2017-07-18

Surya Namaskar Benefit Your Body, Mind, and Spirit

Sun Salutation
Surya Namaskar 12 Basic Positions

The Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)

In Hindu mythology, the sun god is worshipped as a symbol of health and immortal life. The Rig Veda declares that "Surya is the Soul, both of the moving and unmoving beings". The Sun Salutation originated as a series of prostrations to the sun. Traditionally, it is performed at dawn, facing the rising sun. In time, each of the twelve positions came to have its own mantra, celebrating aspects of the sun's divinity.

The Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskara (SOOR-yuh nah-muh-SKAR-uh), is a series of poses performed in a sequence to create a flow of movement. Each pose coordinates with your breathing: Inhale to extend, and exhale to bend. Sun Salutations build heat in the body and are often used as warm-up sequences for a yoga practice. Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing. Practiced daily it will bring great flexibility to your spine and joints and trim your waist.

One round of Sun Salutation consists of two sequences, the first leading with the right foot in positions 4 and 9, the second leading with the left. Keep your hands in one place from positions 3 to 10 and try to co-ordinate your movements with your breathing. Start by practicing four rounds and gradually build up to twelve rounds.



  1. Stand erect with feet together and hands in the prayer position in front of your chest. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Exhale.
  2. Inhaling, stretch your arms up and arch back from the waist, pushing the hips out, legs straight. Relax your neck.
  3. Exhaling, fold forward, and press your palms down, fingertips in line with toes - bend your knees if necessary.
  4. Inhaling, bring the left (or right) leg back and place the knee on the floor. Arch back and look up, lifting your chin.
  5. Retaining the breath, bring the other leg back and support your weight on hands and toes.
  6. Exhaling, lower your knees, then your chest and then your forehead, keeping your hips up and your toes curled under.
  7. Inhaling, lower your hips, point your toes and bend back. Keep legs together and shoulders down. Look up and back.
  8. Exhaling, curl your toes under, raise your hips and pivot into an inverted "V"shape. Try to push your heels and head down and keep your shoulders back.
  9. Inhaling, step forward and place the left (or right) foot between your hands. Rest the other knee on the floor and look up, as in position 4.
  10. Exhaling, bring the other leg forward and bend down from the waist, keeping your palms as in position 3.
  11. Inhaling, streach your arms forward, then up and back over your head and bend back slowly from the waist, as in position 1.
  12. Exhaling, gently come back to an upright position and bring your arms down by your sides.



Surya Namaskar is the Perfect Yoga Workout and it has Incredible Health Benefits:
  • Complete Workout for the Muscles, it benefits joints, ligaments and the skeletal system by improving posture and balance. The limbs become symmetrical while the internal vital organs become more functional.
  • Beneficial for the Health of Digestive System. It increases blood flow to your digestive tract and stimulate the intestinal action known as peristalsis so digestion is more efficient. It also calms you, which in turn relaxes your digestive system and leads to more effective elimination.

    Forward bends increase the space in the abdomen and facilitate the release of entrapped gases. These poses heat the front of the body and cool the back body. For vatas, it is important to stay warm.
  • Ideal Exercise to cope with Insomnia and related Disorders. Surya Namaskar practice calms the mind, thus helps to get sound sleep.
  • Regulates Irregular Menstrual Cycles. Practicing Surya Namaskar ensures the easy childbirth. It helps to decrease the fear of pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Boosts Blood Circulation thus helps to prevent hair graying, hair fall, and dandruff. It also improves in the growth of hair.
  • Regular Practice helps in Weight Loss & Belly Fat Reduction. It helps to stay thin. Practicing Surya Namaskar is the easiest way to be in shape. It stretches the abdominal muscles. Regular practice of Surya Namaskar helps to lose excessive belly fat and gives flat stomach. Some of the asanas stimulate sluggish glands to increase their hormonal secretions. The thyroid gland, especially, has a big effect on our weight because it affects body metabolism.
  • Reverse Signs of Aging and Improves Skin Tone and Complexion. It is the natural solution to prevent onset of wrinkles. Overall, yoga is excellent for the skin and it can also provide good benefits for people with blemishes and even acne.
  • Boosts Endurance Power. It gives vitality and strength. It also reduces the feeling of restlessness and anxiety.
  • Enhances Body Flexibility. It improves flexibility in spine and in limbs.
  • Improves Concentration. Regular practice makes the mind strong and calm.





Although Sun Salutation can be practiced at any time of the day, morning or evening, it is a good idea to do it at the time of sunrise. When the first rays of the Sun fall on the solar plexus, it is good for the body. The early morning sun rays are rich source of vitamin D that is necessary to get strong bones and clear vision.

Besides offering physical benefits, the Sun Salutation practice also helps calm the mind. Doing a few rounds of Surya Namaskar at an easy pace can be very relaxing and meditative. And adding a touch of gratitude to the Sun, chanting mantras while doing Sun Salutation, adds a whole spiritual dimension to the practice, making it more sacred. 
The Surya Namaskar may be accompanied by chants called Sun Salutation Mantras.


The physical and spiritual benefits of Sun Salutation are not just for adults to enjoy. Surya Namaskar is equally a lot of fun for children.
Learn 
How Sun Salutations Can Help Your Kids


Note: Persons suffering from slip-disk, arthritis, heart attack etc including pregnant women are suggested to take medical opinion before they start the practice of Surya Namaskar.


Resources
Learn Yoga Asanas & Meditation‎ at Sivananda Centres

Learn Sun Salutation From An Expert ! Register at Art of Living Center Near You!
30 minutes practice of Sivananda Yoga for beginners to intermediates