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Surya Namaskar – Sun Salutation Steps and Benefits

Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) - FITZABOUT

Surya Namaskar (Sun salutation) is a great way to begin any yoga practice. This unified series of 12 asanas highlights several essential physical properties of asana practice sequentially:

  • Excellent for initiating the conscious connection of the breath to movement in the body.
  • Excellent for warming the whole body and preparing for all other asanas.
  • Surya Namaskar offers a gentler sequence of asanas appropriate for beginning-level and early morning classes.
  • Excellent dynamic awakening of the spiral erector muscles, hip flexors, and shoulder girdle.

With modifications and variations, most students can do Surya Namaskar (Sun salutation). In a group class, they assist to unify the category as everyone breathes and moves largely in unison. They warm and awaken the entire body, soften the muscles, open the joints, and stimulate the neurological, circulatory, and subtle energetic pathways, initiating conscious awareness and synchronization of movement in the breath, body, mind, and spirit. With innovation they’re a foundation for a spread of creative sequences across all families of asanas.

Within each form, there are many variations and modifications that enable teachers to accommodate the varying abilities, special needs, and conditions of different students.

Information

Name:Surya Namaskar, Sun Salutation, Salute to the Sun
Sanskrit Name:Surya Namaskar
English Name:Sun Salutation
Type:Stretch, Strength, Inversion
Muscle Worked:Entire body
Chakras:Anahata Chakra, vishuddhi chakra, agya chakra, Sahasrara Chakra, Manipura Chakra, Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra
Ayurveda:Pitta , Kapha
Elements:Thought , Fire , Water , Earth
Level:Beginner

What is Surya Namaskar?

“Surya” is a technical term for Hatha Yoga, which has been used for ‘Pingala-nadi’ (Sanskrit = पिङ्गला-नाड़ी, piṅgala-Nāḍī). The word ‘Surya’ used in ‘Surya Namaskar’ refers to the above mentioned Surya-Nadi.

The word ‘Namaskar’ used in it is made up of two ‘Namas’ and ‘kar’. Out of which the word ‘Namas’ is stored by “Acharya Yask” in his Vedānga-Granth named ‘Nighantu’ (Sanskrit = निघण्टु, Nighaṇṭu) in the meaning of ‘Vajra’ i.e., in the Veda, this word has come in the meaning of ‘Vajra’ and in the sense ‘ghan’ (Sanskrit = घञ्) credence passed through ‘डुकृञ् करणे धातु’, word ‘kar’ has to be used to mean, to do, to act, to make.

According to this, the meaning of ‘Surya Namaskar’ is to stimulate the fire of the body by making the bodily ‘Surya-nadi’ as healthy and strong as the thunderbolt.

Therefore, according to its meaning, this word is fully compatible and meaningful with the 12 asanas, because these asanas stimulate the fire of the body, so that the diseases of the body are destroyed.

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It is inappropriate to raise a dispute by associating the word ‘Surya Namaskar’ with a particular sect, because the meaning that is derived from it is a human-like issue, not applied to any particular sect. Because this meaning is compatible with the Vedic tradition and the intentions of the sages. Therefore, this compound named ‘Surya Namaskar’ is welfare for human beings only. Everyone should adopt it by leaving prejudice and accepting it with open heart.

Through the 12 different asanas of ‘Surya Namaskar’, by uttering the words of the different powers of God called ‘Surya’, while bowing to that God, we wish to hold those powers within. By doing this, those divine powers start coming in us and we are endowed with divine qualities.

When to practice?

It is recommended that you do Surya Namaskar early in the morning. However, if you are pressed for time, you can also do it in the evening. But before starting your yoga routine, make sure your stomach is empty.

Practicing Surya Namaskar in the morning rejuvenates your body and refreshes your mind. It makes you more active and prepares your body for everyday tasks with enthusiasm. Another benefit of doing this yoga in the morning is that the ultraviolet rays are not very harsh during this time. As a result, your skin is not exposed to sunlight and you can enjoy the benefits of this asana well.

