Surya Namaskar Yoga combines different yoga postures meant to enhance and cleanse the energy channels and help the body attain a higher level of flexibility.
Sun Salutation Yoga to the Sun Salutation asana is an ancient practice in Yoga incorporating a backstretch sequence of at least twelve gracefully linked physical asanas and a sequence of mantras or calming spiritual chants.
The asana was first documented as a traditional yoga technique, including such ancient sports as kite flying and wrestling, in the late 20th century. However, similar ancient practices had been in use in India for thousands of years, such as among the wrestlers.
Surya Namaskar Yoga is a unique type of Dynamic Yoga practice that originates from the Land of the Diversity, “India,” and started getting popular in the 20th century.
It is a refined form of Hatha Yoga that emphasizes the physical and mental benefits derived from the constant practice of this technique.
As per Patanjali’s 8 elements of yoga characteristics, sun salutation can be termed as a “Full Body Wellness” yoga practice. Because, Surya namaskar shares many of the same features as the 8 elements of yoga poses, including a conscious focus on breathing exercises, relaxation, meditation, mantra, inner healing, and spirituality.
Steps of Surya Namaskar Yoga
Step 1. Pranamasana – Prayer pose
Exhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ मित्राय नमः Oṃ Mitrāya Namaḥ
The Surya Namaskar asana sequence works at various levels, beginning with the standing posture (prayer) and moving through the sequence as the body adapts to each pose. The standing posture begins with the forward bend, which strengthens your heart chakra and the spinal muscles.
Step 2. Hastauttanasana – Raised arms pose
Inhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ रवये नमः Oṃ Ravaye Namaḥ
The raised arms pose part of the Sun Salutation series of asanas. It appears as the 2nd pose and the 11th pose in the Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskara. This pose is easy to do and tones the organs of the abdomen, improving digestion.
Step 3. Hastapadasana – Standing forward bend
Exhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ सूर्याय नमः Oṃ Sūryāya Namaḥ
The hand-to-Foot pose is any of several asanas in modern yoga where the hands grasp one or both feet: Utthita Pādāṅguṣṭhāsana, a standing pose in which one leg is raised to the face and grasped. Uttanasana, the standing forward bend.
Step 4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana – Equestrian pose
Inhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ भानवे नमः Oṃ Bhānave Namaḥ
Also known as Equestrian Pose is a low lunge and falls into the category of balancing postures. The Sanskrit name Ashwa Sanchalanasana is derived from three words. Ashwa meaning Horse, Sanchalana meaning movement, and Asana meaning Posture.
Step 5. Dandasana – Stick pose
Exhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ खगाय नमः Oṃ Khagāya Namaḥ
As you breathe in, take the left leg back and bring the whole body in a straight line (Plank).
Step 6. Ashtanga Namaskara – Salute with eight parts or points
Suspend Breath With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ पूष्णे नमः Oṃ Pūṣṇe Namaḥ
Ashtanga Namaskara, Ashtanga Dandavat Pranam, Eight Limbed pose, Caterpillar pose, or Chest, Knees and Chin pose is an asana sometimes used in the Surya Namaskar sequence in modern yoga as exercise, where the body is balanced on eight points of contact with the floor: feet, knees, chest, chin, and hands.
Step 7. Bhujangasana – Cobra pose
Inhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ हिरण्यगर्भाय नमः Oṃ Hiraṇya Garbhāya Namaḥ
Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose is a reclining back-bending asana in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise. It is commonly performed in a cycle of asanas in Surya Namaskar as an alternative to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana.
Step 8. Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward facing dog pose
Exhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ मरीचये नमः Oṃ Marīcaye Namaḥ
Downward Dog Pose, Downward-facing Dog Pose, or Adho Mukha Shvanasana, is an inversion asana in modern yoga as exercise, often practiced as part of a flowing sequence of poses Surya Namaskar, the Salute to the Sun.
Step 9. Repeat Ashwa Sanchalanasana – Equestrian pose
Inhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ आदित्याय नमः Oṃ Ādityāya Namaḥ
Step 10. Repeat Hastapadasana – Standing forward bend
Exhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ सवित्रे नमः Oṃ Savitre Namaḥ
Step 11. Repeat Hastauttanasana – Raised arms pose
Inhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ अर्काय नमः Oṃ Arkāya Namaḥ
Step 12. Tadasana – Mountain Pose
Exhale With Beej Mantra Chant –ॐ भास्कराय नमः Oṃ Bhāskarāya Namaḥ
Tadasana, Mountain Pose, or Samasthiti is a standing asana in modern yoga as exercise; it is not described in medieval hatha yoga texts. It is the basis for several other standing asanas.
