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Experiencing the All-round Benefits of the Sun Salutation Yoga Pose (Surya Namaskar)

By Arun Goel

Surya namaskara is a series of twelve physical postures. These alternating backward and forward bending postures flex and stretch the spinal column through their maximum range giving a profound stretch to the whole body.

Often, after a hard days work, we would just flop down on the couch * apparently * relaxing our bodies - but it is NOT so. The stagnant energies remain locked up and the organs remain de-oxygenated to a large extent.

Surya Namaskar has a deep effect in detoxifying the organs through copius oxygenation and has a deeper relaxing effect.
 

To list some of the benefits of Suryanamaskar:
  • Tones up the digestive system by the alternate stretching and compression of abdominal organs. It activates digestion and gets rid of constipation and dyspepsia.
  • Strengthens abdominal muscles.
  • Thoroughly ventilates the lungs, and oxygenates the blood.
  • Acts as detoxifying agent, by getting rid of enormous quantity of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.
  • Promotes sleep and calms anxiety.
  • Tones up the nervous system and improves memory.
  • Normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands - especially the thyroid gland.
  • Refreshes the skin. Prevents Skin disorders.
  • Improves muscle flexibility.
  • In women, stimulates the breasts to help firmness normally. Restores any lost elasticity, through stimulation of glands and the strengthening of pectoral muscles.
  • menstrual irregularity and assists in easy childbirth.
  • Suppresses
  • Prevents loss of hair and graying.
  • Helps reduce fat.
  • Reduces abnormal prominence of the Adam's apple.
  • Eliminates unpleasant smells from the body.
  • Lends grace and ease of movements to the body.
  • Revives and maintains the spirit of youthfulness.
  • Broadens chest and beautifies arms.
  • Makes the spine and waist flexible.
  • Produces health, strength, efficiency and longevity.
 
Who should NOT do Surya Namaskar?
  • Pregnant women should not practice this after third month of pregnancy.
  • Patients of Hernia and high blood pressure are warned against this practice.
  • People suffering from back conditions should seek proper advice before commencing Surya Namaskar.
  • Women should avoid Surya Namaskar during menses.

How to do?
As mentioned Surya Namaskar is a flowing series of 12 yoga postures. These are described below.
 

If, however, you still have difficulty in understanding, you can always Download the Video (for a token charge to compensate for costly bandwidth) and make sure you are doing it correctly.

 

Synchronizing the breath with the movements of the body is very important. The basic breathing principle is to inhale during backward bending postures and exhale during forward bending postures.

 
The Twelve Postures Download Video Click Here...
1. Pranamasana (Salutation posture)

Stand erect with feet together. Join the palms together in front of the chest. Concentrate on standing straight, steady and in a prayerful attitude. This posture helps to induce a state of introversion, relaxation and calmness. It activates the anahata chakra. Exhale fully.

2. Hastauttanasana (Raised arm posture)

Inhaling stretch both arms above the head, palms facing upward. Arch the back and stretch the whole body. This posture stretches the chest and the abdomen and lifts the Prana (energy) upward to the upper parts of the body propelled by inhalation.

3. Padahastasana (Hand to foot posture)

Exhaling bend the body forward and down, keeping the spine straight. Avoid collapsing the chest or "over-rounding" the upper back. Keep the legs straight and perpendicular to the ground. The knees may be allowed to bend a little if needed. This posture massages the abdominal organs, especially the liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenals, uterus and ovaries. The power of digestion increases and female disorders such as prolapse and menstrual irregularities are relieved. A healthy flow of blood is sent to the spinal nerves as they are stretched and toned. The hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh and calf muscles are stretched and toned. Inversion increases blood flow to the brain. The Prana is channeled to the lower regions of the body propelled by exhalation.

 
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian posture)

On your next inhalation, extend the left leg back and drop the knee to the ground. The right knee is bent and kept between the hands and the right foot placed flat on the ground. Lift the spine and open the chest. Concentrate at the eyebrow center.

5. Parvatasana (Mountain posture)

On the exhalation bring the right leg back to join with the left leg. Simultaneously raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms, so that the body forms a triangle with the floor. Try to place the heels flat on the ground. Focus awareness at the neck area. This posture strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs, stretches the calf muscles and Achilles' tendons and makes the spine straight and taut. It relieves varicose veins and tones spinal nerves. Maintaining the posture take a deep inhalation.

 
6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Salutation with eight limbs)

Exhaling gently drop both knees to the ground and slowly slide the body down at an angle as you bring the chest and chin to the ground. All eight limbs - toes, knees, chest, hands and chin - touch the floor. The buttocks are kept up. Hold the breath. This posture develops the chest and strengthens arms. It sends additional blood to this area helping to rejuvenate the nerves.

 
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra posture)

On the inhalation, lower the hips while pushing the chest forward and upward with the hands, until the spine is fully arched and the head is facing up. The knees and lower abdomen remain above the floor. Focus the awareness at the base of spine and feel the tension from the forward pull. This pose gives dynamic expansion to the organs of the chest and abdomen, relieving many ailments such as asthma, constipation, indigestion, kidney and liver problems. It is very helpful in relieving tension in the back muscles and spinal nerves.

 
8. Parvatasana (Mountain posture)
Exhale and get back to posture 5.
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian posture)

Inhale and swing the right leg forward between the hands. The left leg remains back. Resume posture 4.

10. Padahastasana (Hand to foot posture)

Exhaling, bring the left foot forward. Join both legs and resume posture 3.

11. Hastauttanasana (Raised arm posture)

Inhale, raise the trunk up and bend backward. Resume posture 2.

12. Pranamasana (Salutation posture)

Straighten the body and bring the hands in front of the chest. Resume posture 1.

 
Note: Download Video Click Here...

The above constitutes one half of a round of Surya namaskara. To complete the other half the same movements are repeated except that the right leg is brought back in posture 4 and the left foot is brought forward in posture 9. So one full round consists of the exercises done twice. Practice up to 6 rounds in the morning and 6 rounds in the evening.

When the exercises are done a little quickly, the gain is more physical while if they are done slowly with breath awareness the gain is more mental and spiritual.

If for any reason, the above directions seem confusing, it is best to see the Surya Namaskar in visual flow. It will help you do the practice correctly without the risk of doing harm to your body.

If for any reason, the above directions seem confusing, it is best to see the Surya Namaskar in visual flow. It will help you do the practice correctly without the risk of doing harm to your body.

You can now download the video of Surya Namaskar at a nominal charge of $2 to cover our bandwidth costs. To download the video, Click here.

Incorporate the Surya Namaskar into your daily routine and make a positive difference to your life.

 
Related Pages
Yoga Postures
Yoga Poses
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