Surya Namaskar Ek, Fayde Anekh. In Surya Namaskar, Surya refers to “the sun,” and Namaskar means “bowing down in respect.” This has been the most popular yogic kriyas for many decades now, as it combines 12 yoga asanas in a yogic sequence.
Practicing Surya Namaskar daily helps in balancing three constituents of your body, i.e., Kapha, Pitta, and Vata, which will help you lead your life in a greater way and influence your creativity and intuitive abilities. It’s simple yet powerful poses are what make it possible for people of all age groups to perform it, anytime, anywhere
Types of Surya Namaskar
Over the centuries, Surya Namaskar has evolved, and its poses have differed into various styles and variations. Moreover, this is one yogic kriya that never diminished but has only expanded. In reality, Surya Namaskar is integrated into various types of yoga styles.
Let’s take a look at them in the section below:
1. Ashtanga Surya Namaskar: In the Ashtanga Surya Namaskar series, sun salutations have two forms. -Type A and B. Type A consists of 9 Vinyasas and type B consists of seventeen vinyasas.
2. Hatha Surya Namaskar: It is performed through the 12 spinal poses, which puts deep emphasis on breathing prominently. It is one of the most commonly practiced Surya Namaskar styles and possibly the easiest one.
3. Iyengar Surya Namaskar: Iyengar Surya Namaskar is similar to the Hatha practice, but here the focus is a little more on pace and energy, wherein, it is performed at a quicker pace than other Surya Namaskar types.
How To Do Surya Namaskar – Hatha Style
In this section let’s spend some time exploring the 12 classic poses of traditional Hatha Surya Namaskar.
Pose 1 – Prayer pose (Pranamasana)
- Start by standing straight at the front of your mat, bringing your feet together, and keeping arms loose alongside.
- Now, close your eyes and bring your palms to meet in the center of your chest. Relax the whole body.
- This pose relaxes the nervous system and helps improve balance. It also helps relieve stress and anxiety.
Pose 2 – Raised arms pose (Hasta Uttanasana)
- Hasta Uttanasana is started by exhaling deeply
- Inhale deeply thereafter, stretching your arms forward and bringing them up over your head.
- Look up and stretch the body slightly backward by pushing your pelvis forward.
- Breathe out. (Focus on breathing-in when you arch backward, and as you bend forward breathe-out.)
- Stretches and tones the muscles of the abdomen.
- Expands the whole body from heel to the tip of the fingers.
Pose 3 – Hand to Foot Pose (Hasta Padasana)
- Exhale and start to fold forward and down to the knees; as you come forward, keep the spine long.
- Hands down on the floor, have just your fingertips touching the floor.
- Bend the knees just enough so your chest can rest against the thighs, and your head touches your knee. Hold this position for a few seconds.
- It stretches the spine and makes it flexible.
- It also stretches the hamstrings and strengthens the legs, shoulders, and arms muscles.
Pose 4: Equestrian pose – Ashwa Sanchalanasana
- Next, step your right leg back, putting just the knee down and comfortably tucking the toes under.
- At the same time bend the left knee leaving the foot flat on the floor.
- Press the fingertips or palms down to the floor, roll the shoulders back, and slowly lookup.
- Strengthens the leg muscles and spine.
- Relieves in indigestion and constipation.
Pose 5 – Mountain pose (Parvatasana)
- Slowly exhale, having control bring your palms onto the floor and stepping the left foot back beside the right, lift your hips up into the air.
- Lengthening through your spine, bring the shoulders towards the ankles. Take a few breaths.
- It improves posture and calms the mind.
Pose 6 – Ashtanga Namaskara
- As you exhale, bend your knees to the ground, keeping your toes curled under, come down while pushing your head forward on the floor.
- Keep your elbows right in against your sides; giving you more strength.
- Now, as you build more strength in this transition, you can lower the chest down while keeping your hip and abdomen up in the air.
- It improves the flexibility of the back and spine.
- Strengthens the back muscle and relieves build up tension.
Your eight body chin, chest, both feet, both knees and both hands are worked in a single pose.
Pose 7 – Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
- Keep hands and feet right where they are. And inhale.
- Slide forward and raise your chest like a cobra.
- Roll the shoulders back, Keep your elbows bent, and squeeze them back towards each other.
- Slowly look up.
- It improves flexibility and mood.
- It stretches the shoulders, chest, back, leg muscles, all at once.
Pose 8 – Mountain pose (Parvatasana)
- While you exhale, tuck the toes under. (same as pose 5)
- Press back to an inverted V position, lengthening through the spine, bringing the shoulders towards the ankles. Take a few breaths here. As you exhale, lift the hips towards the sky and press your hands into the ground.
