At the origin of yoga, it was advised to perform Surya Namaskar every morning and if possible, every evening, preferably facing the Sun. These asanas are performed to express gratitude to the Sun as a source of life and is also a series of perfect exercises combined into one for the whole body. Anubha Raman takes us through each step of the sun salutation in her tutorial video.
Surya Namaskar is not a single pose or exercise but a set of asanas. It includes other postures such as the Claw, Mountain or the Cobra posture.
This posture is combined with:
- a precise breathing rhythm,
- and the concentration of the practitioner.
Synchronized breathing helps you repel harmful toxins for your body. The 12 poses must be done in the right sequence. It comprises of a systematic breathing process and rhythm which must be strictly followed.
How Does Surya Namaskar Work?
Pose 1: It all begins with finding your perfect balance. Standing upright with hands folded and chanting Om brings tranquility to your mind and body. It prepares your muscles for the exercise.
Pose 2: The arch pose aims at flexing your abdominal and back muscles. It tones your back, stretches your arms and strengthens the core as you learn to balance yourself. This pose also aids digestion.
Pose 3: When you touch your toes in this pose, it requires a complete stretching and extending of your back and spine. It makes the spine supple and relieves stomach problems.
Pose 4: In this pose, you stretch every muscle of the body- from head to toe. This promotes strengthening of the arms, toning of hips and thighs and helps you stretch the calves for better endurance.
Pose 5: This pose is called santolanasana or the plank pose (hand plank). This asana strengthens the core and arm muscles. A strong core is essential for a strong back. It also helps in toning your body
Pose 6: With a close resemblance to a push-up, this pose works the chest muscles.
Pose 7: The cobra pose or Bhujangasana invigorates the heart, and helps reduce the stiffness of the back. It is a good exercise for your arms and shoulders and also helps in toning your butt.
Pose 8: Next, you transition to Parvatasana the mountain pose is ideal for building stronger shoulders and arms. The stretching of muscles from one pose to another in sync also adds flexibility to the back muscles thus relieving them of any pain due to a sedentary lifestyle.
Pose 9: A repeat of pose 4, this posture also helps achieve mental stability.
Pose 10: Similar to #3, the Pada Hastana is known to fix any problems with your fingers and feet. Extending the torso also aids digestion.
Pose 11 & 12: These are repetitions of #2 and #1 respectively allowing you to achieve your normal posture again. The repetition of poses is essential in maintaining a rhythm in the muscles. Thus, Surya Namaskar is the perfect exercise to align your inner chakras too.
Health benefits of Surya Namaskar
The Salutation to the Sun has many benefits related to those of each asana which constitute it:
- good oxygenation in the head due to head-down postures: it is excellent for cerebral circulation and for eyes,
- an impact on the proper functioning of the muscles and joints,
- excellent for stretching: shoulders, arms, back, pelvis and legs,
- effective in eliminating the bulges making it ideal for weight loss,
- helps fight against insomnia.
With regular practice of these asanas, your mind is filled with confidence and stability. In Surya Namaskar, your mind and body work together to help your soul to light up, which reflects on your radiant face.
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