Surya Namaskar is one of the best and easiest cardiovascular exercises. Also known as the Sun Salutation, this yogic exercise is the perfect way to start your day.
Surya Namaskar is a set of 12 yogic poses, which are repeated two times to complete a cycle. You should perform this every day in the morning with an empty stomach for the best results. Surya Namaskar is not simply a physical exercise, it is a complete intoxication of your physical and mental health. The correct way of doing the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar is by focusing on your posture as well as your breath.
Benefits of the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar
- These 12 poses are the best stretches for your body. All the muscles of your body get relaxed, which helps increase flexibility.
- It helps in boosting your immune system.
- Maintain your cardiovascular health.
- Improves concentration and aids in deepening meditation.
- Stimulates the central and peripheral nervous systems.
- Improves your overall physical and mental health.
- No equipment is required.
- Least time-consuming.
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12 poses of Surya Namaskar
Step 1: Pranamasana (Prayer pose)
Start by standing on your yoga mat comfortably. Keep your feet together and adjust your weight so that both feet carry the weight of your body equally. Keep your arms on the side, and relax your shoulders. Make sure your face and neck muscles are loose. Take a deep breath (that is while lifting your arms up), and exhale while bringing your palms in a prayer position in front of your chest.
Step 2: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arms pose)
Take a deep breath. Now try to lift your arms up slowly, and take them back. Keep your biceps near your ears. While taking your arms backward, feel your body stretching upward from your heel to the tip of your fingers. Don’t try to bend your back to stretch; rather, pull your body by stretching your fingertips upwards. You may push your pelvis forward to make the most out of this pose.
Step 3: Hastapadasana (Bending forward pose)
While breathing out, bend forward to touch your feet. Do not bend your spine, keep it erect while being from your waist. If you aren’t able to touch your feet, don’t push; instead, try to touch your feet by bending your knee. Once you can touch your feet, try to gently straighten your knees.
Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
Breathe in again and push your right leg backward. Push it as far as possible and make the right knee touch the floor while looking up. Make sure that the left knee is exactly in between your palms to get the best results.
Step 5: Dandasana (Stick pose)
Breathe out gently, moving the left leg backward parallel to the right one. Keep your hands perpendicular to the floor and your neck in the line of your body.
Step 6: Asthanga Namaskara (Salute with eight parts)
This is one of the most beneficiary poses of the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar. Gently exhale while moving your knees backward so that they touch the floor. Let your hips go up and slide forward to touch your chin and chest to the floor. In this way, your both hands, both feet, both knees, chin, and chest (8 parts) are in salutation.
Step 7: Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Taking a deep breath, slide forward to raise your chest in the cobra pose. You can keep your elbows bent in the air, or you may touch them to the floor and loop at the ceiling.
Step 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose)
Breathe out and lift your hips, stretching your tailbone. This should make you bend in an inverted ‘V’ position. Try to keep your heels on the floor and your hips as high as you can easefully.
Step 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
Once again, breathe in, bend your left knee forward, and move your left leg backward. Touch the left knee to the floor and press on the hip bones to feel the body stretch while looking up.
Step 10: Hastapadasana (Bending forward pose)
Breathe out gently and bring the left leg forward while keeping the palms on the floor to bend in a forward pose. Try to stretch your nose to your knees while keeping the knees straight if you can.
Step 11: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arms pose)
Breathe in, and keep the spine up. Bend backward while stretching your hands up. You may push your pelvis to bend more. Keep the biceps in contact with the ears.
Step 12: Tadasana (Mountain pose)
Breathe in and straighten your body. After that, gently bring your hands down while keeping your spine straight. Your feet should be in contact with each other, and your whole body should be straight. Feel the vibrations of your body and focus on your breathing.
These 12 poses of Surya Namaskar complete one set of the cycle. Repeat these steps once more to complete one cycle of Surya Namaskar. In the second set, take the left foot backward in step 4 and bring the left foot forward in step 9.
Meditate while doing Surya Namaskar
If you meditate regularly or even if you want to start meditation, Surya Namaskar is the best way to do it. Meditation, in its essence, is focusing on your breath by letting go of your thoughts. If you face difficulties in focusing by sitting in the usual meditation posture, then you can try to sync your meditation with Surya Namaskar.
While you practice the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar, don’t just do it as a physical exercise. Try to focus on your breath consciously. When you sit idly to meditate, your body is in a relaxed state, and thus it gets harder to focus a relaxed mind on something useful like breathing. In Surya Namaskar, your whole body is working and your mind is engaged in maintaining your posture. This makes it easier for you to focus on your breathing without letting your thoughts kick in.
The 12 poses of Surya Namaskar are the best exercises to do at home. This has immense, scientifically proven benefits. To get the best results, do these 12 poses with constant awareness of your breathing. Consistency is also the key to getting the best results, especially if you are aiming for weight loss. Start with 4-5 cycles per day and then increase as your body gets more flexible. Practicing Surya Namaskar every day will surely help to improve your mental and physical well-being.