Surya Namaskar is a popular yoga sequence consisting of 12 poses performed in a flowing sequence. It is traditionally used as a warm-up at the beginning of a yoga practice to prepare the body and mind. The poses include forward and backward bends, standing and balancing postures, and a series of lunges and stretches. Surya Namaskar is believed to have numerous physical, mental and spiritual benefits, including improved flexibility, strength, balance, and overall well-being. It is a great way to start the day and energize the body, mind and soul.
ॐ मित्राय नमः। ॐ रवये नमः।
सूर्याय नमः।ॐ भानवे नमः।
ॐ खगाय नमः।ॐ पूष्णे नमः।
ॐ हिरण्यगर्भाय नमः।ॐ मरीचये नमः।
ॐ आदित्याय नमः।ॐ सावित्रे नमः।
ॐ अर्काय नमः।ॐ भास्कराय नमः।
Surya Namaskar Mantra, one for each of the 12 postures:
- Pranamasana (Prayer pose): “Om Mitraya Namah” – Salutations to the friend of all
- Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arms pose): “Om Ravaye Namah” – Salutations to the shining one
- Padahastasana (Standing forward bend): “Om Suryaya Namah” – Salutations to the dispeller of darkness
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose): “Om Bhanave Namah” – Salutations to the one who illuminates
- Parvatasana (Mountain pose): “Om Khagaya Namah” – Salutations to the one who moves in the sky
- Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight-limbed pose): “Om Pushne Namah” – Salutations to the giver of strength and nourishment
- Bhujangasana (Cobra pose): “Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namah” – Salutations to the golden colored one
- Parvatasana (Mountain pose): “Om Marichaye Namah” – Salutations to the lord of dawn
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose): “Om Adityaya Namah” – Salutations to the son of Aditi
- Padahastasana (Standing forward bend): “Om Savitre Namah” – Salutations to the one who creates everything
- Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arms pose): “Om Arkaaya Namah” – Salutations to the one who is worthy of praise and glory
- Tadasana (Tree pose): “Om Bhaskaraya Namah” – Salutations to the one who causes brightness and enlightenment
Meaning of Surya Namaskar and Where it Came From
Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation, is a sequence of twelve yoga postures or asanas that are performed in a specific order to honor and activate the energy of the sun. It is a complete yoga practice in itself that includes stretching, flexing, and toning of the entire body, as well as improving breathing, concentration, and overall well-being.
Surya Namaskar has its roots in ancient India, where the sun has been venerated as a symbol of life and vitality for thousands of years. It is believed to have been practiced by yogis and sages in the Himalayan region to greet the morning sun and activate the energy centers in the body.
Over time, Surya Namaskar has been adapted and modified in various yoga traditions, and today it is widely practiced around the world as a powerful and transformative yoga sequence. It is often used as a warm-up or as a standalone practice in yoga classes, as well as a spiritual practice to connect with the divine energy of the sun.
It is usually performed in the morning as a form of physical exercise and a way to energize the body and mind. However, it can also be practiced at any time of the day.
When To Practice
Here are some suggestions on when to practice Surya Namaskar:
- In the morning: Practicing Surya Namaskar in the morning is an excellent way to start your day. It helps to awaken your body, stretch your muscles, and increase your energy levels, making you feel more alert and focused throughout the day.
- Before or after a workout: You can also practice Surya Namaskar before or after a workout to warm up or cool down your muscles. This can help to prevent injuries and improve your overall performance.
- During a break: If you are working from home or in an office, you can take a break and practice Surya Namaskar. It can help to reduce stress, tension, and fatigue, and improve your concentration and productivity.
- In the evening: Practicing Surya Namaskar in the evening can help to relax your body and mind, release tension and stress, and prepare you for a good night’s sleep.
In summary, you can practice Surya Namaskar at any time of the day, depending on your schedule and preferences. It is important to listen to your body and practice at a pace that is comfortable for you.
Step by Step Guide How to do surya Namaskar
- Begin by standing at the front of your mat, with your feet together and your hands at your heart center in prayer position.