Things To Keep in Mind For Surya Namaskar Yoga
- The best way to practice the Surya Namaskar Yoga sequence is in a dedicated early sunrise setting.
- When undertaking the Surya Namaskar and other sun salutation sequences, keep the torso straight, feet and elbows shoulder-width apart, holding the mundane (hand) in the center of the forearms.
- With the arms crossed in front of the torso and the palms of the hands facing inwards, the head is lifted slightly off the floor, allowing the face to roll upwards and the trunk to contract slightly.
- Inhale through the nose and out to the left, and then in reverse, exhale through the right. Repeat three or four times as often as desired.
- The Surya Namaskar can be repeated as many times as desired for maximum benefit. Still, a beginner, or someone with weak legs, or who has had little practice in other forms of Yoga, this sequence might only work well for two or three times before the body gets accustomed to the positions and becomes too stiff to continue.
- It can be remedied by breaking the sequence into ten or twenty-minute sessions, increasing the intensity as the body becomes more advanced.
- Advanced practitioners can do the Surya Namaskar Yoga three times daily for maximum mobility and flexibility gains.
- Those who are beginners, and those with particularly stiff or sore legs, should take care not to overdo it.
- Sun salutations are usually done regularly to keep the body limber. If the sun salutations are not frequent enough, the body will become used to limberness and may be more likely to tense up in those situations when they are not regularly trodden upon.
Modifications For Surya Namaskar Yoga
- Can take the Surya Namaskar and other sun salutation sequences can be taken further in many ways.
- They can be started by bending the legs and standing with the feet touching the floor or standing with the feet apart, with the legs still apart.
- Alternatively, you can bend the knees and sit on a chair or stool or raise your legs straight into the air, with your feet comfortably placed on the floor.
- Any pose can be used for the sun salutation series, making them particularly flexible and adaptable for any practice, from the pranayama dandasana (warrior pose) to rasnadi padottanasana (wide-legged forward bend).
- The basic sun salutation starts with the lunge, followed by the stretch of the rear leg up to the knee.
- Next, extend the arm in front of you, pull the skin on the back of your neck upwards, and bend the elbow to place it across the thigh.
- Then, with the other leg, extend the thigh, pulling it slightly upwards and away from your body. Repeat three or four times while inhaling and exhaling deeply.
Health Benefits of Surya Namaskar Yoga
Sun Salutation Yoga has many benefits for practitioners,
1. It helps tone muscles and reduces stress.
2. It also helps practitioners deal with depression, anxiety, and other ailments that may plague them.
3. Surya Namaskar Yoga is often used to helps boost feel-good endorphins and energy levels.
4. One of the most important benefits of Surya Namaskar Yoga is its emphasis on breathing control. Practicing this technique can enable a person to slow his or her breathing down to the rhythm of the heartbeat.
5. Slow and controlled breathing allows the body to manage blood pressure better and improve one’s energy levels.
6. Another great benefit of Surya Namaskar Yoga is being aware of the body’s movements. For example, when people practice sun salutation techniques, they watch their bodies move and react. This can help a person understand their own body and what reaction they may have to stressful situations.
7. Injuries can be healed if you have a safe instructor to guide you. Many Yoga studios now offer rehabilitation training.
8. The Surya Namaskar system of yoga can help you reach a state of inner bliss. When you are in this state, you will be able to meditate. You will also have increased spiritual awareness and a heightened ability to reach peace.
9. This type of meditation is similar to distract the mind from overthinking and concentrating on something more meaningful.
10. Surya Namaskar Yoga helps gain muscle strength with the added improvement of pulmonary function, respiratory pressures, handgrip strength, and endurance, and resting cardiovascular parameters.
These are just a few of the health benefits of this type of Surya Namaskar Yoga. There are actually many more, which can help improve your overall health and wellness.
Although these particular yoga postures have been shown to provide many benefits for people, as a beginner, you must practice these steps under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.
Not only can a teacher direct you to the proper positions and which posture suits you best, but they can also keep you safe during your practice.
There are many books and online guides available to teach you the different practices. Whether you want to start doing this for yourself or introduce your friends and family to the benefits, make sure to practice regularly.
Anyone can do this from the comfort of their own home and at their own pace to attain the path of absolute wellness.