The Surya Namaskara pose is a sequence of asanas that strengthens, warms, and aligns your complete body. It is an all-purpose yoga tool that benefits each body part individually. This workout is best done early in the morning on an empty stomach. Besides good health, it also allows exposing your gratitude to the sun for sustaining life on earth. Each yoga pose has various benefits on different parts of the body. It is a complete workout that will help you in freeing your mind from all kinds of tension and pain by providing relaxation to your body. If you are new to yoga, then this workout is a great way to start your practice as it is also a beginner’s friendly practice.
Read below to find more about Sun Salutation pose and how it is to be done correctly. It has 12 steps, and each step is described in detail.
Steps of Sun Salutation:
Step 1 – Pranamasana, the Prayer Pose: This pose is the start of your Surya Namaskar. For this pose, you need to stand straight with your feet touching together. Bend your elbows by letting your palms face each other in front of the chest in a prayer position. Now close your eyes while expanding your chest and relaxing your shoulders. This Mudra mentally pays homage to the sun, which is the source of all life. If you wish, you can also chant the ‘Om’ mantra to keep your mind focused.
Step 2 – Hasta Uttanasana, the Raised Arms Pose: It is a pose that means an upward tree. To perform this pose, breathe in, while lifting your arms upwards from the previous position by slightly bending backward. Stretch your body behind by lengthening your spine. The awareness should be kept on the expansion of the lungs and the stretch of the abdomen. Hold this position for a few seconds by taking long deep breaths.
Step 3 – Hasta Padasana, the Standing Forward Bend: To perform the third step, breathe out while bending forward from the waist until your fingers or palms of the hand touches the ground or either side of your feet. If you are a beginner, then it is alright if you slightly bend your knees. Drop your head down while relaxing your shoulders. Hold for a few seconds while breathing deeply into the posture.
Step 4 – Ashwa Sanchalanasana, the Equestrian Pose: Breath in by placing your palms on the ground, the next step is to stretch your right leg back as far as possible. At the same time, you will bend your left knee by keeping the foot on the floor. Keep your arms stretched and straight by balancing your body on your toes and palm while dividing your weight evenly. The head should be tilted slightly backward.
Step 5 – Dandasana, the Stick Pose: On an exhalation, keep your left leg back by the side of the right leg by bringing your body in a push-up. Make sure your hands are extended downward. In fact, it is through the hand and your toes that you should be able to balance your body. Hold the posture for 2-3 breaths before going on to the next pose. This posture will give a lot of strength to your arm muscles.
Step 6 – Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute With Eight Parts Or Points): It is the 6th step of Sun Salutation. After staying in Dandasana pose, gently bring down your knees onto the floor and exhale deeply. Now slowly bring your upper body down till your chin touches the floor while keeping your buttocks lifted in the air. Hold the posture for a few seconds while taking deep breaths. This posture will increase the muscle strength in your arms, back, and wrists.
Step 7 – Bhujangasana, the Cobra Pose: To perform the next pose, you need to lower your buttocks to the floor while raising your upper part of the body by arching your back. Keep your elbow straight and breathe deeply. Keep your neck relaxed while rolling your shoulders backward. This pose tones the abdominal muscles and improves blood circulation.
Step 8 – Adho Mukha Svanasana, the Downward Dog Pose: On an exhalation, lift your buttocks towards the ceiling while dropping your head down between your arms so that the legs and the back form two surfaces of a triangle. Now take a deep breath while holding the postures for a few seconds before moving onto the next one.
Step 9 – Ashwa Sanchalanasana, the Equestrian Pose: Inhale by bringing your right foot forward and by stretching out your left foot outwards as far as you can. This posture is the same as the 4th step of the above steps of Sun Salutation. For this, you need to simply follow the 4th Step as it is completely the same.
Step 10 – Hasta Padasana, the Standing Forward Bend: This position is the same as position 3. Also, don’t forget to hold the posture for 3-4 seconds while breathing intensely.
Step 11 – Hasta Uttanasana, the Raise Arms Pose: In inhalation, raise your hands upwards by bending your back backward. This pose is the same as the 2nd step. Also, remember to hold the pose for 2-3 breaths.
Step 12 – Tadasana or Mountain Pose: This is the last step of the Sun Salutation. For this, you need to come back to the posture of standing straight with your ankles touching together. You can also simply follow step 1, which is the position of Surya Namaskar. Relax in this position while also observing the sensations in your body.
These 12 steps of Surya Namaskar is a holistic exercise which yields maximum benefits to your body. It is a great way to stay healthy and happy.