Originating from Vedic philosophy, the Surya Namaskar that translates to ‘Sun Salutation’ in English is a wide spread yoga performed by many for different reasons.
Normally suggested to perform twice in a row every day, the Surya Namaskar has quite healing effects on body and mind when followed regularly.
12 Poses in Surya Namaskar
Step 1- Prayer Pose- Heart chakra
Step-2- Raised arm pose – Throat chakra
Step-3-Hand to Foot pose- Sacral chakra
Step-4- Equestrian Pose- Third eye chakra [Right Leg forward]
Step-5- Mountain Pose- Throat chakra
Step-6- Astanga Namaskar- Solar chakra
Step-7- Cobra Pose- Sacral chakra
Step-8- Mountain Pose- Throat chakra
Step-9- Equestrian pose- Third eye chakra [Left Leg forward]
Step-10-Hand to Foot pose- Sacral chakra
Step-11-Raised arm pose – Throat chakra
Step 12-Prayer Pose- Heart chakra
Things to keep in mind before performing Surya Namaskar
When To Perform?
First of all, Surya Namaskar is best done early morning on an empty stomach or light stomach facing the rising sun. If it is practised in the evening it triggers the digestive fire. However, if you give enough time after a meal, than you can perform the same as well.
It is a good idea to do some Sukshma Vyayama or gentle warm-up stretches before you start with the Surya Namaskar rounds. This helps remove restlessness in the body and prepares it for Surya Namaskar yoga postures.
East Or West?
Surya Namaskar should be performed facing the East direction if you are doing it in the morning and you should face West if you are doing it in the evening.
Be Gentle And Graceful
Most of the times, beginners start to strive to achieve a higher number of times of Surya Namaskar rounds. Therefore, there is often a tendency of spoiling the pace and gracefulness of the asanas. Thus, avoid it and allow the postures to flow gently and gracefully one into the other.
Surya Namaskar could be very energizing if done with gratitude, grace, at a slow pace and with awareness on the breath. If done with proper awareness, one can feel the flow of energy starting from the Navel chakra to the entire body.
While doing Sun Salutation, breathe normally. Breathing should not be forceful. Breathe slowly, gently and effortlessly, with awareness on each breath that you inhale and exhale. Try and keep the breath in harmony with every body movement.
The Surya Namaskar has a subtle yet powerful and intense positive effect on the mind and body. Each of the 12 Surya Namaskar poses have 12 corresponding mantras recited in honor of the Sun. Further, as you do each posture, take your attention to the particular chakra (12 chakras for every posture). Doing your Sun Salutations with mantra chants and awareness on chakras, adding a feeling of gratitude, adds a profound spiritual and meditative aspect to your practice.
After you perform the last round of Surya Namaskar, lie down and relax your entire body. For best results, it is advisable to lie down in Yoga Nidra, giving the body enough time to assimilate the effects of the stretches. However, if you are short on time, you can relax for a few minutes in Corpse Pose, for complete rest to the mind and body.
Surya Namaskar is best practiced in open air atmosphere or well ventilated room on a clean mat or carpet. Wearing loose, light and comfortable clothing is suggested. You should also maintain 30 minutes gap for taking bath before or after the practice.
Benefits of Performing Surya Namaskar
There are several benefits of performing Surya Namaskar. However, most of the performers do it to lose weight, while others do it to improve posture which provides strength to the muscles. It strengthens the heart, nervous system, digestive system, abdominal organs and also removes stress and helps you get sound sleep. Surya Namaskar further detoxifies the body by getting rid of enormous quantity of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.
Moreover, other benefits of performing Surya Namaskar include preventing loss of hair and graying, reducing abnormal prominence of the Adam’s apple, eliminating unpleasant smells from the body, reviving and maintaining the spirit of youthfulness, making the spine and waist flexible among others.
for those who want to use it to build strength also(apart from flexibility for which normal positions are fine) keep chest /knees only barely touching the ground, but it is not advisable unless u have already practised it for a long time..
ashta-ang.. means eight body parts.. 2 hands, 2 knees, 2 (big) toes, chest ... these are 7 parts... the eighth part depending on whether or not one has any discomfort in the neck, can be chin or forehead.. those who have discomfort in neck can keep chin, otherwise it is forehead
I have sciatica and 4 herniated disks in my lumbar. Every time I try and go from upward dog to downward dog I get a shooting pain from my lower back. Are there any other alternative ways of doing these?
Before bhujangha-aasan in astanga aasan what are the parts which need to keep on earth. Some advice to keep chest on land while some call it not proper position.
The most idiotic thing I ever heard was suriya namaskar done at night, Patanjali must be really shaking his head, what is wrong with you people ?.
There are mantras to be chanted (mentally) in each pose. Those mantras are there to activate those chakras. Many who does not believe in spiritual and mantra, just can use it for physical exercise. But, yoga is made for spiritual exercise, for uniting the body and the mind.