Introduction Sun Surya Namaskara or Sun Salutation is an ancient technique of paying respect or expressing gratitude to the sun that is the source of all forms of life on the planet. It consists of a sequence of twelve asanas. This technique was originated in India, where many Hindu followers worship the Hindu solar deity Surya. It is regularly practice in many Indian schools. Surya Namaskara is performed on an empty stomach. Therefore it is recommended to make a gap of at least two hours after eating and before performing the namaskara. It is generally practiced in the morning before breakfast or in evening. While performing twelve steps of Surya Namaskar twelve different mantras are chanted.
Steps of Surya Namaskar
Step 1- Prayer pose or Pranamasana
Stand at the edge of your mat, keep your feet together and balance your weight equally on both the feet. Expand your chest and relax your shoulders. As you breathe in, lift both arms up from the sides and as you exhale, bring your palms together in front of the chest in prayer position. “om mitrāya namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 2- Raised Arms pose or Hasta Uttanasana
Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the objective is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers. To get maximum benefits, you may pull the pelvis forward and ensure reaching up with your fingers rather than going backwards. “om ravaye namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 3- Hand to Foot pose or Hastapaadasana
Breathing out, bend forward from the waist, keeping the spine erect. As you exhale completely, bring the hands down to the floor, beside the feet. “om sūryāya namaḥ” is is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 4- Equestrian pose or Aekpaadprasarnaasana
Breathing in, push your right leg back, as far back as possible. Bring the right knee to the floor and look up. “om bhānave namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 5- Stick pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana / Parvatasana-
As you breathe in, take the left leg back and bring the whole body in a straight line and keep your arms perpendicular to the floor. “om khagāya namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 6- Saluting with eight points or parts or Ashtanga Namaskara
Gently bring your knees down to the floor and exhale. Take the hips back slightly, slide forward, rest your chest and chin on the floor. Raise your posterior a little bit .The two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and chin (eight parts of the body) should touch the floor. “om pūṣṇe namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 7- Cobra pose or Bhujangasana
Slide forward and raise the chest up into the cobra posture. You may keep your elbows bent in this pose, the shoulders away from the ears. Look up. As you inhale, make a gentle effort to push the chest forward; as you exhale, make a gentle effort to push the navel down. Tuck the toes under. Ensure you’re stretching just as much as you can; do not force. “om hiraṇya garbhāya namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 8- Mountain pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana
Breathing out, lift the hips and the tail bone up, chest downwards in an ‘inverted V’ (/\) posture. If possible, try and keep the heels on the ground and make a gentle effort to lift the tailbone up, going deeper into the stretch. “om marīcaye namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 9- Equestrian pose or Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Breathing in, bring the right foot forward in between the two hands, left knee down to the floor, press the hips down and look up and 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 down towards the floor, to deepen the stretch. “om ādityāya namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 10- Hand to foot pose or Uttanasana
Breathing out, bring the left foot forward. Keep the palms on the floor. You may bend the knees, if necessary. Gently straighten the knees and if you can, try and touch your nose to the knees. Keep breathing. “om savitre namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 11- Raised Arms pose or Hasta Uttanasana
Breathing in, roll the spine up, hands go up and bend backwards a little bit, pushing the hips slightly outward. Ensure that your biceps are beside your ears. The idea is to stretch up more rather than stretching backwards. “om arkāya namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Step 12- Prayer pose or Pranamasana
As you exhale, first straighten the body, and then bring the arms down. Relax in this position; observe the sensations in your body. “om bhāskarāya namaḥ” is chanted while performing this asana.
Benefits of Surya Namaskar
It has enormous benefits when done daily & faithfully as per instructions-
- Strengthens the entire digestive system (including stomach, pancreas, intestines, liver, etc.) and cures, and prevents constipation.
- Energizes the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, lower plexus, and cures brain-fag, forgetfulness, worries and other forms of mental derangement.
- Improves the quality and circulation of the blood. Invigorates the heart and will cure and prevent blood pressure, palpitation.
- Strengthens the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers, back, stomach, waist, abdomen, intestines, thighs, knees, calves and ankles. Strengthening the back is known to be a simple but efficient remedy for kidney troubles.
- If you’re facing the problem of an irregular menstrual cycle, these asanas will help you suppress this irregularity and if practiced daily, it ensures an easy childbirth.
- It improves your blood circulation that aids in bringing back the glow on your face; preventing the onset of wrinkles, making your skin look ageless and radiant. It also prevents hair loss and the ageing of hair.
- It stabilizes the activity of the endocrine and thyroid glands, thereby reducing anxiety and inducing the sensation of complete calmness and tranquility.
- Reduces redundant fat, especially the fat about the abdomen, hips, thighs, neck and chin. Moreover, It helps to strengthen your entire skeletal system including your ligaments.
- Makes you immune from disease by tremendously increasing your disease-resisting power
- Improves knock-knees in walking & improves sciatica nerve pain.