Surya Namaskar poses or the sun salutation, which is very commonly practiced in most forms of yoga, originally evolved as a type of worship of surya, the Vedic solar deity. Surya the Hindu solar deity by concentrating on the sun, for vitalization. It consists of Yogasana and Pranayama. It is useful in all the age groups of people. A full round of surya namaskar poses is considered to be two sets of the twelve poses with the change in the second set where opposite leg is moved first.
Surya Namaskar poses, are traditionally performed in the morning to greet the new day. This sequence of postures can be a complete practice in itself or can prepare you for a longer asana routine. Sun Salutes are often performed in sets of five, but if you are new to the practice, it’s wise to begin with two or three. Each time you flow through this sequence, synchronize your breath with the movements of your body.
1. Mountain Pose with Hands in Prayer
To begin, stand in Tadasana Namaskar (Mountain Pose with Hands in Prayer). Distribute your weight evenly over both feet. Establish a slow, steady rhythm for your breath. Find your center.
2. Mountain Pose, Arm Overhead
Next, inhale and stretch your arms out to the side and overhead into Tadasana Urdhva Hastasana. Reach your heart and arms to the heavens, sending your greeting to the sun.
3. Standing Forward Bend
As you exhale, hollow out your belly and fold into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), connecting down into the earth. Keep your legs firmly engaged.
4. Half Standing Forward Bend
Inhale and lengthen your spine forward into Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend). In this pose, the gaze is lifted, the spine is extended, and the fingertips can stay on the floor or rise to the shins.
5. Standing Forward Bend
Exhale, hollow out your belly and fold back into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend). Inhale.
6. Plank Pose
On your next exhalation, step or lightly hop your feet back behind you into Plank Pose. Your wrists should be flat on the floor, shoulder-distance apart, and your feet should be at hip distance. Take a full breath in as you lengthen through your spine.
7. Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Exhale and lower into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), keeping your legs straight and pushing back into your heels or bringing your knees to the floor. Build heat in the centre of your body as you hold this challenging posture.
8. Upward-Facing Dog
Inhale and carve your chest forward into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog), directing that energy out from your heart. Pull your shoulders back and open your collarbones. Engage your legs but relax your gluteal muscles.
9. Downward-Facing Dog
Exhale and roll over the toes, coming into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose). Ground down through your hands and feet as you lengthen your spine. Remain here for several breaths.
Step the left foot forward on an inhalation into Lunge. If you struggle to bring your foot smoothly and completely forward, bend your knees to the floor right after Downward Dog, step forward between the hands, then straighten the back knee into Lunge.
11. Mountain Pose
Exhale and return to Tadasana, your home base. Remain here for a few breaths, feeling the movement of energy through your body, or continue on to your next salute.
General benefits of Surya Namaskar
The practice of Surya Namaskara as a whole gives a great numbers of benefits which anr following:
- Surya Namaskar or sun salutation ideally done facing the early morning sun, helps our body to soak in its benefits- sun rays are a rich source of vitamin D and helps to strengthen our bones and also helps to clear our vision.
- This asana, apart from improving one’s posture, also gives a proper workout to the body and so helps in losing unwanted body flab.
- Regular practices of this asana can also help you lose the excess body fat.
- It loosens up the joints in the body and tones the muscles and the internal organs.
- Surya Namaskar balances the respiratory circulatory reproductive and endocrine system.
- The posture in Surya Namaskar stretch our muscular system and makes our body very flexible.
- The moves and postures of the asana help all our internal organs function better the various poses regulates our blood flow, benefits the respiratory circulatory reproductive and endocrine system and make it more efficient.
- It helps combat insomnia as it relaxes the body calms the mind removes lethargy and makes our mind alert.
- It helps regulate menstrual cycles and makes childbirth easier.
- Surya Namaskar activates the pingala nadi (Surya nadi) which enhances the energy level in the body.