Yoga is the best way of benefiting Surya Namaskar when your body and relieving all stress out of your body. Yoga is being practiced since ancient times and has proven to be curing many issues such as body pain, strengthening your muscles, improving your body posture, and more.
One such yoga asana is sun salutation, or “Surya Namaskar“. Many people find it difficult to perform it correctly but don’t you worry here you will find out How to perform Surya Namaskar properly step-by-step guide. Also, its benefits, should you perform it or not, and more.
1. Surya Namaskar
Yoga is a Sanskrit-driven word (yuj) that means to unify. Surya Namaskar is considered to be the best yoga asana to perform daily, even if not performing any other yoga asanas because it involves almost all the body stretching poses that are enough to keep your body healthy and flexible. Let us find out the history of Surya Namaskar and the yoga postures that are involved in it:
From ancient times Sun has been worshipped by every saint and guru in every century. It is believed that worshipping the sun is equivalent to worshipping a God. Sun is known to be a God in every civilization as it is the ultimate energy source. Imagine life without the existence of the Sun. Isn’t it hard to think? Performing Surya Namaskar’s step-wise enchanting the Sun God’s twelve names brings happiness and peace in life. In the 1920s, the Late Shrimant Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi who was the King of Aundh is known to be the commencer of this performing art that involves the physical benefits that strengthen your whole body.
Surya Namaskar is a spiritual practice, but as its benefits are known to humankind, everybody started adding it to their routine to not only get spiritual peace but also mental and physical health benefits. It is equivalent to a complete workout that includes bending that stretches the whole body and opens up all the stiff muscles.
Also, it releases stress out of the spinal column and enhances your body posture by making the spine erect and robust. It is an early morning stretching and exercise performed from where the direction of the rising sun is, in its golden rays. It is like a warm-up for the day that boosts your body in and out and makes you fit and energized to work hard the whole day without weakness.
Nowadays, not only the classical version but also the traditional version of Surya Namaskara has already been coming into practice with a different sequence of poses that might involve the poses such as plank pose that involves the body to be in a straight line and arms perpendicular, half standing forward bend, downward facing dog pose, upward salute, and more, the updated one as everyone says. Also, you can start the sequence with Balasana, that is, the child’s pose.
1.3. Types of Yoga Practice of Surya Namaskars
- Ashtanga Surya Namaskar – Involves a total of 26 poses that are divided into Type A and B such as 9 + 17 poses.
- Hatha Surya Namaskar – Involves a total of 12 poses that focuses on breathing and spinal posture. Easier to perform.
- Iyengar Surya Namaskar – Similar to Hatha yoga, but faster in speed and beneficial for people with heart diseases.
2. How to Perform Surya Namaskar Properly?
Let us start with how to perform Surya Namaskar properly, where we will be learning the execution of each pose and its benefits. For beginners, a few rounds are enough to perform; later on, one can increase the number of rounds to avoid injuries.
2.1. Pranamasana (Prayer pose)
- Stand straight at one of the corners of your mat, keeping your hand relaxed aside.
- Bring both feet together.
- Now, slowly while inhaling, start elevating your hands from the side.
- While exhaling brings your palms together in a namaskar posture, that is prayer position, and keep your body relaxed.
- It helps in reducing anxiety and worries by providing therapy.
- It serves a healthy nervous system.
2.2. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arms pose)
- The first step is to exhale deeply.
- After inhaling deeply, stretch the arms in the forward direction, following over the head.
- Now stretch your body backward with the help of your lower part by pushing the pelvis forward.
- Lastly, breathe out, focusing on breathing rhythm.
- It helps in expanding the whole body.
- Stretches and make the abdominal area strong.
2.3. Hasta Padasana (Standing forward bend)
- Start exhaling along with that bend forward to fold your body, that is, hand-to-foot pose.
- Touch the floor only with the four fingers stretching the whole body.
- Keep the spinal column straight.
- Hold this position as long as you can such that, your chest touches your thighs and your head touches the knees.
- Bring flexibility to your body, making your spine flexible through expansion and stretch.
- It provides relief in the hamstrings and open ups all the muscles.
2.4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose Or Low Lunge)
- Put your right leg backwards and only your right knee touches the surface.
- Keep your toes tucked inside.
- Meanwhile, bend your left knee keeping your left foot forward and flat on the surface.
- Keep your fingertips on the surface on both sides and roll back the shoulders.
- Now, slowly start looking up.
- It strengthens your leg muscles and spine.
- It will help in curing constipation and indigestion.
2.5. Parvatasana (Mountain pose)
- Start with slow exhaling, and once ready and balanced, put your arms on the surface.
- After that, widen apart your legs such that the left foot is beside the right foot while elevating your hips.
- Now, elongating through your spine brings your shoulders close to your feet.
