Sun Salutation, also called as Surya Namaskar was preached and practiced by many gurus in India and gradually gained popularity around the world. Originally it is practiced to acknowledge the Sun. Surya Namaskar is a way to wake up your body, warm up, study the mind, treat ailments, energize and uplift your spirit as you set out for a new day. It extracts the energy in the mind and body. It is the first asana practiced before doing any other yoga asanas. The best time to practice is either before Sunset or by the break of dawn, as it is always suggested that yoga asanas should be practiced with an empty stomach.
People those who practice Surya Namaskar every day are very active throughout the day. The main reason is that, for a normal human only 30% to 40% of muscles are active and the remaining are inactive, while a Surya Namaskar practitioner has all the muscles in an active state. The breathing practice followed during the asana provides relief from stress and anxiety. To reap the full benefits of the pose, you should practice it every day with an optimistic attitude towards it. It is a smooth and effortless sequence of steps that harmonizes your mind and body.
Sun Salutation Yoga Sequence:
Sun salutation is a vinyasa or a practice where we combine our breath with the movements. Whereas, the most important thing to be considered is to be conscious and connected with your breath. Sun Salutation involves 12 different poses of which each one has its own importance. Let us now once look at those poses step by step.
Step 1: Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
Stand on the verge of a mat, keeping your feet together and balance your weight evenly on both feet. Expand your chest and relax your shoulders. As you inhale, raise both the arms to the side and as you exhale, bring your palms together in front of the chest in prayer position.
Step 2: Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
In this step, breathe in and raise your arms up and back, keeping the biceps near the ears. In this position, the effort is to stretch the entire body from the heels to the tips of your fingers. Here, you can push your pelvis forward a little. Make sure you are getting it with your fingers instead of trying to bend backward.
Step 3: Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
Breathe in with open arms sideways and swan dive to the ground bending the legs. Lean forward and try to touch your knees with your forehead.
Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Breathing in, push your right leg behind you as far back as possible. Bring the right knee and look upwards.
Step 5: Parvathasan (Mountain Pose)
Bring your right leg back near the left leg, keeping hands and legs straight. Bend your body at the hip arc, like a mountain, known as 'Parvathasan or mountain pose'.
Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with Eight Parts or Points)
Smoothly bring knees towards the floor and exhale. Take hips slightly backward, slide forward, resting the chest and chin on the floor. Raise your back a little. Make two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and chin (eight parts of the body) touching the ground.
Step 7: Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Slide ahead and lift the chest upwards in the Cobra posture. You can keep your elbows curved in this pose, shoulders away from your ears and then Look Up.
Step 8: Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Bring your right leg back near the left leg, keeping hands and legs straight. Bend your body at the hip arc, like a mountain, known as 'Parvathasan or mountain pose'. In other words, as you exhale, raise your hips and tail bone up and then down the chest in an "inverted V" (/ \) position.
Step 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Breathing in, realize the right foot forward between the two hands, left knee towards the floor, press the waist down and look upwards. Place the right foot precisely between both the hands and make it the right angle to the ground calf. In this position, make an effort to gently push your hips toward the floor to increase the stretch.
Step 10: Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
As you exhale, bring your left foot forward. Keep palms of the hands on the floor. You can bend your knees if necessary. Gently straighten the knees and if you can, try to touch your nose to the knees. Hold your breath.
Step 11: Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Breathing in, turn the column up, hands up and bend back slightly by pushing the hips slightly outward. Make sure your biceps are next to their ears. The idea is to stretch more instead of stretching backward.
Step 12: Tadasana
Stand with your feet close together and joining the hands in front of your chest. Close your eyes and chant properly Mantra - "Om Namaha Mitrayah". Then breathe normally.
When to Do Surya Namaskar?
Morning is definitely one of the best moments to practice yoga. It is a good idea to do Surya Namaskar early in the morning and at dawn, on an empty stomach. You can practice greeting the Sun at dawn and dusk. When the moon is visible, you can practice Moon (Chandra Namaskar) having an additional position in the sequence of yoga Sun salutation.
Sun Salutation Benefits
Surya Namaskar or Sun salutations is practice to be done by facing the Sun early in the morning, allowing the rays to fall on the body and asking the devine to help in keep the human mind and body healthy. SuryaNamaskar can also be practiced during Sunset in the evening where it provides vitamin D to strengthen bones and helps in getting the good vision for eyes.
Also helps in having a flexible spine and waist by removing various ailments. Sun Salutation progresses blood circulation in your body and safeguards you from several diseases of the skin. Surya Namaskar practice on a daily basis helps burning extra calories, reducing the additional weight and keeps you strong and tough.
Surya namaskar also helps in improving your fitness. It has been demonstrated that the realization of the poses at a fast pace tends to tone your body and boost the flow of blood to major organs in the body and, therefore, being physically fit and healthy.
Surya Namaskar is beneficial for women also in maintaining the beauty and to always keep the body fit. It helps in reducing unwanted fat, keeps the menstrual cycle and helps to normal childbirth during pregnancy.
Surya Namaskar enhances balance, posture and flexibility, and benefits the ligaments and joints. One can also become mentally and emotionally invigorated.
How Surya Namaskar is Helpful for Weight Loss?
Sun Salutation Plays an effective role to reduce weight. Nowadays life becomes very hectic and stressful. Everyone is so busy and therefore it is very important to change their lifestyle. You can follow the above mentioned 12 steps in reducing your weight.
Sun Salutation is a warm up exercise. This pose causes weight loss through increased metabolism rate. When the metabolism rate increases, the fat deposited in the body gets burned and finally helps for weight loss. It is just an exercise which covers all body muscles.
Please consult a doctor if you have issues like back pain, breathing problem, skin disease, etc as sometimes the Surya Namaskara could lead to other effects unknowingly. If you have any difficulty with your pregnancy, avoid the Surya Namaskar. This is because it can be physically stressful.
Who Can Do Sun Salutation?
There is certainly no sex or age limitations on the practice of Surya Namaskara. Young and old, men and women can do it and win its benefits. However, ladies should not do after their fourth month of pregnancy, but may be continued after child delivery. In addition, ladies are recommended not to do so during menstruation.
Sun Salutation is an influential method for removing toxins from the body. These toxins must be disposed too quickly, as they can manifest themselves in a variety of awkward and finally lead to massive painful. If the signs and symptoms of fever begin to show, reduce the number of rounds of Surya Namaskara or even completely stop it. The toxins should be removed from the body, but it should be done gradually over a period of weeks or months using Surya Namaskara, asanas and pranayama.
The Surya Namaskar is also perfect for spiraling your mind. It also educates how to be calm and not react without thinking. It is also an ultimate exercise during travel without having any equipment.
Sun Salutation practice hardly takes about 30 minutes. Wake up early and start the asanas to make your soul talk to you and rethink before doing your daily activates. If you are really too busy to practice it during the morning, you practice it during the Sunset.