Surya Namaskar, or the Sun Salutation is composed of a series of twelve yoga postures performed in sequence. Last four yoga postures are basically repetition of first four in reverse order. Surya Namaskar was not a formal part of traditional Hatha Yoga, but it has so much value that it has been now accepted as a part of Hatha Yoga. It is generally now used as a warm-up exercise before the asana practice. If there is a shortage of time, just Surya Namaskar practice provides substantial benefit. Please keep in mind that there are dozen of different variations of Sun Salutation. Each tradition have slightly modified the basic Sun Salutation sequence. This is one of the traditional Sun Salutation sequence.
It is typically performed in the open air, facing the sun, at sunrise. For each of the postures, there is a particular breathing pattern to be followed inhalation for the backward bends and exhalation for the forward bends. Optionally, for each posture a particular mantra of the sun has to be chanted.
Posture, Breath, and corresponding Mantra [Optional]
- Pranamasana (Prayer Pose) - Normal Breath - Om Mitraaya Namaha
- Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose) - Inhale - Om Ravaye Namaha
- Padahastasana (Toe Touch Pose) - Exhale - Om Suryaaya Namaha
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose) - Inhale - Om Bhaanve Namaha
- Utthita Ashwa sanchalanasana(Raised Equestrian Pose) - Exhale - Om khagaaya Namaha
- Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with eight limbs) - Hold breath - Om Pooshney Namaha
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)- Inhale - Om Hiranayagarbhaaye Namaha
- Adho Mukha svanasana(Downward Dog Pose) - Exhale - Om Mareechaye Namaha
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)- Inhale - Om Adityaaya Namaha
- Padahastasana (Toe Touch Pose) - Exhale - Om Savitre Namaha
- Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)- Inhale - Om Arkaaya Namaha
- Pranamasana (Prayer Pose) - Exhale - Om Bhaaskaraaya Namah
Posture and Balancing effect on corresponding Chakras
One round of Sun Salutation consists of two sequences, the first leading with the right foot in positions 4 and 9, the second leading with the left. Hands must be in one place from positions 3 to 10 and movements should match with the breathing. It is good to start by practicing four rounds and gradually build up to twelve rounds.
Benefits of Surya Namaskara
- It activates digestion and gets rid of constipation and dyspepsia.
- Strengthens abdominal muscles.
- Thoroughly ventilates the lungs, and oxygenates the blood.
- Tones up the nervous system and improves memory.
- Promotes sleep and calms anxiety.
- Normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands - especially the thyroid gland.
- Refreshes the skin. Prevents Skin disorders.
- Improves muscle flexibility.
- Prevents loss of hair and graying.
- Helps reduce fat.
- Reduces abnormal prominence of the Adam's apple.
- Eliminates unpleasant smells from the body.
- Lends grace and ease of movements to the body.
- Revives and maintains the spirit of youthfulness.
- Broadens chest and beautifies arms.
- Makes the spine and waist flexible.
- Produces health, strength, efficiency and longevity.
- In women, stimulates the breasts to help firmness normally. Restores any lost elasticity, through stimulation of glands and the strengthening of pectoral muscles. Suppresses menstrual irregularity and assists in easy childbirth.
Who should NOT do Surya Namaskara?
- Pregnant women should not practice.
- Patients of Hernia and high blood pressure.
- People suffering from back conditions.
- Women should avoid Surya Namaskara during menses.