- It increases the blood flow to the spinal region.
It strengthens the muscles of the arms and legs.
Pose 9 – Equestrian pose (Ashwa Sanchalanasana)
- Bring the left foot forwards between the hands, and push the pelvis forwards. Lift the torso and tilt the head back, arching the back and looking up to the sky (same as pose 4).
- Brings flexibility to leg muscles and tones deep core muscles.
- Strengthens the spine.
Pose 10: Hand to foot pose – Hasta Padasana.
- Exhale, keep the right foot in front, bringing the legs together (same as pose 3).
- Bend the knees just enough so your chest can rest against the thighs, and your head touches your knee.
It improves blood circulation, stretches body muscles and makes the spine more flexible.
Pose 11 – Raised Arms Pose (Hasta Uttanasana)
- Inhale deeply thereafter stretching your arms forward and bringing them up over your head (same as pose 2)
- Look up and stretch the body slightly backward by pushing your pelvis forward.
- Breathe out.
- It improves respiratory function, lower back pain, and fatigue. It also aids digestion.
- Expands the chest, which results in a full intake of oxygen.
Pose 12 – Standing Mountain pose (Tadasana)
- Then, at last, exhale and come back to the prayer position (same as pose 1).
- Bring your arms down, slow and steady.
- Strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles and improves posture.
- Tone your hips and abdomen and improve agility and blood circulation.
These 12 poses when practiced make up for one cycle of Surya Namaskar. Ideally, doing 12-15 cycles a day will get you all the benefits required by the body, keeping you fit and healthy for a better tomorrow.
- Balance of Dosha: Pita, Kapha, and Vata are three doshas that can go out of balance due to various causes. It is majorly affected by the weather, food, everyday bad activities, stress at work, and depreciated sleep. However, you can keep your dosha in line with practicing Surya Namaskar daily.
- Weight-loss Booster: Simply stretching the abdominal muscles will certainly make you lose extra calories through Surya namaskar. It also manages the hormonal secretions from thyroid glands that are responsible for weight gain.
- Improves mental health: Surya Namaskar has a great significance to strengthen their focus and relax their minds while reducing sleepiness, somatic stress, worry, and negative emotions. It can help to revitalize the brain by engaging the spinal cord. A daily 15-minute practice can reap great results for the brain.
The HealthifyMe Note
Surya Namaskara is a power packed practice where each of the 12 steps have their own benefits. It is best done at sunrise on an empty stomach. Apart from its physical benefits, it reduces stress and revitalizes you.
The physical benefits of Surya Namaskar are plenty. This 12 posture yogic kriya lubricates all the joints of your body by synchronizing with your breath giving you better physical health and mental concentration. The regular practice of 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar not only gives you enormous benefits that let you discover who you are but also keeps your body healthy and fit from the inside out!
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and spread awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice by professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritions Here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the 12 steps of Surya Namaskara?
Surya Namaskar starts with Pranamasana (Prayer Pose), followed by Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arm Pose), then Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose), Parvatasana (Mountain Pose), Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight Limbed Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), then again Parvatasana (Mountain Pose), Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose), Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose), Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arm Pose) and finally Tadasana (Standing Mountain Pose).
Q. How many Surya Namaskara should be done in a day?
If you are a beginner, stick to doing it four or five times everyday. You can increase the number of sets as you practice. However, if you feel any discomfort or pain, consult a doctor immediately.
Q. What are the benefits of Surya Namaskara?
Regular practice of surya namaskar can be beneficial to you in a number of ways. It can help you lose weight, strengthen and tone your muscles and joints, improve digestive functioning, improve respiratory health and manage stress.
Q. Can I lose 10 kgs with Surya Namaskara?
Yes, it can help you lose weight but gradually. Losing 2 kilos a month is called a healthy weight loss timeline. As 1 surya namaskar makes you lose 13.90 calories. However, solely depending on it to lose weight is not ideal. There are a number of factors that will together help you healthily lose weight, like a balanced diet, better sleep cycle, lesser stress etc.
Q. Which is the best time to do Surya Namaskar?
Surya Namaskar can be practiced any time of the day. However, sunrise is considered the ideal time as the morning sun refreshes your body and mind.
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Reviewed By – Shamlee Pathare, Masters in Yoga Therapy
Medically Reviewed By: Dr Poonam Sharma
Last Updated by: Sumita Thomas (Date: April 9, 2023)