Surya Namaskar : The Sun Salutation

Suryanamaskar is the art of solar vitalization. It includes Asanas, Pranayama, Mantras and Mudras and hence is a complete meditative technique in itself. It comprises three aspects: Form, Vital Energy and Rhythm. Suryanamaskar is a combination of 12 different postures which are followed in a particular sequence with a specific breathing pattern.
"Hey Surya Dev , Mera Pranaam sweekar karen , Samasta Bhaagya Janit Sankaton Se meri raksha karen" ( O Lord Sun , Salutation to you . Please protect me from all ill effects that fate may have in store for me)." - Gheranda-samhita II.36

Surya Namaskar : The Sun Salutation - Detailed Description


1. Pranamasana
(The Prayer Pose)

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.
2. Hastauttanasana
(The Raised Arms pose)

Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers
You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you're reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.

3. Hasta Padasana
(The Hand to Foot pose)
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. You may bend the knees, if necessary, to bring the palms down to the floor. Now make a gentle effort to straighten the knees. It's a good idea to keep the hands fixed in this position and not move them henceforth until we finish the sequence.
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana
(The Equestrian pose)
Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers
You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you're reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.

5. Dandasana
(The Stick pose)
Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers
You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you're reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.
6. Ashtanga Namaskara
(Salute With Eight Parts or Points)
Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers
You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you're reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.

7. Bhujangasana
(The Cobra pose)
Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers
You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you're reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.
8. Parvatasana
(The Mountain pose)
Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers
You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you're reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.

9.Ashwa Sanchalanasana
(The Raised Arms pose)
(The Equestrian pose)
Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers
You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you're reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.
10. Hasta Padasana
(The Hasta Padasana)
Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers
You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you're reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.

11.Hastauttanasana
(The Raised Arms pose)
Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers
You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you're reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.
12. Tadasana
(The Palm Tree pose)

Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers
You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you're reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.

  1. Surya Namaskar provides all of the key health benefits of yoga in a very compact way. The apparent advantage of Surya Namaskar is the workout it provides for the muscles and also benefits joints, ligaments and the skeletal system by improving posture, flexibility and balance.
  2. In addition to these physical benefits, Surya Namaskar practice virtually stimulates and conditions every system of the body. It stimulates the cardiovascular system and is very good for the heart. It oxygenates the blood and helps in strengthening the heart. Surya Namaskar is also good for the digestive system and the nervous system. It stimulates the lymphatic system and supports respiratory system, as well.
  3. Practicing Surya Namaskar also benefits the Endocrine system and enables the various endocrinal glands to function properly. These include the thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands and the adrenal gland, testes and ovaries.
  4. Surya Namaskar provides mental benefits to regular practitioners. You will have a wonderful feeling after performing this pose. It is relaxing and rejuvenating, and melt away the tension, stress and anxiety.
Benefits of Surya Namaskar specific to each 12 yoga poses in the series :
  • Pose 1 (and 12): Stimulates the respiratory system, exercises shoulder, back and neck muscles and promotes balance
  • Pose 2 (and 11): Promotes balance, promotes digestion, exercises arms and shoulder muscles, tones the spine, promotes flexibility in back and hips
  • Pose 3 (and 10): Promotes blood circulation, tones abdominal tracts, stretches back and leg muscles, stimulates spinal nerves, stimulates lymphatic system
  • Pose 4 (and 9): Exercises spine, strengthens hand and wrist muscles
  • Pose 5 (and 8): Stimulates blood circulation, strengthens the heart, strengthens wrist and arm muscles, relieves neck and shoulder tension
  • Pose 6: Strengthens leg and arm muscles, increases flexibility in neck and shoulders, stretches arms, shoulder, neck and back muscles, exercises back muscles, releases tension in neck and shoulder
  • Pose 7: Stimulates circulation to abdominal organs, tones digestive tract, stretches upper and lower body, promotes flexibility in the back, stimulates nerves in spine
  • Poses 8 through 12 are essentially repetitions of poses 5 through 1, respectively. The health benefits of each are similar to their corresponding poses.
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