The meaning of Surya Namaskar is to salute the Sun. It is a combination of some of the yoga poses in a continuous series. It involves stretching, arching and compressing various body muscles to tone up the body. The yoga pose is also useful in enhancing the digestive and respiratory system of the body. Moreover, regular practice of Surya Namaskar develops the strength, balance, flexibility, focus and concentration of both body and mind. This set of yogic postures is considered to be the best among all the yoga exercises and advised to be practice twice a day for optimum advantage. The steps of Surya Namaskar poses are described below:
12 Steps of Surya Namaskar
- Pranamasana (Prayer Pose): You need to stand straight on the mat by pressing together your feet. Balance should be maintained on both the feet equally. Now, expand your chest while relaxing your shoulders. Inhale while lifting your arms up from your sides and exhale while getting your palms together in front of your chest in the position of prayer.
- Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose): In this second position (that is a continuation of the first) lift your arms up in standing position while breathing in. The palms should be facing each other and the biceps touching the ears. Efforts should be made to stretch the whole body starting from the heels to the tips of your fingers. You can push your pelvis a little forward to enhance the stretching.
- Hasta Padasana (Hand To Foot Pose): In standing position bend from your waist forward while exhaling.Now bring your hands down to the floor besides your feet. Remember to keep your spine erect. In the beginning you can bend your knees and gradually try to straighten your knees gently.
- Ashwa Sanchalsana (Equestrian Pose): In continuing with the last posture, try to push the right leg as far as possible placing the right knee on the mat and look up.
- Dandasana (Stick Pose): Now while breathing in, the left leg should be pushed back close to the right leg. Bring your body in a straight line while keeping your arms vertical.
- Ashtanga Namaskara (Saluting With Eight Points Or Parts): Now bring the knees down gently to the floor and breathe out. Slide forward keeping the hips slightly back resting. Your chin and chest must rest on the floor while you raise your posterior a bit. The two hands, two knees, two feet, chin and chest totalling eight parts of the body are touching the floor, hence the name.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Now slide forward keeping your arms straight vertical and chest up in the pose of cobra. Look up tilting your head up.
- Parvatasana (Mountain Pose): Now breathing out try to lift the tail bone and the hips up and chest down in the pose of an inverted “V”. Try to keep your heels on the floor.
- Ashwasanchalsana (Equestrian Pose): Bring the right foot forward, while inhaling, between your palms and left foot down to the mat. Pressing the hips down look up.
- Hasta Padasana (Hand To Foot Pose): Exhale deeply and during the process bring the left foot forward besides the right foot keeping the palms on the mat. If necessary, bend your knees. Try to touch the nose to your knees to deepen the stretch and keep the breathing.
- Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose): Roll the spine up while inhaling. Take your hands up and bend a little backwards while pushing the pelvis slightly forward. Take care to keep the biceps besides your ears.
- Tadasana (Palm Tree Pose): In this last step exhale slowly and straighten your body while bringing your arms down. Relax in this position and try to observe the sensation in your body.
Thus we find that one complete round of Surya Namaskar comprises of 12 yogic postures. One set of Surya Namaskar consists of two rounds, first stretching the right side of the body and next stretching the left side of the body. You are supposed to complete at least 12 sets of Surya Namaskar in each session.
Benefits Of Surya Namaskar:
Surya Namaskar is a sequence of 12 postures of yoga preferably to be performed in the morning at sunrise. It is highly beneficial for the physical system. If performed at a slow pace the muscles are toned well and if performed faster it proves a wonderful cardiovascular workout. When performed systematically, faithfully, correctly, daily and properly as per the instructions, it provides the following benefits:
- Strengthening the digestive system, prevents and cures the constipation, invigorates the nervous system, which includes, the brain, cures the brain-fag, spinal cord, lower plexus, cures forgetfulness, worries & other types of mental derangement.
- It prevents and cures blood pressure, palpitation and invigorates heart, develops lungs and prevents tuberculosis.
- Improves the circulation and quality of blood and thus improves the health.
- Due to the compressing and stretching movement of neck and throat thyroid gland is stimulated and the tendencies to goiter, if any, is obviated.
- Improves the function and colour of spleen by removing the toxic impurities through perspiration and absorbs energy from atmosphere.
- Strengthens the fingers, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, abdomen, stomach, intestine, back, thighs, ankles, calves and knees. The strengthening of back is supposed to be simple but it is a very efficient remedy for kidney problems.
- It is particularly very helpful for pregnant ladies in morning sickness, perverted taste, appetite and child bearing. Improves the quality and quantity of milkin nursing mothers.
Thus we find that this type of yoga is very useful for everybody inclusive of both the genders.