Originating from Vedic philosophy, the Surya Namaskar that translates to ‘Sun Salutation’ in English is a wide spread yoga performed by many for different reasons.
Normally suggested to perform twice in a row every day, the Surya Namaskar has quite healing effects on body and mind when followed regularly.
12 Poses in Surya Namaskar
Step 1- Prayer Pose- Heart chakra
Step-2- Raised arm pose – Throat chakra
Step-3-Hand to Foot pose- Sacral chakra
Step-4- Equestrian Pose- Third eye chakra [Right Leg forward]
Step-5- Mountain Pose- Throat chakra
Step-6- Astanga Namaskar- Solar chakra
Step-7- Cobra Pose- Sacral chakra
Step-8- Mountain Pose- Throat chakra
Step-9- Equestrian pose- Third eye chakra [Left Leg forward]
Step-10-Hand to Foot pose- Sacral chakra
Step-11-Raised arm pose – Throat chakra
Step 12-Prayer Pose- Heart chakra
Things to keep in mind before performing Surya Namaskar
When To Perform?
First of all, Surya Namaskar is best done early morning on an empty stomach or light stomach facing the rising sun. If it is practised in the evening it triggers the digestive fire. However, if you give enough time after a meal, than you can perform the same as well.
It is a good idea to do some Sukshma Vyayama or gentle warm-up stretches before you start with the Surya Namaskar rounds. This helps remove restlessness in the body and prepares it for Surya Namaskar yoga postures.
East Or West?
Surya Namaskar should be performed facing the East direction if you are doing it in the morning and you should face West if you are doing it in the evening.
Be Gentle And Graceful
Most of the times, beginners start to strive to achieve a higher number of times of Surya Namaskar rounds. Therefore, there is often a tendency of spoiling the pace and gracefulness of the asanas. Thus, avoid it and allow the postures to flow gently and gracefully one into the other.
Surya Namaskar could be very energizing if done with gratitude, grace, at a slow pace and with awareness on the breath. If done with proper awareness, one can feel the flow of energy starting from the Navel chakra to the entire body.
While doing Sun Salutation, breathe normally. Breathing should not be forceful. Breathe slowly, gently and effortlessly, with awareness on each breath that you inhale and exhale. Try and keep the breath in harmony with every body movement.
The Surya Namaskar has a subtle yet powerful and intense positive effect on the mind and body. Each of the 12 Surya Namaskar poses have 12 corresponding mantras recited in honor of the Sun. Further, as you do each posture, take your attention to the particular chakra (12 chakras for every posture). Doing your Sun Salutations with mantra chants and awareness on chakras, adding a feeling of gratitude, adds a profound spiritual and meditative aspect to your practice.
After you perform the last round of Surya Namaskar, lie down and relax your entire body. For best results, it is advisable to lie down in Yoga Nidra, giving the body enough time to assimilate the effects of the stretches. However, if you are short on time, you can relax for a few minutes in Corpse Pose, for complete rest to the mind and body.
Surya Namaskar is best practiced in open air atmosphere or well ventilated room on a clean mat or carpet. Wearing loose, light and comfortable clothing is suggested. You should also maintain 30 minutes gap for taking bath before or after the practice.
Benefits of Performing Surya Namaskar
There are several benefits of performing Surya Namaskar. However, most of the performers do it to lose weight, while others do it to improve posture which provides strength to the muscles. It strengthens the heart, nervous system, digestive system, abdominal organs and also removes stress and helps you get sound sleep. Surya Namaskar further detoxifies the body by getting rid of enormous quantity of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.
Moreover, other benefits of performing Surya Namaskar include preventing loss of hair and graying, reducing abnormal prominence of the Adam’s apple, eliminating unpleasant smells from the body, reviving and maintaining the spirit of youthfulness, making the spine and waist flexible among others.