If you are interested in doing Surya Namaskar in the morning, then you should practice it in the evening first. The reason behind this is that during the evening, our joints are flexible and the muscles of the body are more active, which makes it easier to practice different poses. If you practice Surya Namaskar with a rigid body, it can have serious consequences. Once you are accustomed to all 12 steps of asanas, you can conduct your yoga routine in the morning.

When done outdoors, this yoga sequence will enable you to form a deeper connection with the external environment. However, you also have the option to do it indoors, but make sure the room is adequately ventilated.

Here is another piece of advice for beginners. Begin by taking two rounds of Surya Namaskar on alternate days. After that slowly shift to two rounds every day and finally increase your set until you can do 12 rounds every day. Keep in mind that quickly increasing your rounds will have a negative effect on your body.

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Step by step Surya Namaskar (Sun salutation)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is sequence of 12 steps of asanas. In this section; Sequencing Cues for Breath and Movement and we will discuss how to perform each of them properly.

Sequences

Sequence your instructions as with the sun solution until arriving in Pranamasana (Prayer Pose).

  1. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
  2. urdhva hastasana (upward salute or palm tree pose)
  3. Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
  4. Aekpaadprasarnaasana (ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian pose)
  5. Parvatasana or Mountain pose
  6. sashtanga asana or adho mukha svanasana
  7. bhujangasana (cobra pose)
  8. Parvatasana or Mountain pose
  9. Aekpaadprasarnaasana (ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian pose)
  10. Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
  11. urdhva hastasana (upward salute or palm tree pose)
  12. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

1. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

Pranamasana (Prayer Pose) for Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) - FITZABOUT
Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
Name:Pranamasana, Prayer Pose
Breath:Normal
Chakra Position:Anahata Chakra
Mantra Chanting:om mitraya namah
(Sanskrit – ओऽम मित्राय नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hrāṁ
Steps:
  • Standing in a sun-facing position at the time of sunrise (heel, claws and knees are joined together) keep the hands in front of the chest in a salutation position.
  • Expand your chest and relax your shoulders, and let the thumb be in front of the heart, breathing speed will be normal.
  • In this way, the circuit of energy is created by standing with arms and legs together. As a result, the body becomes energetic soon.

2. Urdhva hastasana (upward salute or palm tree pose)

urdhva hastasana (upward salute or palm tree pose) - FITZABOUT
urdhva hastasana (upward salute or palm tree pose)
Name:urdhva hastasana, upward salute, palm tree pose
Breath:Inhaling
Chakra Position:vishuddhi chakra
Mantra Chanting:om ravaye namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम रवये नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hrīṁ
Steps:
  • After Pranamasana (Prayer Pose), inhale and lift the arms from the front and move them backwards without turning the elbows, your head will be located in the middle of the arms. Also keep your biceps close to the ears.
  • Withholding the breath, the vision should remain towards the sky, also tilt the waist backward as much as possible.
  • In this asana, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers.
  • For deepen this yoga stretch: you can push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure that you are reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backward.

3. Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose)

Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose) for Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) - FITZABOUT
Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
Name:Padahastasana, Hand to Foot Pose
Breath:Exhaling
Chakra Position:swadhisthana chakra
Mantra Chanting:om suryaya namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम सूर्याय नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hrūṁ
Steps:
  • After urdhva hastasana (upward salute or palm tree pose), exhale bend forward from the waist keeping the spine erect. As you exhale completely, place the hands on the ground near the feet.
  • If possible, also touch the palms from the right-left ground of the claws and try to place the head with the knees, making sure that the knee does not bend in any position.
  • For deepen this yoga stretch: you can bend the knees, if necessary, to bring your palms down to the floor.
  • Now make a gentle effort to straighten your knees. It is a good idea to keep your hands fixed in this position and not move them henceforth until you finish the sequence.

4. Aekpaadprasarnaasana (ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian pose)

Aekpaadprasarnaasana (ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian pose) - FITZABOUT
Aekpaadprasarnaasana (ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian pose)
Name:Aekpaadprasarnaasana, ashwa Sanchalanasana, Equestrian pose
Breath:Inhaling
Chakra Position:agya chakra
Mantra Chanting:om bhanave namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम भानवे नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hraiṁ
Steps:
  • After Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose), inhale, now keep the palms bent down on both sides of the chest while bending down.
  • With the left leg raised, the entire paw from the back will sit on the ground, the right leg will remain between the two hands. You can also put this foot slightly backward for convenience; But the heel is touching the ground in any case.
  • The knee should be in front of your chest, the vision should be towards the sky, the breath has to be filled in.
  • For deepen this yoga stretch: ensure that your right foot is exactly in between your palms.

