Surya namaskar (Sun Salutation) is a yoga that is practised with gracefully linked asanas. While the word ‘Surya’ means sun, namaskar refers to the ‘salutation’. To put it in simpler words, the nomenclature symbolizes the sun as the source for everyone’s life.
- 1 History of Surya Namaskar
- 2 What Should You Do Before You Begin?
- 2.1 12 Surya Namaskar Poses1) Pranamasana / Prayer Pose
- 2.2 2) Hastauttanasana / Raised Arms Pose
- 2.3 3) Hasta Padasana / Hand to Foot Pose
- 2.4 4) Ashwa Sanchalanasana / Equestrian Pose
- 2.5 5) Dandasana / Stick Pose
- 2.6 6) Ashtanga Namaskara
- 2.7 7) Bhujangasana / Cobra Pose
- 2.8 8) Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog Pose
- 2.9 9) Ashwa Sanchalanasana / Equestrian Pose
- 2.10 10) Hasta Padasana / Hand to Foot Pose
- 2.11 11) Hastauttanasana / Raised Arms Pose
- 2.12 12) Tadasana
- 3 Surya Namaskar Mantra
- 4 Benefits of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
- 4.1 Helps for Weight Loss
- 4.2 Makes the Joints & Muscles Strong
- 4.3 Improves the Skin Tone
- 4.4 Improves the Digestive System
- 4.5 Helps to Overcome Insomnia
- 4.6 Regulates the Menstrual Cycle
- 4.7 Controls the Blood Sugar Level
- 4.8 Reduces Stress
- 4.9 Detoxifies the Body
- 4.10 Improves Sexuality
History of Surya Namaskar
According to history, the king of Aundh was the person to introduce Sun salutation. If you are wondering about the era, then the pose was practised in the 20th century. Later, the salutation became popular in the west region during the 1920s and 1930s. However, no matter how old the asana might be, many variations have evolved through the years.
There are evidences that the sun salutation was performed by the king Shivaji and the saint, Ram Das. According to the Tirumalai Krishnamacharya teachings, one of the scholars, K. Pattabhi Jois tried to practice the asana regularly.
Now, let us go through Surya namaskar poses you need to follow one after the other. But, before you proceed with anything, you should look for space which is adequately ventilated.
In case you are getting into the asana indoors, then you should open the windows and allow air to enter the room. Make sure you do the asana in a quiet room where nobody would actually disturb you.
Read Also: Surya Mudra Steps and Health Benefits
What Should You Do Before You Begin?
Always start off with warm-up exercises. Initially, you should stand in the mountain pose and attain the Anjali mudra pose with your palms close to each other.
If you are performing the asana outdoors, then you need to focus and gain consciousness. You should also perceive that you’re all alone and aloof from the world. If you have been practicing Sun salutation as a part of the warm-up, then you should proceed gradually till the body temperature increases slightly. But, in other situations, you need to practice the downward dog pose for at least 2 to 5 minutes.
Later, you need to follow the Surya Namaskar steps or poses as described below.
12 Surya Namaskar Poses1) Pranamasana / Prayer Pose
As soon as you spread the mat on the ground, you must stand with your feet together and balance the entire weight. Later, you have to expand your chest, inhale, and bring your palms together as if you are praying in front of an idol.
2) Hastauttanasana / Raised Arms Pose
Once you start inhaling, you need to lift your hands, try to view the sky, and stretch hands in the backward direction. In order to enhance the flexibility, you may have to push the pelvis forward and think of bending backwards.
3) Hasta Padasana / Hand to Foot Pose
After a few seconds, you need to bend down from your waist, exhale air, and try touching the palms on the mat. In case it becomes tough to get into the pose, then you must bend your knees to a certain extent.
4) Ashwa Sanchalanasana / Equestrian Pose
Once you gain stability, you need to stretch your legs backwards with the shin splints resting on the mat. You then have to bring your right foot forward by bending the knee. To feel the impact, you should place the left foot in between both the palms. Once you attain the pose, you should try looking at the sky or the ceiling.
5) Dandasana / Stick Pose
Soon after you breathe in, you should take your left leg back and try to sustain the weight on your toes. For achieving the pose in a better way, make sure that the arms are perpendicular to the floor.
6) Ashtanga Namaskara
Now, gently bring the knees together and exhale air gradually. Once you push the hips in the backward direction, try resting the chest on the mat. Moving ahead, you should also attempt to raise the posterior as much as possible. After positioning two hands, two knees, chest and the chin you would be actually saluting to the sun with eight parts of the body.
7) Bhujangasana / Cobra Pose
Afterwards, you need to slide in the forward direction and try raising the chest upwards. You may think about bending the elbows at this instance, and keep the shoulders away from the ears. To enhance the pose, you can raise the upper body and try keeping the feet together.
8) Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog Pose
Now, you need to lift your hips to form an inverted V with the mat. As you get into the pose, you need to look at the feet, move your hands forward and rest your palms on the mat.
