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Start Your Mornings with Surya Namaskara

Surya Namaskara

“Each morning we are born again, what we do today is what matters most” – Buddha

Yoga has been a crucial part of Indian culture meaning “to unite with self”, helping unite and synchronize body, mind, and breath for ages.

One of the most essential and beneficial practice in yoga is ‘Surya Namaskar’, also called ‘Sun Salutation’, a set of 12 poses to boost your health and body.

It is an aged yogic practice of paying respect and being thankful for the Sun. This energy is known as ‘Prana’ and is believed to revitalize your body and mind.

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Surya Namaskar is indispensable and a must that should be added to the schedule especially during the pandemic.

History of Surya Namaskara

History of Surya Namaskara

Surya Namaskar is one of the most important Yoga asanas offering worship to the Sun God and was prominently performed in most of the civilisations.

Old civilisations accepted Sun as their ruler and this can be seen in the ancient history of several civilisations; Egyptian, Indian, Peruvian, and many more.

In mid 1930s, this sequence made its way into Yoga, as it was refined and popularised by Bhavnarao Pant Pratinidhi in the 1920s.

It turned into an increasingly popular form of exercise that stretched and strengthened every muscle in the body making a perfect morning routine.

In 1928, Bhavanarao wrote a book called Surya Namaskars (Sun Adoration) for Health, Efficiency, and Longevity.

Benefits of Surya Namaskara

Benefits of Surya Namaskara

It is said that the person who does Surya Namaskar is untouched by poverty for his thousand lifetimes.

A healthy and strong body is a major requirement in the current times. This is a gift given by the ancient sages, to lead a long life, giving the following benefits:

  • Improves Body Functioning: It helps improve the functioning of the heart and lungs, strengthens the muscles of the arms and waist, increases body flexibility, improves body postures, and enhances musculoskeletal functions of the upper and lower limbs.
  • Better Digestion: It helps improve digestion and metabolism, also helps in avoiding indigestion, acidity, and nausea.
  • Helps in Weight Loss: This practice stretches muscles; helps reduce excess weight and fat, and tones your body.
  • Stress Relief: It helps reduce stress, improve memory and nervous system bringing calmness, and improving concentration.
  • Improves Blood Circulation: This practice involves inhalation and exhalation, continuously ventilating the lungs, and keeping the blood oxygenated that effectively detoxifying the body.

The best time to do Surya Namaskar is during the sunrise with exposure to the sun to activate our solar plexus.

Remember to not eat or drink immediately before or after doing it and to perform it in a peaceful place with fresh air.

Steps of Surya Namaskara
Steps of Surya Namaskara
POSE 1

Pranamasana (Prayer Pose) 

  • Touch both the feet with hands joined at the center of the chest in a prayer position
  • Keep the back and neck straight and eyes looking in the front
  • Breathing: Kumbhak (Holding the breath)
  • Chant: Om Ravaye Namah 
  • Benefit: Helps balance the body and relax the nervous system.

 

POSE 2

Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

  • While breathing in, lift the arms up and back, biceps close to the ears, and try to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers.
  • Breathing: Purak (Taking in a long breath)
  • Chant: Om Ravaye Namah 
  • Benefit: Strengthens, stretches, and tones abdominal muscles. It improves breathing.
POSE 3     

Hastapadasana (Standing Forward Bend)

  • Bend forward from the waist keeping the spine erect, and bring the hands down to the floor beside the feet.
  • Breathing: Rechak (Leaving out a long breath)
  • Chant: Om Suryaya Namah 
  • Benefit: Increases waist and spine flexibility, strengthens muscles and is beneficial for liver functioning.
POSE 4

Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

  • Push right leg back, stretch as far as possible, touch the right knee to the floor and look up stretching the neck muscles
  • Breathing: Purak (Taking in a long breath)
  • Chant: Om Bhanave Namah 
  • Benefits: Strengthens leg muscles, makes spine and neck flexible and helps in easing indigestion and constipation.

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POSE 5

Dandasana (Stick Pose)

  • Bring your whole body in a straight line by taking your left leg back
  • Breathing: Rechak
  • Chant: Om Khagaya Namah 
  • Benefits: Strengthens arms, chest, shoulder, and spine; maintains body posture, and calms the minds.
POSE 6

Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with Eight Parts Pose)

  • Exhale while bringing your knees down to the floor, take hips back slightly, slide forward and rest your chest and chin on the floor while raising your posterior a bit.
  • Both of your hands, feet, knees, chest, and chin should touch the floor.
  • Breathing: Kumbhak
  • Chant: Om Pushne Namah 
  • Benefits: Increases flexibility of the back and spine, strengthens muscles, and reduces stress and anxiety.
POSE 7    

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

  • Slide forward while raising the chest into a cobra pose keeping your elbows bent.
  • Shoulders should be away from ears and the face should be up looking at the sky/ceiling.
  • Breathing: Purak
  • Chant: Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namah 
  • Benefits: Stretches and strengthens shoulders, chest, and back and increases flexibility.
POSE 8

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

  • While breathing out, lift the hips and the tailbone up to bring the body into an inverted V pose.
  • Breathing: Rechak
  • Chant: Om Marichaye Namah 
  • Benefits: Helps in increasing blood flow in the spinal region and strengthens muscles of arms and legs.
POSE 9         

Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

  • Breathe in while bringing the right foot forward in between both hands.
  • Place the left knee goes down on the floor, press the hip down, and look upwards while stretching your back and neck.
  • Breathing: Purak
  • Chant: Om Adityaya Namah 
  • Benefits: It helps in torso toning and brings flexibility to muscles.
POSE 10

Hastapadasana (Standing Forward Bend)

  • Breathing out, bring forward the left foot, keep the palms on the floor.
  • You may bend the knee slightly if required.
  • Breathing: Rechak
  • Chant: Om Savitre Namah 
  • Benefits: It stretches the hamstrings and opens the hips, shoulders, and arms.
POSE 11      

Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

  • Roll the spine up while inhaling, raise the hands up, and bend backward a bit pushing the hip slightly outward.
  • Breathing: Purak
  • Chant: Om Arkaya Namah 
  • Benefits: Stretches and tones abdominal muscles and expands the chest to its full capacity of inhalation.
POSE 12

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

  • As you exhale, straighten your body, bring down your arms
  • Relax in the position and feel the sensation in your body
  • Breathing: Rechak
  • Chant: Om Bhaskaraya Namah 

These steps complete one set of Surya Namaskar.

To complete the round, repeat the steps by replacing right foot with left one in pose 4 and left foot with right one in pose 9.

Do remember to perform it every morning for a healthy lifestyle.

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Written by Ayushi Surana

I have been pursuing my graduation in knitwear designing from NIFT, New Delhi. Belonging to the city of ghats, Varanasi, I have always been attracted to any art form or Indian culture I have come across. I have an open mind for key ideas and a keen eye for details. I believe that my art and design journey is an active and ongoing learning process. I like to explore, develop and let my imagination guide me based on my knowledge

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