- It helps in improving your body posture.
- Also, provide calmness to the mind.
2.6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with eight parts)
- While exhaling, slowly lower your knees such that they touch the ground.
- Now with control on your chest, start coming down and slide forward with a pressed head against the surface.
- To perform this pose you need the strength that can be provided by your hands by keeping your elbows by your side.
- Then gently bring your chest on the surface while keeping your hips elevated.
- It strengthens the back muscles releasing all the stress.
- This posture facilitates all eight body parts.
- It helps in making your back and spine more flexible.
2.7. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
- Do not bring any changes to your hands and feet. Let them be where they are and inhale properly.
- Now start lifting your chest forward and slowly, just as snakes do.
- Look up, slowly, stretching your body.
- It enhances your mood and the flexibility of your body too.
2.8. Parvatasana (Mountain pose)
(Similar to Position – 2.5)
- Along with breathing keep your feet tucked inside touching the surface.
- Elongate your spine and bring shoulders closer to the feet to return into an inverted V shape.
- Inhale and take a few breaths in.
- Now exhale while elevating your hips in the air and bringing the hands closer to keep on the surface.
- It helps with issues related to menopause in females.
- Also, boost blood circulation around the spinal column.
2.9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
(Similar to Position – 2.4)
- Bring your left leg forward moving your pelvis forward.
- Stretch your body and lift your body.
- Now bend your head back looking up to the sky.
- It tones the abdominal region and increases flexibility in muscles.
- It acts in strengthening the spinal column.
2.10. Hasta Padasana (Standing forward bend)
(Similar to Position – 2.3)
- While exhaling brings your legs together and keeps the right foot forward.
- Now, start bending slightly forward until your chest touches your thighs and your head touches your knees.
- For a few minutes or till when you do not strain your body hold yourself to this position.
- It cures you physically such as osteoporosis.
- Also mentally by reducing anxiety and headaches.
2.11. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arms pose)
(Similar to Position – 2.2)
- Inhale deeply and stretch your hands in a forward direction over your head.
- Now take the sky view keeping your head up and extend your body with the help of the pelvis taking it forward.
- Lastly, exhale.
- It helps in the breathing process hence, curing asthma.
- It also helps in the digestion process.
- It ensures complete oxygen intake.
2.12. Tadasana (Standing Mountain Pose)
(Similar to Position – 2.1)
- Lastly, breathe out and return to the prayer pose.
- Lower your hands slowly.
- It improves your body posture.
- It helps in strengthening your muscles.
- It also tones your body parts like the hips and abdomen part.
3. Health Benefits of Sun Salutation
Let us now discuss the benefits that one gets through the practice of Surya Namaskar daily:
3.1. Improves Body Posture
Surya Namaskar helps develop your personality by improving your body posture. The Stretching of muscles and the spinal column brings flexibility to the body, and the spine becomes strong and straight providing great posture.
3.2. Improves Digestion
As the Sun salutation improves and strengthens your abdominal region, it automatically tones your abdomen region helping in curing constipation and providing toned organs. Hence, the digestive system gets improved.
3.3. Improves Immune System
The benefits that we get, such as rhythmic breathing and proper blood circulation, enhance our immunity and hence our immune system gets strong. It helps us fight against many allergies, diseases, acne, headaches, and more.
3.4. Increases Concentration Level
Yoga asanas are executed with so much focus that we keep all our concentration on our breathing process, and thus, it helps in improving the concentration level. It provides inner peace and mental and physical strength. It releases all the anxiety and worry, providing mental peace and increasing concentration.
3.5. Increases Metabolism
Since it benefits the abdominal region and digestive system, it helps reduce stomach fat and manage weight. It increases metabolism and benefits our digestive system in fighting constipation and dyspepsia.
3.6. Glowing Skin
As Surya Namaskar improves blood circulation in the whole body, it is proven that it also provides glowing skin. Also, we know stress causes early aging and dullness. Thus reduced stress and anxiety help keep the dry and flaky skin away and glowing and moisturized skin on.
3.7. Healthy Hair
It restores the blood flow and nourishes the dry and flaky scalp. It provides prevention against premature whitening and thinning of hairs, hair damage, and breakages.
3.8. Helps In Synchronized Menstrual Cycle
The postures and asanas all involve stretching that makes the abdomen strong and keeps replenishing the reproductive organs. These benefits help with the timely menstrual cycle and healthy.
3.9. Improves Breathing
Surya Namaskar improves and provides a rhythmic breathing pattern. It is done by ensuring the lungs get enough oxygen and hence, helps cure people with asthma.
3.10. Cures Insomnia
It helps build focus and concentration, relaxing the mind and making feel stress-free. The calmness felt afterward provides a cure for insomnia and helps to fall asleep faster.
