Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in the Indian sub-continent and has spread over the entire globe. It has gained popularity as a beginner-friendly form of exercise and can be practiced by people of all age groups. Yoga offers numerous health benefits such as physical strength, flexibility, weight loss, and mobility and is found to boost mental health. Usually, beginners start their journey into different yoga poses through Surya Namaskar.
Surya Namaskar or Sun salutation is a fundamental sequence of yoga poses that is very beginner-friendly. Surya Namaskar for beginners helps them to warm up before other Yoga poses and also serves as a progression exercise that they can use to help analyze their progress from time to time.
Traditionally, doing 108 Suryanamaskars continuously is a goal that requires discipline and consistent practice to gain the required physical fitness and stamina. With daily practice, it is very easy to reach up to 108 Suryanamaskar and notice increased energy levels, strength, mobility, and flexibility.
Everything about SURYA NAMASKAR
Origin of Surya Namaskar
Suryanamaskar (Sanskrit; ‘Surya’- Sun, ‘Namaskaram’- Salutation) is a series of 12 steps of Vedic yoga poses done in succession with controlled breathing and in a focused state. The precise origins of the Sun Salutation are uncertain, but the sequence was made popular in the early 20th century by Bhawanrao Shriniwasrao Pant Pratinidhi, the Rajah of Aundh, and adopted into yoga by Krishnamacharya in the Mysore Palace, where the Sun Salutation classes, were held next door to his yoga sala. It is said to be up to 5000 years old with the first mention of it being found in Rig Ved. It was popularized due to numerous physical spiritual and mental benefits of Suryanamaskar’s steps.
At the physical level, the practice of Suryanamaskar stimulates metabolism. It also benefits the digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and reproductive systems. More and more people are taking up Surya Namaskar for weight loss, depression, and mood uplifting benefits.
How to do Surya Namaskar
Traditionally, the 12 poses of Suryanamaskar are done dynamically and in a flow-like manner. A brief guide on how to do Suryanamaskar step-by-step and the Suryanamaskar pose name is given below:
12 Poses of Surya Namaskar & how to do
Surya Namaskar Pose 1: Prayer Status (Pranamasana)
Start the practice of Surya Namaskar with Pranamasana pose (Pranamasana). Stand upright on a yoga mat or the floor with your feet straight together. Take a deep breath, enlarge your chest, and relax your shoulders and back. As you breathe out, raise your arms and as you exhale, bring your hands closer to the prayer area in front of your heart. It is the first mask to face the sun.
Surya Namaskar Pose 2: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
As you take a deep breath in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. Try to stretch the whole body up from the heels and to the tips of the fingers while stretching your back and glutes.
To further stretch try, pushing the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure that you are reaching up with your fingers rather than trying to bend backward.-- Advertisement --
Surya Namaskar Pose 3: Hasta Padasana
Exhale and bend forward and down to your knees. Keep your spine straight as you do so. Place your hands on the floor with only your fingers contacting the surface. Bend your knees enough for your chest so that it can rest against your thighs. And your head to rest on your knee. Maintain this position for a couple of seconds.
Surya Namaskar Pose 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Breathing in, bring your right leg back up as far as comfortable. Bring your right knee to the floor and look up for some time. The left foot should be in between the palms. While the neck is forward.
Dandasana/Phalakasana (Plank Pose)
As you inhale, take the left leg backward and bring the whole body in a straight line. Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor. Focus on your core while maintaining a planking position.
Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight Points Salute)
Gently bring your knees down to the floor & breathe out. Take the hips back slightly as in a child’s pose, then slide forward, and rest your chest and chin on the floor. Raise your posterior slightly. The 2 hands, 2 knees, 2 feet, and chest and chin should touch the floor. The abdomen should not be in touch with the floor.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Now slowly slide forward and raise the chest up into the Cobra posture.
Keep your neck straight and look up, and you, as you breathe in, try and push the chest forward. As you exhale, push the navel down. Keep the toes flat on the floor.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
Breathing out, lift the hips and the tailbone, chest downwards in an ‘inverted V’ If possible, try and keep the heels on the ground and make a gentle effort to lift the tailbone, going deeper into the stretch.
Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Inhaling, bring the right foot forward in between the 2 hands, left knee down to the floor, press the hips down, & look upwards to the sky.
Place the right foot exactly between the two hands and the right calf perpendicular to the floor. In this position, make a gentle effort to push the hips downside towards the floor. It deepens the stretch.
Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
bring your left foot forward while taking in a deep breath. Keep your palms on the floor. Gently make the knees straight & if you can, try & touch your nose to the knees. Keep breathing throughout the movement.
Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Ayour Pose)
Breathing in, roll up the shoulder blades, hands go up, and bend backward a little bit, pushing the hips slightly outward. Try to bring elbows as near to your ears as possible. The stretch should be upwards and not backward.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
For this step, straighten your body and bring the arms down while exhaling. Relax in this position, and observe the sensations in your body.
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Surya Namaskar Benefits
Regularly practicing Surya Namaskar benefits those looking to be aesthetically pleasing by toning the abdomen, muscles of thighs, and legs. Many people find that they are benefitted from Surya Namaskar for weight loss when done alongside other exercises. It helps in increasing the range of motion of the neck and spine and therefore improves posture. It is also good for disorders such as indigestion, constipation, and sciatica.
Practicing Surya Namaskar daily is said to calm the mind. It strengthens the nerves and muscles of the shoulders, arms, back, and chest. Suryanamaskar enhances the flexibility of the back and spine. It establishes a state of humility, gratitude, concentration, and calmness and relaxes the nervous system. Doing Surya Namaskar in the morning helps the mental and spiritual well-being of an individual.
Practicing these poses daily stretches arm, back, and abdominal muscles. It also helps in curing certain problems of the spinal column and cord. It increases blood flow to the brain and head region and is beneficial for all major organs such as the liver, kidney, stomach, and intestines.
FAQs related to Surya Namaskar
How much time will it take to complete 108 Surya Namaskar in one go?
Ans. This depends on the individual’s fitness levels and can vary. For an average person, this can be done after 2 months of regularly practicing Surya Namaskars.
What are the mental health benefits of Surya Namaskar?
Ans. Surya Namaskar benefits people suffering from depression by enhancing mood, motivation, and focus. In addition, practicing Surya Namaskar diligently helps develop gratitude. Surya Namaskar, when done in the morning facing the sun, is found to be helpful for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Where can I do Surya Namaskar?
Ans. Surya Namaskar can be done outdoors or indoors and should be preferably done in the morning.
Is it important to do Surya Namaskar step by step?
Ans. Yes, Surya Namaskar should be done in order and postures should be done properly.
How long will it take to memorize the steps of Surya Namaskar and Surya Namaskar poses names?
Ans. Memorizing Suryanamaskar will take some time for most people. Usually, within a month of practicing Suryanamaskar, people can learn all the steps of Suryanamaskar.
How to start practicing Surya Namaskar?
Ans. You can begin practicing Suryanamaskar under the supervision of a teacher or guru, or by yourself, after referring to a guide. Be mindful of posture and breathing while performing this exercise.
How quickly should Surya Namaskar be done?
Ans. Try to maintain balance being in the pose for a couple of seconds before moving to the next one. Ideally, you should focus on keeping tempo and rhythm constant throughout the 12 steps.
What is the best time to do Surya Namaskar?
Ans. The best time to do Suryanamaskar is considered to be in the early morning. Doing Surya Namaskar at sunrise has several benefits such as circadian rhythm.