5. Parvatasana or Mountain pose

Parvatasana or Mountain pose - FITZABOUT
Parvatasana or Mountain pose
Name:Parvatasana, Mountain pose
Breath:Exhaling
Chakra Position:vishuddhi chakra
Mantra Chanting:om khagaya namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम खगाय नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hrauṁ
Steps:
  • After Aekpaadprasarnaasana (ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian pose), exhale and move the right leg back as well.
  • Try to create an inverted V pose, to create inverted V pose, put your chest downwards.
  • The neck and head remain between the hands, raising the buttock and waist and try to see your navel by tilt the head.
  • For deepen this yoga stretch: keep your heel on the ground as much as possible. Make a moderate effort to elevate your tailbone. Slowly go deeper into the stretch.
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6. Sashtanga asana or Adho mukha svanasana

sashtanga asana or adho mukha svanasana for Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) - FITZABOUT
sashtanga asana or adho mukha svanasana
Name:Sashtanga asana, Adho mukha svanasana, Ashtanga Namaskara, Salute with eight parts or points
Breath:Normal
Chakra Position:manipura chakra
Mantra Chanting:om pushne namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम पूष्णे नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hraḥ
Steps:
  • After Parvatasana or Mountain pose, touch the ground with the chest and knees, keeping the hands and feet toes stable.
  • Thus two arms, two legs, two knees, chest and head or chin; By making these eight limbs stick to the ground, this sashtanga asana is created.
  • Breathing will be normal.

7. Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

bhujangasana (cobra pose) - FITZABOUT
Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
Name:Bhujangasana, Cobra pose
Breath:Inhaling
Chakra Position:swadhisthana chakra
Mantra Chanting:om hiranyagarbhaya namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम हिरण्यगर्भाय नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hrāṁ
Steps:
  • After sashtanga asana or adho mukha svanasana, inhale, lift the chest up and straighten the hands slowly (figure of Bhujangasana), both legs are met and taut.
  • You can keep your elbows bent in this pose with the shoulders away from your ears.
  • The portion up to the navel rests on the ground and the vision remains towards the sky.
  • For deepen this yoga stretch: as you inhale, make a mild effort to push your chest forward; as you exhale, make a mild effort to push your navel down. Tuck the toes under. Ensure that you are stretching just as much as you can and not forcing your body.

8. Parvatasana or Mountain pose

Parvatasana or Mountain pose - FITZABOUT
Parvatasana or Mountain pose
Name:Parvatasana, Mountain pose
Breath:Exhaling
Chakra Position:vishuddhi chakra
Mantra Chanting:om marichaye namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम मरीचये नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hrīṁ
Steps:
  • After Bhujangasana (cobra pose), exhale, raise the hips and the tailbone up to bring the body into an inverted ‘V’ pose.
  • Your neck and head should be in between both hands, raise the buttocks and waist, and try to look at the navel by tilting the head.
  • For deepen this yoga stretch: if possible, try to keep your heels on the bottom and make a gentle effort to lift your tailbone up, going deeper into the stretch.

9. sashtanga asana or adho mukha svanasana

Aekpaadprasarnaasana (ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian pose) - FITZABOUT
Aekpaadprasarnaasana (ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian pose)
Name:Aekpaadprasarnaasana, ashwa Sanchalanasana, Equestrian pose
Breath:Inhaling
Chakra Position:agya chakra
Mantra Chanting:om adityaya namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम आदित्याय नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hrūṁ
Steps:
  • After Parvatasana, Mountain pose, inhale, now keep the palms bent down on both sides of the chest while bending down.
  • With the right leg raised, the entire paw from the back will sit on the ground, your left leg will remain between the two hands. You can also put this foot slightly backward for convenience; But the heel is touching the ground in any case.
  • The knee should be in front of your chest, the vision should be towards the sky, the breath has to be filled in.
  • For deepen this yoga stretch: ensure that your left foot is exactly in between your palms.

10. Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose)

Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose) for Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) - FITZABOUT
Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
Name:Padahastasana, Hand to Foot Pose
Breath:Exhaling
Chakra Position:swadhisthana chakra
Mantra Chanting:om savitre namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम सवित्रे नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hraiṁ
Steps:
  • After sashtanga asana or adho mukha svanasana, exhale bend forward from the waist keeping the spine erect. As you exhale completely, place the hands on the ground near the feet.
  • If possible, also touch the palms from the right-left ground of the claws and try to place the head with the knees, making sure that the knee does not bend in any position.
  • For deepen this yoga stretch: you can bend the knees, if necessary, to bring your palms down to the floor.
  • Now make a gentle effort to straighten your knees. It is a good idea to keep your hands fixed in this position and not move them henceforth until you finish the sequence.

11. urdhva hastasana (upward salute or palm tree pose)

urdhva hastasana (upward salute or palm tree pose) - FITZABOUT
urdhva hastasana (upward salute or palm tree pose)
Name:urdhva hastasana, upward salute, palm tree pose
Breath:Inhaling
Chakra Position:vishuddhi chakra
Mantra Chanting:om arkaya namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम अर्काय नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hrauṁ
Steps:
  • After Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose), inhale and lift the arms from the front and move them backwards without turning the elbows, your head will be located in the middle of the arms. Also keep your biceps close to the ears.
  • Withholding the breath, the vision should remain towards the sky, also tilt the waist backward as much as possible.
  • In this asana, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers.
  • For deepen this yoga stretch: you can push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure that you are reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backward.

12. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

Pranamasana (Prayer Pose) for Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) - FITZABOUT
Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
Name:Pranamasana, Prayer Pose
Breath:Normal
Chakra Position:Anahata Chakra
Mantra Chanting:om bhaskaraya namah (Sanskrit – ओऽम भास्कराय नमः)
Bīja Mantra:Om Hraḥ
Steps:
  • After urdhva hastasana (upward salute or palm tree pose), keep your hands in front of the chest in a state of salutations while returning to the sun-facing position.
  • Thumbs of hands should be near the heart.
  • Keep the speed of breathing normal.
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Contraindications

Sequence of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) performed with the flow of energy with proper breathing, it requires a certain physical strength for beginners.

In this sequence the muscles are kept to work continuously, so it is done with good guidance while learning.

Avoid this sequence if you have following contraindications:

Physical weakness: Since it is a combined yoga sequence, care should be taken that one does not have any general weakness of the body or weakness of muscles and bones.

Bad back: In Surya Namaskar the spine expands and puts pressure on the lower back and hip. Therefore a person with an injured back should avoid it, even if someone has practiced it for years. It is necessary to seek the guidance of a yoga teacher or start slowly, when the yoga practitioner has recovered from a back disease or injury.

Pregnant woman: It is not appropriate to be done by pregnant women as it puts pressure on the area of back and abdomen.

Women should also avoid doing this during their periods.

High BP: People suffering from hypertension should avoid this sequence. But proper guidance from a yoga teacher and not an elderly one can start this sequence slowly and carefully.

Heart problem: One with heart problem should consult a physician before practicing sequence. Remember that the age factor plays a big role for someone with a heart condition.

Arthritis: Knee strength plays an important role in Surya Namaskar with different postures. So anyone who has arthritis, which causes knee stiffness, should slow it down or avoid sequence.

Wrist injury: Injuries to the wrist will make the sequence difficult due to pressure on the wrist in poses such as cobra pose, semi oral movements and moving to eight limb pose will cause more stress and injury to the wrist.

