Sun is the primary source of energy on earth. One cannot expect life without sun on earth. Surya namaskar or Sun salutation with Mantra is the “gesture of gratitude” or “respect” to the sun. It has been said by the ancient rishis (monks) of India that the different parts of the body are governed by different devas (divine impulses). the solar plexus, which is located behind the naval area (central point of human body), also known as the second brain is connected to sun. This is the main reason ancient rishis recommends the surya namaskar because of its numerous benefits like enhancing creativity and intuitive abilities.
In this article, we will discuss every thing about Surya Namaskar, step by step, whether you are a beginner or experienced one. For the convenience of our health conscious readers we have mentioned some of the topics discussed in this article – Surya Namaskar steps with complete details, Surya Namaskar Benefits, Surya Namaskar Mantra, Surya Namaskar Breathing Techniques.
Steps to follow for Surya Namaskar (with Mantra):
#1: Mountain pose with hands in prayer (Pranamasana):
Stand straight on your mat, keep your feet together and balance your weight equally on both the feet. Expand your chest and relax your shoulders. While breathing in, lift both arms up from the sides and as you exhale, bring your palms together in front of the chest in prayer position.Try to find your center.
#2: Raised arms pose (Hastauttanasana):
While breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers. As a result, it looks like you are Sending your greeting to the sun.
#3: Standing forward bend pose (Uttanasana):
While Breathing out, bend forward using the waist. Keep the spine erect. As you exhale completely, bring the hands down to the floor besides the feet. But Keep your legs firmly engaged.
#4: Equestrian pose (Ashwa Sanchalanasana):
While Breathing in, try to push your right leg back, as far back as possible. Bring the right knee to the floor and look up. Meanwhile, do check that the left foot is exactly in between the palms.
#5: Plank pose (Dandasana):
As you breathe in, take the left leg back and bring the whole body in a straight line. Try to keep your arms perpendicular to the floor. Take a full breath in as you lengthen through your spine.
#6: Salute with eight parts (Ashtanga Namaskara):
While exhaling, Gently bring your knees down to the floor. Take the hips back slightly, slide forward, rest your chest and chin on the floor and Raise your posterior a little bit. The two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and chin (eight parts of the body) should touch the floor, because of which, it is known as Ashtanga Namaskara.
#7: Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana):
Inhale and carve your chest forward into Cobra pose. You may keep your elbows bent in this pose. Make sure, your shoulders are away from the ears. Look up at the ceiling. Just like in the image.
As you inhale, make a gentle effort to push the chest in forward direction; as you exhale, make a gentle effort to push the navel in downward direction. Tuck the toes under. Ensure you’re stretching just as much as you can and not forcing your body.
#8: Downward facing dog ( Adho Mukha Svanasana):
While Breathing out, lift the hips and the tailbone up to bring the body into an inverted ‘V’ pose. Try to keep the heels on the ground and make a gentle effort to lift the tailbone up, going deeper into the stretch. Remain in this pose for several breathes
#9: Equestrian pose (Ashwa Sanchalanasana):
While Breathing in, bring the right foot forward in between the two hands. The left knee goes down on the floor. Try to Press the hips down and lookup. Place the right foot exactly between the two hands and the right calf perpendicular to the floor. In this position, try to push the hips down towards the floor, so that it will deepen the stretch.
#10: Standing forward bend (Hasta padasana):
While Breathing out, bring the left foot forward. Keep the palms on the floor. You may bend the knees, if necessary. Than gently straighten the knees and try and touch your nose to the knees. Keep breathing.
#11: Raised arms pose (Hasta Uttanasana):
While breathing in, roll the spine up. Raise the hands up and bend backward a little bit, pushing the hips slightly outward. Make sure that your biceps are beside your ears. The idea is to stretch up more as compared to stretching backward.
#12: Prayer pose (pranamasana):
Breathe out and stand straight in a relaxed manner. Lower the arms and hold your palms in front of your chest. Remain here for a few breaths, feeling the movement of energy through your body. This is the last step of this surya namaskar and with this first set of surya namaskar gets completed.
To get the maximum benefits of Surya namaskar, perform 12 sets of these 12 asanas every day, that is six rounds on the right leg and six rounds on the left leg.
Each posture of Surya Namaskar increases muscle flexibility, consequently, engages different part of our body. As a result, our body gets warmed–up to practice more powerful and complicated asanas. Practicing Sun Salutation also helps you to gain spiritual knowledge and wisdom. It calms a person’s mind and enables one to think with clear mindset.
Best Time to Perform Surya Namaskar (with Mantra):
It is always recommended to perform Surya Namaskar early in the morning but if one is pressed for time then it can be practiced in evening as well. But make sure that your stomach is empty.
Doing Surya Namaskar with Mantra in the morning rejuvenates your body and refreshes your mind. It makes you more active, as a result, prepares you to take on everyday tasks with enthusiasm. Another benefit of doing this yoga sequence early in the morning is that during this time, the ultraviolet rays are not very intense. As a result, your skin doesn’t get overexposed to the sun and you can enjoy the benefits of this asana thoroughly.
If you are a beginner and want to do Surya Namaskar(with mantra) in early morning then you should start performing it in evening first, reason being in evening our muscles and joints are more flexible to perform these asanas. Even then if you want to perform it in morning than proper warm up should be done just to remove the stiffness of muscles otherwise it may affect you negatively.