- Inhale and raise your arms up overhead, stretching your arms towards the ceiling.
- Exhale and fold forward at the hips, bringing your hands down to the mat beside your feet.
- Inhale and step your right foot back into a lunge position, with your left knee bent and your hands on the mat on either side of your left foot.
- Exhale and step your left foot back to a plank position, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Hold the plank position for a breath or two, then lower your knees, chest, and chin to the mat.
- Inhale and slide forward into cobra pose, lifting your chest off the mat and arching your back.
- Exhale and lift your hips up and back into downward dog pose, with your hands and feet on the mat and your hips reaching towards the ceiling.
- Inhale and step your right foot forward into a lunge position, with your left knee on the mat and your hands on either side of your right foot.
- Exhale and step your left foot forward to meet your right foot at the front of the mat, folding forward over your legs.
- Inhale and lift your arms up overhead, stretching towards the ceiling.
- Exhale and bring your hands back down to your heart center in prayer position.
Repeat the sequence, stepping your left foot back into a lunge position in step 4 and alternating between the right and left sides with each round. Continue the sequence for as many rounds as desired, taking deep breaths and moving smoothly between each pose.
That’s it! Remember to take it slowly at first and focus on your breath and alignment, and gradually build up to a faster pace as you become more comfortable with the sequence.
Here are some common mistakes to avoid while practicing Surya Namaskar:
- Poor alignment: Make sure that your alignment is correct in each pose. For example, in the plank position, your hands should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should be in a straight line from head to heels. In the lunge position, your front knee should be directly above your ankle, and your back leg should be straight.
- Rushing: Surya Namaskar is meant to be a slow, flowing practice that is synchronized with your breath. Avoid rushing through the sequence, and instead focus on moving smoothly and steadily from one pose to the next.
- Holding your breath: It’s important to maintain a steady breath throughout the practice, inhaling and exhaling as you move through each pose. Holding your breath can cause tension in your body and make the practice less effective.
- Overstretching: Be careful not to overstretch your muscles or joints, especially if you’re new to the practice. Listen to your body and only go as far as feels comfortable and safe.
- Not modifying for injuries or limitations: If you have any injuries or limitations, it’s important to modify the poses as needed. For example, if you have a knee injury, you may need to avoid the lunge position or use a cushion under your knee for support.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your Surya Namaskar practice is safe, effective, and enjoyable.
Suggested preparatory Asanas before Surya Namaskar
Here are some preparatory asanas that can help warm up your body and prepare you for Surya Namaskar:
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose): This is a great pose to start with to establish good alignment and breathing before moving into the Surya Namaskar sequence.
- Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold): This pose helps to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and back muscles, and can help release tension in the spine.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose): This pose helps to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and shoulders, and can help improve circulation and energy flow in the body.
- Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge Pose): This pose helps to stretch the hip flexors and quadriceps, and can help open up the chest and shoulders.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): This pose helps to strengthen the back muscles and improve posture, and can help prepare you for the backbend in Surya Namaskar.
- Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat/Cow Pose): This pose helps to warm up the spine and release tension in the back and neck muscles.
Incorporating these poses into your practice can help prepare your body for Surya Namaskar and improve your overall flexibility, strength, and alignment.
Suggested follow-up Asanas After Surya Namaskar
Here are some suggested follow-up asanas that can help cool down your body and provide a balanced practice after Surya Namaskar:
- Balasana (Child’s Pose): This pose helps to release tension in the back, neck, and shoulders, and can help calm the mind and promote relaxation.
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold): This pose helps to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and lower back muscles, and can help soothe the nervous system.
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose): This pose helps to improve spinal mobility, digestion, and detoxification, and can help release tension in the hips and shoulders.
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose): This pose helps to strengthen the back and gluteal muscles, and can help improve posture and spinal alignment.
- Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose): This pose helps to improve circulation, reduce stress and fatigue, and promote relaxation and deep breathing.