9) Ashwa Sanchalanasana / Equestrian Pose
After attaining the downward facing dog pose, the individual should move on with the equestrian pose. As described earlier, you need to stretch one leg backwards and place the other leg between the palms. You should also try lifting the upper body slowly and steadily.
10) Hasta Padasana / Hand to Foot Pose
After some time, you need to bring your left foot forward, next to the right foot. Always maintain the position of the hands, and lift yourself up to get into the hand to foot pose.
11) Hastauttanasana / Raised Arms Pose
As you inhale air, you must raise your hands upwards, and bend in the backward direction so that you accomplish the Ardha Chakra asana.
Lastly, you exhale air and relax while you stand. Later, you should feel the impact through positive vibrations across the body.
The sequence of the aforementioned poses is considered as one repetition of Surya Namaskar. For yielding maximum benefits, you need to complete twelve repetitions of Surya Namaskar. As you start off with Tadasana, you need to first chant the mantra and proceed with the poses.
Now, let’s look at the mantras for every repetition of the sun salutation.
Surya Namaskar Mantra
As you would be honouring the sun, you would be chanting different names of the sun. These include;
Om Mitraaya Namaha – denoting that the sun is friendly.
Om Ravaye Namaha – denoting that the sun is radiant.
Om Suryaya Namaha – denoting that the sun is vibrant.
Om Bhaanave Namaha – denoting that the sun spreads light.
Om Khagaya Namaha – denoting that the sun moves in the sky.
Om Pooshne Namaha – denoting that the sun offers nourishment.
Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha – denoting that the sun shimmers with gold color.
Om Mareechaye Namaha – denoting that the sun has infinite rays.
Om Aadityaaya Namaha – implying that the sun is the cosmic divine mother.
Om Savitre Namaha – denoting that the sun is important for life.
Om Arkaaya Namaha – denoting that it’s worth praising the sun.
Om Bhaskaraya Namaha – denoting that the sun radiates cosmic rays.
Benefits of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
As you perform the asana in the morning, you would be able to refresh your mind and revitalize your body.
Surya Namaskar is nothing but a pose to show gratitude towards the sun. It is a set of 12 asanas which connect the body, mind, and soul. According to a well-known yoga expert, the set of movements always offer many health benefits.
Helps for Weight Loss
When performed efficiently, Surya Namaskar can serve to be the best cardiovascular workout. While you stretch your abdominal muscles, you would be able to shed pounds around your stomach. Moreover, the movement helps in enhancing the metabolic activity within the body.
Makes the Joints & Muscles Strong
If you need to strengthen your ligaments, muscles, and joints, then there’s nothing better than Surya Namaskar. As you enhance the flexibility of your spine, the limbs become symmetrical. This, in turn, helps in enhancing the function of the internal organs.
Improves the Skin Tone
Since the Surya Namaskar yoga helps in improving the blood circulation, the asana prevents the onset of wrinkles and offers you a glowing skin. Even as time passes by, you would still look younger than your age.
Improves the Digestive System
A set of Sun salutation poses not only help in increasing blood flow but also aid in boosting the functioning of the intestines. The forward bending pose increases the space around the abdomen and releases gases trapped within the system.
Helps to Overcome Insomnia
If you are unable to find a solution for your sleeping troubles, then regular practice of Surya namaskar would certainly help. As you relax in the asana, you would never feel restless when it’s time to go to bed. Once the sleeping pattern is drastically improved, you would never have to rely on drugs or tranquilizers.
Regulates the Menstrual Cycle
Women always benefit from Surya Namaskar if they are suffering from irregular menstrual cycles. Regular practice of the asana can also help to deliver a newborn infant with ease. The lady would never face problems because the asana aids in toning the abdominal muscles.
Controls the Blood Sugar Level
According to experts, the sun salutation movements can always help in regulating the blood sugar level. In case the individual is practising Sun salutation for a longer time, then the risk of cardiovascular diseases is always minimized.
As the asana helps in improving the memory and the nervous system, the person can always calm down and get rid of anxiety. The pose is also capable of regulating the activity of the endocrine glands, especially the thyroid gland. Once the balance of the body and the mind is brought to normal, the person would be able to develop patience and work in the best possible way.
Detoxifies the Body
Due to inhalation and exhalation at several instances, the Sun salutation yoga purifies the blood and promotes the function of the lungs. As the body is detoxified, the person can get rid of carbon dioxide and other toxins.
Regular Practice of the pose can help to rule out malfunctioning of the sexual glands and increase sexuality. The person would no longer feel uneasy when he is delighted with a healthy sexual appetite.
Finally, you should always perform the asana wholeheartedly. It’s essential to be graceful with every step, perform the poses gradually, and be conscious about inhalation and exhalation. If you are suffering from back pain or an ailment, then you should speak with the doctor and check whether the asana is appropriate for your body.