Benefits of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)

Surya Namaskar is much more than just a practice, and its practice gives very good results. It is also an important tool that empowers man to be free from the inevitable cycles and patterns of his life. Here are some common and physical benefits:

Top 10 common benefits of Surya Namaskar

Overall, the practice of Surya Namaskar brings many benefits which are as follows:

  • Surya Namaskar, ideally faced with morning sun, helps our body soak in its benefits – Sun rays are a rich source of vitamin D and help strengthen our bones. Helps and also helps in clearing our eyesight.
  • This sequence, in addition to improving one’s posture, also gives the body a proper workout and therefore helps in losing the unwanted part of the body.
  • Regular practice of this sequence can also help you in reducing excess body fat.
  • It loosens the joints in the body and tones the muscles and internal organs.
  • Surya Namaskar balances the respiratory, circulation, reproductive and endocrine systems.
  • Asanas in Surya Namaskar increase our muscles and make our body very flexible.
  • The sequence of movements and asanas help improve all our internal organs, various poses regulate our blood flow, benefit the respiratory, circulatory, reproductive and endocrine systems and make it more efficient.
  • It helps in fighting insomnia as it calms the body, calms the mind, removes lethargy and alerts our mind.
  • Sun solution helps in regulating menstrual cycle and makes delivery easier.
  • Surya Namaskar activates the Pingala Nadi (Surya Nadi) which increases the energy levels in the body.

Physical effects of Surya Namaskar on the body

Effect on the musculoskeletal system:

Regular training of Surya Namaskar requires four times more energy than daily requirement, thus it is a very good fat burner. This training improves the flexibility of the muscles of the body, especially in the leg, back, chest and buttock muscles.

It is found that regular practice of Surya Namaskar can significantly increase the grip, strength and endurance of the hand.

Effect on respiratory system:

Surya Namaskar training increases maximum respiratory pressure and maximum respiratory pressure.

This suggests that its training improves the strength of both respiratory and respiratory muscles. This improves the strength of the intercostal muscles and ultimately increases vital capacity and contractility of the lungs.

It has also been found that regular Surya Namaskar training leads to a significant change in critical vital capacity (FVC), forced respiration critical in 1 second (FEV1), peak exposure flow rate (PEFR) and vital capacity (VC) Quantity.

Effect on cardiovascular system:

It has been reported that yoga exercises incorporating Surya Namaskar into daily routine can improve cardiorespiratory efficiency and fitness. Increases in systolic blood pressure, peak exfoliant flow rate, forced vital capacity and decreased respiratory rate, heart rate and diastolic blood pressure were also reported in the practitioner.

There are several reports that suggest that regular Surya Namaskar exercises lead to relative vaginal domination, decreased sympathetic tone, and improvement in cardiac function.

Effect on the endocrine system:

Regularly practicing Surya Namaskar controls the body’s endocrine system, specifically, the pancreas, thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands.

The overall effect is very beneficial for metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism and menstrual disorders.

Effects on the nervous system:

Surya Namaskar tunes the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems. This effect is a boon for patients with low back pain, diabetes mellitus, and various neuronal weaknesses.

Effects on the gastrointestinal system:

Regular Surya Namaskar practice improves digestion, constipation and various gastrological problems.

Effect on mind:

Many studies have shown that Surya Namaskar positively influences both physical and psychological variables. This various asanas, breathing and chanting patterns produce a calmer, relaxed, more stable and tension-free mind.

Effect on various biochemical parameters:

Fasting blood sugar, postpartum blood sugar, and glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c levels are significantly reduced in diabetic patients.

The autonomic nervous system is usually involved in patients with diabetes, but practicing Surya Namaskar has a positive effect on the autonomic function of the body. Its regular practice reduces the oxidative stress of the body, which plays an important role in insulin resistance and complication in diabetes patients.

It also improves the lipid profile in diabetic patients which plays a supporting role in its complications. This reduces weight, BMI and waist-hip ratio.

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Co-founder Anjali Kumari - FITZABOUT

Written by Anjali Kumari. She is a certified yoga instructor, Diploma in Make up, Nails and Beauty, Diploma in Nutrition, Food, Science and Menu Planning. Anjali is the destination of choice for the latest updates, tips and resources in beauty, health and wellness, and all topics that mean the most to today’s woman. Whether it’s advice from a trusted expert or a DIY tutorial, she has it all. She is passionate and obsessive about science and how it can be applied in daily lifestyle. According to her, food is the best medicine and proper nutrition is the key to achieving good health and beauty. When she is not working, she likes to spend quality time with family and friends. She loves creating innovative, healthy recipes and healthy choices for foods to promote good health.