a little bit with your hands up till you feel your body stretching. Your arms should be beside your ears.
Asana 12: Completing the Surya Namaskar with Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
These 12 asanas together constitute one cycle of Surya Namaskar.
Surya Namaskar has a wide variety of benefits not just for your body, even for your mind. By practicing this 12 asanas of Surya Namaskar regularly, you will soon begin to experience the difference it makes to your overall quality of life.