Sun salutation or Surya namaskar to give its correct name is one yoga exercise that consists of a series of 12 postures done at one time in a fluid movement. It can be done repetitively as a single exercise or serve as a warm-up to more yoga exercises. You can do Surya namaskar for 6 repetitions of the whole routine for best results. It is ideally done at sunrise to start with and also in the evening, preferably on an empty stomach.
The Steps of Sun Salutation
1. Pranamasana (Prayer pose) – stand straight and inhale. Bring your arms together in the front and put your palms together in the middle of your chest as you exhale.
2. Hastauttanasana (Raised arm pose) – lift your arms upwards as you inhale. Move your arms backwards arching your back, but make sure your upper arms are close to your ears.
3. Hasta padasana (Hand to foot pose) – exhale and move your body towards the front, bending your arms to reach your feet, keeping your knees straight (or as straight as possible).
4. Ashwa sanchalasana (Equestrian pose) – inhale and go down on the floor. Move your left leg back and your right knee bent in the front, with the foot flat between your hands which should also be flat on the floor.
5. Chaturanga dandasana (Four limb staff pose) – while holding your breath, put your right leg at the back and parallel to the left, in a reclining, push-up position with your arms supporting your upper body.
6. Ashtanga namaskara (Salutation with eight points) – bring your knees down and exhale. Put the chest and chin to the ground and make sure that your toes, chest, hands, knees and chest are touching the floor. Your stomach and buttocks should be higher than the floor.
7. Bhujangasna (Cobra pose) – now inhale and keep your legs flat on the floor and lift your upper body on your arms, placing them flat on the floor. The head should be facing upwards.
8. Parvatasana (Mountain pose) – exhale and move your feet to the floor, lifting your body so that your legs and arms form a ‘V’, with both hands and feet touching the floor.
9. Ashwa sanchalasna (Equestrian pose) – inhale and go back to the equestrian pose, but this time your right let should be at the back and your left knee bent.
10. Hasta padasana (Hand to foot pose) – exhale and go back to the hand and foot pose.
11. Hastauttanasana (Raised arm pose) – inhale and do the raised arm pose
12. Pranamasana (Prayer pose) – exhale and do the prayer pose.
Some schools of yoga may practice the sun salutation slightly differently and the best thing is to decide on one way of doing it and stick to it. The Sun salutation offers many health benefits. It centers you, enhances memory and concentration, improves all organs and systems in the body, improves digestion, nerve function, energizes the heart, increases immunity and ensures smoother glandular activity (hormones and cellular function). The gentle stretches ensure greater physical flexibility and improve overall health.
Are you doing sun salutation everyday?