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Surya Namaskar Step By Step Guide


surya namaskar yoga poses

What is Surya Namaskar?

Surya namaskar is one such ancient technique of paying respects to the sun. It is a sequence of 12 powerful yoga poses which is not only a great cardiovascular workout but has also got an immensely positive impact on the body and mind.

Taking about the history of Surya namaskar, it is said by the ancient rishis of India that different body parts are governed by different devas (divine impulses or divine light). The solar plexus or second brain, located behind the navel is considered as the central point of the body, which is said to be connected to the sun. Thus, this happens to be the main reason that the ancient rishis recommend the practice of Surya namaskar because by practicing this technique daily your solar plexus gets enhanced, which increases one’s creativity and intuitive abilities.

The best time to do Surya namaskar is early in the morning on an empty stomach. It comprises of two sets, where each comprises of 12 yoga poses. You can find different variations or methods of practicing Surya Namaskar but it is always advisable to stick to one particular version and also practice it daily for best results.

Scientific reasons to practice Sun Salutation

Since ancient times, Sun has been worshipped as God. All life begins with Sun and thus it also holds great significance religiously. Not just this, science has even proved and recognized the healing powers of the Sun along with the health benefits that sun salutation offers. The results said that when Surya namaskar is practiced in the direction of sunrise it helps to maintain optimal vitamin D in the body. A deficiency of it can lead to diseases like rickets. Also, with the practice of the 12 postures of the sun salutation series, our solar plexus gets enhanced which in turn increases creativity, intuitive and also leadership qualities in mankind.

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How to do Surya Namaskar?

It is necessary to practice Surya namaskar precisely in the right way for better results. All the 12 steps of it are described below stepwise for better understanding

Step 1-Pranamasana (prayer pose)

Pranamasana surya namaskar step 1

How to do
For this, you need to stand at the end of your yoga mat. Now, keep both your feet together and then distribute your body weight equally on them.
Now, slowly open your chest and relax your shoulders
After relaxing your shoulder breathe in and lift both of your arms from the sides
Breathe out and bring your palms together in a prayer position in front of your chest

Stretch deepening tip-
For better results activate your feet and stand as if your feet are tripods.
Also, keep your spine erect

Step 2-Hastauttanasana (Raised arms pose)

Hastauttanasana pose 2

How to do-
You need to breathe in and lift your arms and back
Ensure that your biceps are close to your ears
Try and make efforts to stretch your whole body (from heels to the fingertips)
Stretch deepening tip-
For doing it in a better way, try to push your pelvis forward just a bit
As an alternative of bending backward, reach up with your fingers

Step 3-Hasta Padasana (hand to foot pose)

Hasta-Padasana pose 3

How to do it-
By keeping your spine straight, breathe out and bend forward from your waistline
Now, exhale slowly and bring your hands completely beside your feet down to the floor
Stretch deepening tip-
For bringing your palms down to the floor, bend your knees
Try and make a moderate effort to straighten your knees
Remember to keep your hands motionless in this posture and never move them until you complete this third step.

Step 4-Ashwa sanchalanasana (equestrian pose)

Ashwa Sanchalanasana pose 4

How to do it-
slowly breathe in and try to push your right leg as far as possible
Now, bend your right knee and bring it to the floor and then slowly lookup
Stretch deepening tip-
See that left foot stays exactly in between the palms

Step 5-Dandasana (stick pose)

How to do it-
For this, you need to breathe in and slowly take your leg back
Now, bring your whole body in a straight line
Stretch deepening tip-
Always remember to keep your arms erect to the floors

Step 6-Ashtanga Namaskara (eight-limbed pose)

Bhujangasana pose 6

How to do it-
You need to bring your knees down to the floor and then exhale
Now, slowly take your hip back and slide forward
You need to relax your chest and chin on the ground
Finally, elevate your posterior a bit
Stretch deepening tip-
Make sure that all the eight parts of your body including your two hands, two feet, chest, and chin must touch the ground

Step 7-Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Ashtanga Namaskara pose 7

How to do it-
For this, you need to slide forward and raise your chest up just like a cobra
Keep your elbows fixed at one position and your shoulders away from ears
Now, slowly lookup
Stretch deepening tip-
Breathe in and try to push your chest forward
Breathe out and make a slight effort to push your navel down
Now, tuck your toes
Always remember to stretch as much as you can, never go beyond your limits

Step 8- Parvastasana (mountain pose)

Dandasana surya namaskar pose 8

How to do it-
Exhale and then slowly lift your hips along with your tail bone upward
Also, put your chest downward for creating an inverted V position
Stretch deepening tip-
Try to keep your heels on the ground 
Try to lift up your tailbone
Slowly go deeper in the stretch

Step 9- Ashwa sanchalanasana (equestrian pose)

