Sun Salutation Yoga Pose (Surya Namaskar)
Experiencing the All-round Benefits of the Sun Salutation Yoga Pose (Surya Namaskar)
Surya Namaskar is a series of twelve physical postures. These alternating backward and forward bending postures flex and stretch the spinal column through their maximum range giving a profound stretch to the whole body.
Often, after a hard day work, we would just flop down on the couch apparently relaxing our bodies – but it is not so. The stagnant energies remain locked up and the organs remain de-oxygenated to a large extent. Surya Namaskar has a deep effect in detoxifying the organs through copious oxygenation and has a deeper relaxing effect.
To list some of the benefits of Suryanamaskar:
1. Tones up the digestive system by the alternate stretching and compression of abdominal organs. It activates digestion and gets rid of constipation and dyspepsia.
2. Strengthens abdominal muscles.
3. Thoroughly ventilates the lungs, and oxygenates the blood.
4. Acts as detoxifying agent, by getting rid of enormous quantity of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.
5. Promotes sleep and calms anxiety.
6. Tones up the nervous system and improves memory.
7. Normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands – especially the thyroid gland.
8. Refreshes the skin. Prevents Skin disorders.
9. Improves muscle flexibility.
10. In women, restores any lost elasticity, through stimulation of glands and the strengthening of pectoral muscles.
11. Menstrual irregularity and assists in easy childbirth.
12. Prevents loss of hair and graying.
13. Helps reduce fat.
14. Eliminates unpleasant smells from the body.
15. Lends grace and ease of movements to the body.
16. Revives and maintains the spirit of youthfulness.
17. Broadens chest and beautifies arms.
18. Makes the spine and waist flexible.
19. Produces health, strength, efficiency and longevity.
Who should NOT do Surya Namaskar?
• Pregnant women should not practice this after third month of pregnancy.
• Patients of Hernia and high blood pressure are warned against this practice.
• People suffering from back conditions should seek proper advice before commencing Surya Namaskar.
• Women should avoid Surya Namaskar during menses.
How to do?
As mentioned Surya Namaskar is a flowing series of 12 yoga postures. Before each round we chant the name of Sun. Total names of Sun are 12. These are described below:
1. Om Mitraye Namah – – Friend Of All
2. Om Ravaye Namah – – Praised By All
3. Om Suryaya Namah – – Guide Of All
4. Om Bhanave Namah – – Bestower Of Beauty
5. Om Khagaye Namah – – Stimulator Of Senses
6. Om Pushne Namah – – Nourisher Of All
7. Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namah – – The Creator
8. Om Marichaye Namah – – Destroyer Of Disease
9. Om Adityay Namah – – The Inspirer
10. Om Savitre Namah – – The Purifier
11. Om Arkaya Namah – – The Radiant
12. Om Bhaskaraya Namah – – The Illuminator
Note: Always End Up Surya Namaskar By With “Om ShriSavitr Surya NarayanayeNamah.”
Synchronizing the breath with the movements of the body is very important. The basic breathing principle is to inhale whenever body is in pain and exhale whenever body relaxes.
The Twelve Postures:
Pranamasana (Salutation posture): Start from Here Always.
Stand erect with feet together. Join the palms together in front of the chest. Concentrate on standing straight, steady and in a prayerful attitude. This posture helps to induce a state of introversion, relaxation and calmness. It activates the anahata chakra. Exhale fully.
1. Urdhav asana/Hastauttanasana (Raised arm posture)
Inhaling stretch both arms above the head, palms facing upward. Arch the back and stretch the whole body. This posture stretches the chest and the abdomen and lifts the Prana (energy) upward to the upper parts of the body propelled by inhalation.
2. Padahastasana (Hand to foot posture)
Exhaling bend the body forward and down, keeping the spine straight. Avoid collapsing the chest or “over-rounding” the upper back. Keep the legs straight and perpendicular to the ground. The knees may be allowed to bend a little if needed. This posture massages the abdominal organs, especially the liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenals, uterus and ovaries. The power of digestion increases and female disorders such as prolapsed and menstrual irregularities are relieved. A healthy flow of blood is sent to the spinal nerves as they are stretched and toned. The hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh and calf muscles are stretched and toned. Inversion increases blood flow to the brain. The Prana is channeled to the lower regions of the body propelled by exhalation.
3. EkPadhaPrasarnasana (Equestrian posture)
On your next inhalation, extend the left leg back and drop the knee to the ground. The right knee is bent and kept between the hands and the right foot placed flat on the ground. Lift the spine and open the chest. Concentrate at the eyebrow center.
4.Dwi Pada Prasarnasana (Stick Pose)
On the exhalation bring the right leg back to join with the left leg. Bring your whole body parallel to ground. This posture strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs, stretches the calf muscles and makes the spine straight and taut. It relieves varicose veins and tones spinal nerves. Maintaining the posture take a deep inhalation.
5. SashankAsana(Hare Pose)
Exhaling come to this position. Good asana for relaxing the whole body. Maintaining the posture take a deep inhalation. Maintaining the posture take a deep inhalation.
6. AshtangaNamaskara/ SashtangaPranipat Asana (Salutation with eight limbs)
Exhaling gently drop both knees to the ground and slowly slide the body down at an angle as you bring the chest and chin to the ground. All eight limbs – toes, knees, chest, hands and chin – touch the floor. The buttocks are kept up. Hold the breath. This posture develops the chest and strengthens arms. It sends additional blood to this area helping to rejuvenate the nerves.
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra posture)
On the inhalation, lower the hips while pushing the chest forward and upward with the hands, until the spine is fully arched and the head is facing up. The knees and lower abdomen remain above the floor. Focus the awareness at the base of spine and feel the tension from the forward pull. This pose gives dynamic expansion to the organs of the chest and abdomen, relieving many ailments such as asthma, constipation, indigestion, kidney and liver problems. It is very helpful in relieving tension in the back muscles and spinal nerves.
8. Parvatasana/ AdhoMukhSvanAsana (Mountain posture)
Exhale and upward your hip, legs are straight and the head is facing inside.
9. AshwaSanchalanasana/ EkPadhPrasarnAsana (Equestrian posture)
Inhale and swing the right leg forward between the hands. The left leg remains back. Resume posture 3.
10. Padahastasana (Hand to foot posture)
Exhaling, bring the left foot forward. Join both legs and resume posture 2.
11. Hastauttanasana/Urdhavasana (Raised arm posture)
Inhale, raise the trunk up and bend backward. Resume posture 1.
12. Pranamasana (Salutation posture)
Exhale Straighten the body and bring the hands in front of the chest.
Note:The above constitutes one half of a round of Surya Namaskara. To complete the other half the same movements are repeated except that the right leg is brought back in posture 3 and the left foot is brought forward in posture 9. So one full round consists of the exercises done twice. Practice up to 6 rounds in the morning and 6 rounds in the evening.
When the exercises are done a little quickly, the gain is more physical while if they are done slowly with breath awareness the gain is more mental and spiritual.If for any reason, the above directions seem confusing, it is best to see the Surya Namaskar in visual flow. It will help you do the practice correctly without the risk of doing harm to your body. Incorporate the Surya Namaskar into your daily routine and make a positive difference to your life.