Incorporating these poses into your practice can help balance the effects of Surya Namaskar, cool down your body, and promote relaxation and rejuvenation. Remember to listen to your body and only practice the poses that feel comfortable and safe for you.
Pro Tips for Beginners
Here are some pro tips for beginners practicing Surya Namaskar:
- Start slow: Surya Namaskar can be a challenging practice for beginners, so it’s important to start slow and build up gradually. Begin with a few rounds, and increase the number of rounds as you feel comfortable and confident.
- Focus on alignment: Proper alignment is key to a safe and effective practice. Take the time to learn and practice the correct alignment for each pose, and avoid rushing through the sequence.
- Breathe deeply: The breath is an important aspect of Surya Namaskar. Try to synchronize your breath with your movements, inhaling as you lift your arms, and exhaling as you fold forward or lower down. Deep, slow breathing can help calm the mind and reduce stress.
- Modify as needed: If you have any injuries or limitations, it’s important to modify the poses as needed. Use props such as blankets, blocks, or straps to help support your body and make the poses more accessible.
- Stay present: Surya Namaskar can be a moving meditation, helping to bring your attention to the present moment and quiet the mind. Try to stay focused on your breath and your movements, and let go of any distractions or thoughts that arise.
By following these pro tips, you can approach Surya Namaskar with confidence and enjoy the benefits of this powerful practice. Remember to listen to your body, honor your limitations, and enjoy the journey.
Contraindications (Who Should Avoid)
While Surya Namaskar is generally safe and beneficial for most people, there are some contraindications to be aware of. Here are some situations in which you may need to avoid or modify your practice of Surya Namaskar:
- Pregnancy: If you are pregnant, it is important to avoid or modify the practice of Surya Namaskar. Consult with your doctor or a qualified yoga teacher for guidance on safe modifications or alternative practices.
- High blood pressure: If you have high blood pressure, it is important to avoid holding your breath during Surya Namaskar and to keep your movements slow and controlled.
- Heart conditions: If you have a heart condition or cardiovascular disease, it is important to avoid the more vigorous or intense variations of Surya Namaskar, such as jumping or high lunges.
- Recent injuries or surgeries: If you have recently had an injury or surgery, it is important to avoid any movements or poses that could aggravate the area of the injury or strain your body.
- Joint pain or stiffness: If you have joint pain or stiffness, it may be necessary to modify the poses or use props to support your body and avoid discomfort.
- Fatigue or illness: If you are feeling fatigued or unwell, it is important to listen to your body and rest as needed. It may be beneficial to avoid or modify your practice of Surya Namaskar until you feel stronger and more energized.
As always, it is important to listen to your body and consult with a qualified yoga teacher or healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions about your practice.
Modifications & Variations
There are many modifications and variations of Surya Namaskar that can be used to accommodate different levels of experience, flexibility, and physical ability. Here are some examples:
- Chair Surya Namaskar: This variation can be done while seated in a chair, making it accessible to those with limited mobility or balance issues. It involves similar movements to the traditional Surya Namaskar sequence, but with the support of a chair.
- Modified Surya Namaskar: This variation involves modifying the poses to accommodate injuries or limitations. For example, instead of lowering all the way down to the floor in Chaturanga, you could lower halfway down or skip the pose altogether.
- Slow-motion Surya Namaskar: This variation involves performing the sequence in slow motion, allowing for a deeper focus on alignment, breath, and movement.
- Ashtanga-style Surya Namaskar: This variation involves adding jump-backs and jump-throughs between the poses, creating a more dynamic and challenging practice.
- Vinyasa-style Surya Namaskar: This variation involves linking the poses together in a fluid, continuous flow, with each movement synchronized with the breath.
Remember, it’s important to listen to your body and practice within your own limits. It’s okay to modify or skip poses if needed, and to take breaks as needed. With time and practice, you can build up your strength, flexibility, and stamina to progress to more challenging variations.