Ashwa Sanchalanasana pose 9

How to do it-
Inhale and then bring your right foot forward in between the two hands
Then, slowly bring your left knee down to the ground
Now, push your hips down and then lookup
Stretch deepening tip-
Make sure to place your right foot exactly between the two hands
Also, ensure than your right calf is perpendicular to the ground
You need to make slow and moderate efforts for pushing down your hips towards the floor to deepen the yoga stretch

Step 10-Hasta padmasana (hand to foot pose)

Hasta-Padasana pose 10

How to do it-
Exhale while bringing your left foot forward
Keep your palms on the ground
If you feel any sort of discomfort, you are free to bend your knees
Stretch deepening tip-
Gently straighten your knees and then try to touch your nose to the knees
Keep on breathing  

Step 11-Hastauttanasana (raised arms pose)

Hastauttanasana pose 11

How to do it-
Inhale and roll your spine up
Take your hands up and bend backward a bit
Now, push your hips outward slightly
Stretch deepening tip-
Always remember to keep your biceps beside your ears
Always aim at stretching upward more than stretching backward

Step 12-Tadasana (standing mountain)

Tadasna surya namaskar pose 12

How to do it-
Breathe out and then straighten your body
Now, bring your arms down
Stretch deepening tip-
Relax in this position
Keep an observation on the sensation the sun salutation bring in your body

For winding up the yoga, lie down and relax your entire body in a yoga Nidra. Always give time to your body for adjusting to the effects of the stretches. This can bring enough rest to your mind and body. Perform Surya Namaskar in the east direction in the morning while if you are doing it in the evening do it in the west direction. While doing it always remember to keep some sense of gratitude and smile on your face. Also, have some grace and perform it at a slow pace and do it with awareness on your breathing. Keep your breathing natural rather than a forced one.

Benefits of Surya namaskar

1. Makes your lower body healthy
The first pose of the Surya Namaskar, the pranamasana (prayer pose) works on your lower body. It is effective for straightening your legs, ankles, and feet. The pose will help in firming your hips, relieving sciatica, and also helps in reducing flat feet. In this stretch, you need to join both your palms near your heart which as per science connects your right and left hemisphere of the brain.
 

2. Magnifies the blood circulation
The active process of inhaling and exhaling throughout the sun salutation series keeps your blood oxygenated and lungs ventilated. With this, you get an optimal flow of fresh blood in the body which is a great way to detox. Thus, it makes it free from toxic elements and carbon dioxide.
 

3. Helps in natural weight loss
When you start doing Surya namaskar series daily at a fast pace, it stretches the abdominal muscles which assist you in reducing weight around the stomach area. The asanas work to tone your abs and also strengthen the musculoskeletal system. Thus, with the continuous practice of sun salutation, you can achieve that slim waist easily.
 

4. Helps to get glowing skin and luscious hair
The sun salutation series has got diverse yoga asana that helps in enhancing the supply of blood and oxygen to your skin and hair. Thus, it helps you savor a youthful glow and long-healthy mane even during your old age.

5. Has got calming properties
By performing yoga postures you get a calming effect on the brain. However, some of the poses like downward dog, cobra pose can stimulate the nerves, reduce anxiety and even fortify the nervous system that promotes positivity.

 6. Activates heart chakra
In the first stretch of the salutation both the hands are joined together close to the heart in the center. As per the yogic traditions, by doing this our heart chakra gets activated and encourages the lotus heart to open up with awareness.  

7. A perfect and easy remedy for blood pressure and heart problems
Sun salutation is the best natural remedy available for patients of blood pressure. By doing it regularly you benefit your heart muscles as it corrects your irregular heartbeats. It even keeps your sugar level at control thus keeps high blood pressure at bay.

8.Helps to get a healthy gut
As in the sun salutation, alternative stretching and compression of the abdominal organs take place, due to which the digestive fire gets activated that helps you in getting rid of constipation and other stomach problems. It is one of the most regarded health benefits of sun salutation.

9.Helps to maintain a high spirit
By practicing sun salutation daily, the health of your body, mind, and soul gets enhanced. By doing this you keep your body free from diseases and also can lead a life of youthfulness, vigour, and positivity.


10.Helps in enhancing fitness and flexibility
Sun salutation is a comprehensive workout that benefits your entire body. The 12 postures of its stretch, strengthen, and boost the fitness level of the body. Thus, you benefit a lot from it.

Conclusion

Surya namaskar not only helps you to maintain a healthy body but also gives you calmness and relief. By practicing it you can get rid of stress and thus live a peaceful life. Yoga helps you to develop mind and body which can help you cure several diseases. thus, in certain cases, it is an alternative to medicines. However, it is necessary to learn and practice yoga under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher. Besides all these benefits Surya namaskar even provides you with an opportunity to express gratitude to the sun for sustaining life on this planet.  

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