It completely depends on an individual whether he/she wants to perform it outdoors or indoors. Doing this yoga outdoors will enable you to form a deep connection with the outside environment. But if you are practicing it indoors, make sure that the room is sufficiently ventilated.
One more piece of advice for beginners, Start performing Surya Namaskar with 2 rounds on alternate days. After some time slowly shift to two rounds every day and then eventually increase your sets until you can do 12 rounds every day. Keep in mind that if you quickly increase your rounds, as a result, it will negatively affect your body.
What does Scientific research say about Surya Namaskar (with Mantra)
Many of us lives a busy lifestyle. As a result, we suffer from depression, stress, and other mental illnesses. Surya Namaskar is a yoga technique that provides relief from such problems and calms your mind.
Surya namaskar (with Mantra), a composite yogasana consisting of a sequence of 12-consecutive poses,as a result, producing a balance between flexion and extension is known to have positive health benefits for obesity and physical fitness management, upper limb muscle endurance, and body flexibility. For research click here
Surya Namaskar stretches and activates every part of our body. According to a research paper, Sun Salutation has positive effects on muscle strength and body endurance. Its regular practice can helps us to develop a strong upper body, irrespective of whether you are a male or a female. Not only this, it also improves your lower body muscle strength and back muscle strength.
The same research paper also highlights that practicing Surya Namaskar leads to a significant decrease in female body weight, but, not so much in the males. In the modern world, obesity has become a serious issue. Many women use different techniques for weight loss, such as medicines, gym exercises, and strict diets, some of which can end up hurting their bodies. But Surya Namaskar provides a natural method to attain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI).
Some Benefits Of Surya Namaskar:
#1: Body becomes toned and flexible :
Surya Namaskar‘s various poses involves different parts of our body. As a result, our whole body ends up getting toned. It also makes our body more flexible. This results in improving our overall posture and makes it easier to balance our body.
#2: Beautiful skin and hair :
Surya Namaskar increases the blood circulation in our body. As a result, the natural glow of our skin returns. Along with that, it also prevents the occurrence of wrinkles, hair loss, and greying of hair. Consequently, it gives a youthful and radiant look.
#3: weight loss :
The Metabolism of the person, who performs this Yoga technique on daily basis, gets boosted, consequently, helps to reduce weight in the belly area. Along with that, it also stretches our abdominal muscles, strengthens our skeletal muscles, and prevents unwanted fat deposition in these regions.
#4: Increases energy and awareness level :
This routine practicing Surya Namaskar(with Mantra) focuses on breathing exercises, as a result, relaxes our mind and sharpens our intellect. A relaxed mind, combined with a healthy body causes your energy levels to rise and makes an individual self–aware.
#5: Better absorption of nutrients :
In current lifestyle, people don’t even have a time to eat food. This has led to the development of an unhealthy lifestyle, which in turn has caused an increase in various illnesses such as PCOD, PCOS, and obesity. By performing Surya Namaskar daily, you can boost your digestive system, as a result, prevent many diseases from occurring.
Improved digestion makes it easier for the body to absorb nutrients. Better nutrient absorption regulates hormones, as a result, enables the body to perform vital functions smoothly. Thus your overall health improves.
#6: Mood swings and Emotional stability :
Deep breathing techniques, combined with specific asanas, have a positive effect on our nerve cells. Practicing Sun Salutation proves beneficial for our brain therefore, it can create a sense of balance between our brain’s left and right side. This increases our emotional stability and enhances our creative and mental capabilities.
#7: Insomnia :
Surya Namaskar provides relief to insomnia patients. It releases stress and relaxes the mind, as a result, induces sleep. It also ensures that you don’t become dependent on drugs and can fall asleep naturally.
#8: Detoxifies the Body:
An integral part of Surya Namaskar(with Mantra) is the inhalations and exhalations of Air. If done correctly, it can help in the proper functioning of our lungs. Along with that, the amount of fresh oxygen supplied to your blood also increases. This releases carbon dioxide and other gases from our system, as a result, detoxifies our body.
Surya Namaskar Contraindications :
Inspite of having many benefits, one must refrain from performing the Surya Namaskar if you are suffering from the following ailments:
#1: Heart patients should consult a doctor before start practicing this yoga routine.
#2: If some one is suffering from back problems, then that person should practice Sun Salutation under his/her yoga teacher’s guidance.
#3: People having high blood pressure issues can avoid this sequence.
#4: Arthritis leads to knee stiffness and thus hinders mobility of knee. Since Surya Namaskar involves knee movements, one must perform it with caution if he/she are an arthritis patient.
#5: People who are suffering from hernia must refrain from practicing Sun Salutation as well.
#6: Pregnant women should not practice Sun Salutation as it puts pressure on the back and abdominal regions, thereby harming both the mother and the child.
#7: Women must also avoid performing Surya Namaskar while on their Menstrual cycle.
The Bottom Line :
If you’re a kind of person who has little time to spare for a daily workout schedule but still wants to stay fit, then there is nothing better better than Surya Namaskar.
I think that this article addressed all your questions and cleared your doubts. Always remember that while performing any yoga routine, concentration, patience, and determination are required. Surya Namaskar is no different. Don’t be in rush, take it slow and enjoy yourself.