While Surya Namaskar can be a safe and beneficial practice for most people, there are some precautions to keep in mind:
- Warm-up properly: Before beginning Surya Namaskar, it is important to warm up your body with some gentle stretches or movements. This can help reduce the risk of injury and prepare your body for the more dynamic movements of the practice.
- Practice on a non-slip surface: Surya Namaskar involves moving from standing to the floor and back up again, so it’s important to practice on a non-slip surface to avoid slipping or sliding.
- Use props if needed: If you have limited flexibility or mobility, it may be helpful to use props such as blocks or straps to support your body and avoid strain or injury.
- Listen to your body: It’s important to listen to your body and practice within your own limits. If you experience any pain or discomfort, modify or skip poses as needed, and never push yourself beyond your comfort level.
- Avoid overexertion: Surya Namaskar can be a challenging practice, so it’s important to avoid overexerting yourself. Take breaks as needed, and don’t push yourself beyond your limits.
- Consult a doctor if needed: If you have any medical conditions or injuries, it’s important to consult with your doctor or a qualified yoga teacher before beginning a yoga practice.
By taking these precautions, you can practice Surya Namaskar safely and enjoy the many benefits of this powerful practice.
34 Health Benefits Surya Namaskar
- Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation, is a series of 12 yoga poses performed in a sequence. It is a complete body workout and has several health benefits, including:
- Improves Flexibility: Surya Namaskar stretches and tones all the major muscles in the body, thereby increasing flexibility.
- Boosts Digestion: Surya Namaskar stimulates the digestive system and can improve bowel movements.
- Enhances Respiratory Function: Surya Namaskar improves the functioning of the respiratory system by increasing lung capacity and oxygen supply to the body.
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety: The practice of Surya Namaskar helps to reduce stress and anxiety by calming the mind and promoting relaxation.
- Strengthens Muscles and Bones: The various poses in Surya Namaskar help to strengthen the muscles and bones, leading to increased physical strength.
- Regulates Hormones: Surya Namaskar can help regulate the hormonal balance in the body, leading to improved overall health.
- Improves Cardiovascular Health: The practice of Surya Namaskar can improve cardiovascular health by increasing blood circulation and oxygen supply to the heart.
- Promotes Weight Loss: Surya Namaskar is a complete body workout and can help burn calories and promote weight loss.
- Increases Energy Levels: The practice of Surya Namaskar helps to increase energy levels and can help combat fatigue and lethargy.
- Improves Skin Health: Surya Namaskar can improve skin health by increasing blood flow to the skin, leading to a healthy and radiant complexion.
- Enhances Cognitive Function: The practice of Surya Namaskar can enhance cognitive function by improving focus, concentration, and memory.
- Promotes Overall Well-being: The combination of physical poses, breathing techniques, and meditation in Surya Namaskar promotes overall well-being and can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- Helps with Menstrual Problems: The practice of Surya Namaskar can help alleviate menstrual problems such as cramps and irregular periods.
- Improves Posture: Surya Namaskar can improve posture by strengthening the back, neck, and shoulders.
- Reduces the Risk of Injuries: The practice of Surya Namaskar can improve flexibility and muscle strength, reducing the risk of injuries during physical activities.
- Boosts Immune System: Surya Namaskar can boost the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells and improving lymphatic circulation.
- Improves Sleep: The practice of Surya Namaskar can help improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
- Increases Lung Capacity: The breathing techniques used in Surya Namaskar can increase lung capacity and improve respiratory function.
- Reduces Blood Sugar Levels: Surya Namaskar can help regulate blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity and improving glucose metabolism.
- Enhances Emotional Well-being: The meditative aspect of Surya Namaskar can enhance emotional well-being by promoting mindfulness, reducing stress, and improving mood.
- Increases Self-awareness: Surya Namaskar can increase self-awareness by promoting a deeper connection between the mind and body.
- Improves Balance: Surya Namaskar can improve balance by strengthening the core muscles and increasing body awareness.
- Supports Healthy Aging: Surya Namaskar can help slow down the aging process by improving flexibility, balance, and cognitive function.
