SURYA NAMASHKAR – THE SUN SALUTATION

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SURYA NAMASHKAR

(THE SUN SALUTATION)

 

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline which helps to be in peace with oneself and their surroundings.  It can be practiced to improve your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Most people who practice yoga regularly have experienced that they have become better at what ever they are doing.

 

The yoga we are most exposed to is known as Hatha Yoga comprising:

  • Asana: Discipline of the body: rules and postures to keep it disease-free and for preserving vital energy. Correct postures are a physical aid to meditation, for they control the limbs and nervous system and prevent them from producing physical disturbances.
  • Pranayama: control of breath. Beneficial to health, steadies the body and is highly conducive to the concentration of the mind.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) combines both Asanas and Pranayama in one package.

I remember my high school days where we used to train for months to participate in Yoga competitions. We used to stretch, bend and twist our body for the shear spirit of competition without knowing the implications. I have been practicing yoga regularly for the past fifteen years. It has given me enough physical and mental strength to cope up with very demanding and challenging situations.

And if you want a good start to your day, what better than the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations), which is known to have a host of health benefits. There are 12 different Postures to do in a Surya Namaskar and you’re known to have finished a complete round when you’ve performed two consecutive sets. To begin with it is enough if you just do two rounds. These 12 Postures are adaptive in nature that you can perfect them slowly as you go.  It is important to not to force or strain your body while doing any of these Postures.

 

If you have a toned up body, you must able to do two rounds in just under four minutes. If you are not used to any sort of exercise, you can still practice this slowly without forcing or straining any part of your body and yet must be able to do two rounds in less than ten minutes. Start with two rounds and slowly increase as you wish. If you have any physical ailments do not start Surya Namaskar without consulting your physician.

You don’t need to be doing yoga regularly in order to practice Surya Namaskar. If performed correctly, this exercise does not strain or cause injury. If performed in the morning, it relieves stiffness, revitalizes your body and refreshes the mind. Do it during the day and it will instantly boost you up. Practice it after sundown and it helps you unwind. Sunrise or Sunset, remember to do Sun Salutations only on empty stomach, at least four hours after eating and one after drinking any liquid.

Not only does Surya Namaskar give you a great stretch and keep you fit physically (it is extremely beneficial for your joints, ligaments and improves flexibility and posture), but is also does wonders for your mental and emotional health. Surya Namaskar stimulates almost every system in your body – the cardiovascular system because it keeps the heart strong and, the digestive system as well as the nervous system. Practicing Surya Namaskar regularly is also known to ease stress and give you peace of mind besides increasing your levels of concentration. If you have trouble sleeping at night, the Surya Namaskar may help you fall asleep without using any external stimulants.

The 12 Postures of Surya Namaskar:

1- Namaste Posture:

  • Posture: Stand erect with your chest out, feet together, knees pulled up and thighs tight (facing the Sun if possible). Bring your hands forward, in front of your chest with palms folded and both the thumbs touching the chest, elbows straight and not drooping.
  • Breathing: Inhale while raising the hands and exhale as hands are brought down to chest level.
  • Concentration: Concentrate on your heart region

 

2 – Arch-Back Posture:

  • Posture: Raise hands upward over your head, palms still together. Then arching back as far as you can go, stretch your arms fully.
  • Breathing: Inhale
  • Concentration: Throat and neck region

 

3 – Toe-touch Posture:

  • Posture: Bend down from the hips keeping your upper body and torso straight. Without bending the knees try to place your hands on either sides of your feet flat on the mat, head as close to your knees as possible.
  • Breathing: Exhale
  • Concentration: abdomen, lower back, and sexual organs

 

4 – Horse Posture:

  • Posture: From the third position, using your fingers and palms for firm support on the mat and the left leg at an angle of about 30 to 70 degrees depending on your body type, stretch only your right leg slowly backward and extend completely while raising the head looking at the sun.
  • Breathing: Inhale
  • Concentration: eyes and the region between the eyes

 

5 – Mountain Posture:

  • Posture: Bring left leg back close to right leg, keeping hands and legs straight; bend the body at the hip forming an arch, just like a mountain, firmly supporting your whole body on palms, fingers and toes.
  • Breathing: Exhale
  • Concentration: Throat and neck region

 

6 – Plank Posture:

  • Posture: Stretch yourself fully on the ground from the mountain position like doing pushups, so that your feet, knees, thighs, chest, forehead become parallel and very close to the mat but not touching the mat while supporting the whole body firmly using only palms, fingers and toes.  Slowly turn the head to the sides; first to the left and then to your right so that each ear touches the ground.
  • Breathing: Inhale first and then Exhale fully.
  • Concentration: Solar Plexus and navel region

 

7 – Cobra Posture:

  • Posture: From the plank Posture, lie down toes stretching outwards, palms and fingers firmly supporting on mat directly adjacent to the shoulder joints, slowly raise the head bend backwards as much as possible.
  • Breathing: Inhale.
  • Concentration: last bone in spinal cord, the coccyx and the hip region

 

8- Mountain Posture:

  • Posture: From cobra position slowly come back plank position and back to mountain position again; bend the body at the hip forming an arch, just like a mountain, firmly supporting your whole body on palms, fingers and toes.
  • Breathing: Exhale
  • Concentration: Throat and neck region

 

9 – Horse Posture:

  • Posture: Same as step four with the difference being your fingers and palms for firm support on the mat and the right leg at an angle of about 30 to 70 degrees depending on your body type, keeping only your left leg stretched backward and extend completely while raising the head looking at the sun.
  • Breathing: Inhale
  • Concentration: eyes and the region between the eyes

 

10 – Toe-touch Posture:

  • Posture: Same as Posture three.
  • Breathing: Exhale
  • Concentration: abdomen, lower back, and sexual organs

 

11 – Arch-Back Posture:

  • Posture: Same as Posture 2.
  • Breathing: Inhale
  • Concentration: Throat and neck region

 

12 – Namaste Posture:

  • Posture: Same as step one. Relax your shoulders by slowly releasing down your hands parallel to your torso to natural standing position.
  • Breathing: Exhale, inhale and exhale. Take few refreshing deep breath.
  • Concentration: Concentrate on your heart region

 

The above twelve steps constitute half round of Surya Namaskar. Repeat all the above steps with alternate legs while going down and also coming up to complete one full round.

Just five rounds of Sun Salutations are just enough to start your day hale and healthy!

Refer to the following pictures:

SuryaNamaskar

 

A beautiful representation of the cycle of Surya Namaskar poses. Perform everyday and enjoy your health.

 

SuryaNamaskar

 

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One Response to SURYA NAMASHKAR – THE SUN SALUTATION

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