Surya Namaskar Postures comprises a series of twelve poses, each of which corresponds to one of the twelve signs of the zodiac. One round of Surya Namaskar is completed by practicing the twelve postures twice.
Posture 1: Pranamasana (The Prayer Pose)
Stand erect, with the feet together. Keep the palms together in the front of the chest at the level of the Anahata chakra. Relax the body and breathe normally.
Posture 2: Hasta Uttanasana (The Raised Arms Pose)
Posture 3: Padahastasana (The Hand To Foot Pose)
Bend forward until the fingers or hands touch the ground on either side or in front of the feet, while the forehead touches the knees. In this bending position keep the legs straight. Exhale as you bend forward.
Posture 4: Asva Sancalanasana (The Equestrian pose)
Stretch the right leg back as far as possible. Simultaneously bend the left leg while keeping the position of the left foot unaltered. Rest both the palms on the ground at the level of the left foot on either side. Keep the arms straight. The right knee should touch the ground. Tilt the head back while gazing directly upward. In this final position, the back is slightly arched. The weight of the body is borne by the two hands, the left foot, the right knee and the toes of the right foot.
Posture 5: Adho Mukha Svanasana (The Downward Dog Pose)
Start this posture from the equestrian pose. Straighten the left leg and place the left foot beside the right foot. Raise the buttocks to a position as high as possible. Lower the head so that it lies between the two arms. Now you have formed a triangle, the ground being the base, the two legs being one side and the trunk, neck, and head being the other side. In the final position, the legs and arms should be straight and the heels in contact with the ground.
Posture 6: Astanga Namaskara (Salute With Eight Limbs)
Now begin from the Adho Mukha Svanasana. Lower the body to the ground so that in the final position, only the toes of both the feet, the two knees, the chest, the hands and the chin touch the ground, with the hips and the abdomen slightly raised off the ground.
Posture 7: Bhujangasana (The Cobra Pose)
Start this pose from astanga namaskara. Straighten the arms and thereby raise the body anterior to the waist. Bend the head backward. By this, the back is arched. This is a backward bending posture. Inhale while raising the trunk, neck, and head and arching the back.
Posture 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana (The Downward Dog Pose)
Posture 9: Asva Sancalanasna (The Equestrian Pose)
This pose is described in Posture 4. From the Posture 8, come to this pose by bending the left leg and bringing the left foot forward to a position near the hands. Simultaneously lower the right knee to touch the floor. Inhale while assuming this posture.
Posture 10: Padahastasana (The Hand To Foot Pose)
It has already been described in Posture 3. Come to this pose from posture 9. Place the right foot by the side of the left foot. Straighten both the legs. Bring the forehead close to the knees, without bending the legs. Do not strain if your forehead does not touch the knees. Exhale while performing the movements.
Posture 11: Hasta Uttanasana (The Raised Arms Pose)
This pose is described in Posture 2. Come to this pose from posture 10. Straighten the whole body. Raise the arms above the head and keep them separated by one shoulder’s width. Slightly bend the head and the arms backward. Inhale as you straighten the body.
Posture 12: Pranamasana (The Prayer Pose)
It is the final pose that has already been described in the posture 1. From Posture 11, bring the hands to the front of the chest, place the palms together and stand in an erect position. Relax the whole body. Exhale as you assume the final pose.
Full Round of Surya Namaskar
Postures 1 to 12 constitutes half a round of Surya Namaskar. To complete the full round, postures 1 to 12 are to be repeated a second time. In the second half round, the following minor changes are recommended.
- In Posture 4 (asva sancalanasana), stretch the left leg backward instead of the right leg.
- In Posture 9 (asva sancalanasana), bend the right leg and bring the right foot near the hands.
When should you do Surya Namaskar
As the name suggests Surya (Sun) Namaskar (Salutation) – the best time to do Surya Namaskar would be during sunrise in order to get the maximum benefits. If for whatever reason, you do not find time to do it during sunrise, you could also do it in the afternoon which would enable you to energize your body almost instantly, or in the evening to help you relax from the day’s stress.
Benefits of Speed Variations
There are 3 basic speed variations of Surya Namaskar that help you obtain maximum benefits of the exercise.
- Slow Speed: If you want to improve your flexibility then you would get it by practicing Surya Namaskar at a slow pace.
- Medium Speed: At medium pace, you can tone your muscles
- Fast Speed: Increase your speed to the maximum and it will serve as an excellent cardiovascular workout and also helps you to lose weight.
Surya Namaskar Benefits
- Surya Namaskar poses are good warm-up exercises. Hence many Yoga Studios start their class with Surya Namaskar
- Regular practice of Surya Namaskar makes you disease-free and promotes balance in the body.
- Tones and promotes flexibility to most parts of the body – the spine, back muscles, neck, arms, shoulder, hands and leg muscles as well as the wrist.
- Improves blood circulation throughout the body
- Makes you calm and boosts the energy levels and awareness
- Increasing the number of rounds every day helps to lose weight
- As the blood circulates through the scalp, it prevents hair loss, graying of hair and nourishes hair growth
- Improved blood circulation helps to glow the skin, relieves stress and prevents onset of wrinkles
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