- Promotes Detoxification: The deep breathing and stretching involved in Surya Namaskar can promote detoxification by improving lymphatic and circulatory function.
- Promotes Mind-Body Connection: Surya Namaskar can promote a deeper mind-body connection by encouraging focus, concentration, and mindfulness.
- Improves Joint Health: The stretching and movement involved in Surya Namaskar can improve joint health and flexibility.
- Enhances Metabolism: Surya Namaskar can enhance metabolism by stimulating the thyroid gland and improving digestive function.
- Increases Bone Density: Surya Namaskar can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.
- Reduces Anxiety and Depression: Surya Namaskar can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
- Improves Heart Health: The practice of Surya Namaskar can improve heart health by reducing blood pressure, decreasing cholesterol levels, and improving circulation.
- Increases Stamina and Endurance: The regular practice of Surya Namaskar can increase stamina and endurance, leading to improved physical performance.
- Supports Healthy Pregnancy: Surya Namaskar can help support a healthy pregnancy by improving blood flow to the uterus and promoting relaxation.
- Improves Concentration and Focus: The meditative aspect of Surya Namaskar can improve concentration and focus, leading to improved productivity and mental clarity.
In summary, Surya Namaskar is a powerful practice with a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits.
FAQ About Surya Namaskar
Some frequently asked questions about surya namaskar, also known as sun salutations:
Q: What is Surya Namaskar?
A: Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation, is a series of 12 yoga postures performed in a sequence to energize the body and promote physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Q: How many rounds of Surya Namaskar should I do?
A: The number of rounds of Surya Namaskar you should do depends on your physical fitness level and experience with yoga. Beginners can start with 2-3 rounds and gradually increase the number to 12.
Q: What are the benefits of practicing surya namaskar?
A: Some of the benefits of surya namaskar include improved flexibility, strength, balance, and circulation. It is also said to help calm the mind and reduce stress.
Q: Is surya namaskar suitable for beginners?
A: Yes, surya namaskar can be modified for beginners and is a good way to build strength and flexibility.
Q: How often should I practice surya namaskar?
A: The frequency of practice depends on individual needs and goals, but it can be practiced daily or a few times a week for best results.
Q: Can surya namaskar be practiced during pregnancy?
A: Surya namaskar can be practiced during pregnancy, but modifications may be necessary. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine.
Q: Is surya namaskar a religious practice?
A: While surya namaskar has roots in Hinduism and is traditionally performed as a form of worship, it can also be practiced as a secular exercise routine.
Q: Can surya namaskar help with weight loss?
A: Surya namaskar can be a part of a weight loss program, as it can help improve metabolism and burn calories. However, it should be combined with a balanced diet and other forms of exercise for best results.
Q: How long does it take to complete one round of surya namaskar?
A: One round of surya namaskar typically takes 3-5 minutes, depending on the speed and pace of the practitioner.
Q: Is it necessary to chant mantras while practicing surya namaskar?
A: While it is traditional to chant mantras during surya namaskar, it is not necessary. The practice can be done in silence or with other forms of music or sounds.
Q: Can surya namaskar be practiced in the evening?
A: Surya namaskar is traditionally practiced in the morning as a way to honor the rising sun, but it can be practiced at any time of day. It is important to listen to the needs of the body and practice at a time that works best for the individual.
Q: Are there any precautions to keep in mind while practicing surya namaskar?
A: It is important to listen to the body and not push beyond one’s limits. Modifications may be necessary for those with injuries or health conditions. It is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine.
Q: What is the difference between surya namaskar and surya namaskar A and B?
A: Surya namaskar A and B are variations of the traditional surya namaskar sequence that are commonly practiced in Ashtanga yoga. They include additional poses and variations that increase the challenge and intensity of the practice.
Q: Can surya namaskar be practiced by people of all ages?
A: Surya namaskar can be practiced by people of all ages, but modifications may be necessary for children and older adults. It is important to listen to the needs of the body and practice at a level that feels safe and comfortable.