The continuously improved blood circulation managed the quality of blood flow throughout the benefitting by removing toxins from the body.
3.12. Weight Management In Women
Sun salutation improves the metabolism and hence the digestive system, which helps maintain weight. Particularly in women, it helps reduce the extra fat from different parts of their bodies.
3.13. Increases Durability
All the stretching tones the muscles and improves their flexibility, making them capable enough to endure the pain or any weight. Thus, increasing endurance.
3.14. Increases flexibility
Sun salutation poses increase the flexibility in your body through regular practicing Surya Namaskar and stretching.
3.15. Helps In Cardiovascular Diseases
The third type of Surya Namaskar, known as Iyengar Surya Namaskar, is the more beneficial one and protect against cardiovascular diseases and maintains blood sugar level.
4. When You Should Not Perform Surya Namaskar?
4.1. Pregnant Women
This asana practice involves full body stretch and also puts pressure on the abdominal area and back, which is not safe for a pregnant woman. Hence, not advisable to be performed by women carrying the baby.
4.2. Weak Body
A person with weak muscles and common weaknesses in the body should consult a doctor before performing a Sun salutation.
4.3. Someone With Back Issues
Sun salutation includes a bending process, not just slightly bent poses but one that puts pressure on not only the spinal column but also on the lower back and hip area.
4.4. Arthritis Patients
The series involves poses that do not put body weight evenly on all parts but on the knees; hence, people with arthritis are recommended to avoid Sun salutation.
4.5. Any Wrist Or Ankle Injury
Wrist and ankles need to be strong for practicing Surya namaskar due to some poses, like the Cobra pose, that require body weight on hands or legs, making them more severe.
5. Is It Okay to Perform Surya Namaskar Daily?
Yes, it is safe and beneficial practicing Surya Namaskar daily. It will be beneficial as it will help in improving the blood flow by maintaining proper and regular blood circulation throughout the body, and also, your back gets stronger. It is safe to perform 4-5 sets of Sun salutation daily that burns around 14 calories per set. Once your body is compatible with the Sun salutation, you can achieve as many as 54 sets of aims.
Surya Namaskar can be performed in three paces:
- Slow – It improves the flexibility of your body.
- Medium – It focuses on increasing muscle endurance.
- Fast – It provides cardiovascular benefits and weight management for the one with weight loss problems.
If you face any problem in performing Sun salutations, such as back pain, immediately stop practicing it and consult your doctor or certified yoga instructor. It is recommended not to over workout; start from minimum sets you can perform without any difficulty and then continue with a gradual increase of sets at intervals.
6. Peace of Mind
Surya Namaskar is a sequence of yoga asanas that benefits us in every possible way. But the best benefit that it provides is “Peace of Mind“. In today’s world, every individual feels anxious or depressed. These are the times when the pressure of work is at its peak. The load that the mind suffers from every day is just exhausting and tiresome.
Getting relaxed and stress-free in such times could be the best thing one might want in their day. When the day starts fresh, peaceful, and happy, the day gets fantastic automatically. Surya Namaskar provides that perfect morning, which is why everyone should try adding it to their routine.
The Neurological system of your body gets enhanced and alert. Thus it opens up your mind and maintains blood circulation throughout the body. It not only helps increase concentration but also sharps your sense. It helps you remain calm and removes all your anxiety and stress making you feel so peaceful and happy. It removes all the negative thoughts from your mind and your body.
So that you can feel positive and happy. The main mood swings and activated good emotions and feelings.
So you see how Surya Namaskar enhances your entire body and benefits you in every possible way. It is convenient adding Surya Namaskar to your routine and follow it regularly. Even if you are not a fitness freak or find it difficult to exercise daily, this would be the best alternative. Surya Namaskar is easy to execute once appropriately learned and needs to be done at least twice, making it feasible for any age group to practice it daily.
I hope you will find this article helpful and get motivated enough to practice Surya Namaskar regularly for a healthy life. Sun is the life-giving source; just performing Sun salutations will also benefit us. So why not thank Sun for providing humankind with everything possible? So, get up, add Surya Namaskar to your routine now, and Stay Healthy!
1. What are the spiritual aspects of Surya Namaskar?
A. In some yoga traditions, Surya Namaskar is practiced as a way to honor the sun, which is considered a symbol of consciousness and spiritual illumination. It can also be a meditative practice that connects the practitioner to their breath and the present moment.
2. How do I learn the proper technique for Surya Namaskar?
A. It’s recommended to learn Surya Namaskar under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor. Proper alignment and breathing techniques are crucial for its effectiveness and safety.
3. What are the breathing techniques during Surya Namaskar?
A. Breath awareness is a key component of Surya Namaskar. Generally, you inhale as you arch your back or open your chest, and you exhale as you fold forward or move into a plank position. The breath should be smooth and controlled.