Q: Can surya namaskar be practiced outdoors?
A: Surya namaskar can be practiced indoors or outdoors, depending on personal preference and weather conditions. Practicing outdoors can offer the added benefits of fresh air and connection with nature.
Q: Can surya namaskar help with depression and anxiety?
A: Surya namaskar, like other forms of exercise, can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is important to seek professional help if these symptoms persist or worsen.
Q: What is the correct breathing technique for surya namaskar?
A: The traditional breathing technique for surya namaskar is to inhale on the upward movements and exhale on the downward movements. However, modifications can be made to suit individual needs and preferences.
Q: Can surya namaskar help with back pain?
A: Surya namaskar can help improve flexibility and strength in the back muscles, which can in turn help alleviate back pain. However, modifications may be necessary for those with severe back pain or injuries.
Q: How many rounds of surya namaskar should I do?
A: The number of rounds of surya namaskar to practice depends on individual needs and goals. Beginners may start with 1-2 rounds and gradually increase to 10 or more rounds as they build strength and endurance.
Q: Can surya namaskar be practiced during menstruation?
A: Surya namaskar can be practiced during menstruation, but modifications may be necessary. It is important to listen to the needs of the body and not push beyond one’s limits. It is also recommended to avoid inverted poses and deep twists during menstruation.
Q: What should I wear while practicing surya namaskar?
A: It is recommended to wear comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for freedom of movement. Yoga pants, leggings, and tank tops are popular choices.
Q: How long does it take to see the benefits of practicing surya namaskar?
A: The benefits of practicing surya namaskar can be felt immediately, but it may take several weeks or months of consistent practice to see significant improvements in strength, flexibility, and overall well-being.
Q: Is surya namaskar a good warm-up exercise?
A: Surya namaskar can be a good warm-up exercise, as it stretches and warms up the major muscle groups of the body. However, it is important to gradually increase the pace and intensity of the practice to avoid injury.
Q: Can surya namaskar be practiced during pregnancy?
A: Surya namaskar can be practiced during pregnancy, but modifications may be necessary to ensure the safety of both the mother and baby. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider and a qualified yoga instructor before practicing during pregnancy.
Q: Can surya namaskar help with digestion?
A: Surya namaskar can help improve digestion by stimulating the abdominal muscles and increasing blood flow to the digestive organs. It is important to practice on an empty stomach or at least a few hours after eating.
Q: Can surya namaskar help with insomnia?
A: Surya namaskar, like other forms of exercise, can help improve sleep by reducing stress and promoting relaxation. However, it is important to establish a consistent sleep routine and seek professional help if insomnia persists.
Q: What are the benefits of practicing surya namaskar?
A: The benefits of practicing surya namaskar include improved strength, flexibility, cardiovascular health, and mental well-being. It can also help reduce stress, improve digestion, and promote better sleep.
Q: Why do we do 108 sun salutations?
A: 108 sun salutations is a traditional yoga practice that is often done during special occasions, such as the change of seasons or as a way to honor a significant event or intention. The number 108 is considered sacred and significant in many Eastern spiritual traditions and is believed to represent the wholeness of existence.
There are several reasons why 108 is considered a sacred number. In Hinduism, for example, there are said to be 108 sacred texts. In Buddhism, it is believed that there are 108 delusions and 108 forms of meditation. Additionally, the distance between the Earth and Sun is approximately 108 times the Sun’s diameter, and the diameter of the Moon is also said to be approximately 108 times its distance from the Earth.
When it comes to sun salutations specifically, the practice of doing 108 of them is believed to be a way to connect with the energy of the sun and to honor its life-giving power. It can also be a way to challenge oneself physically and mentally and to cultivate discipline, focus, and endurance.
It’s worth noting that while the practice of doing 108 sun salutations is a traditional one, it may not be suitable for everyone. It can be physically demanding and may not be appropriate for those with certain health conditions. As with any yoga practice, it’s important to listen to your body and modify or skip poses as needed to ensure your own safety and well-being.