Surya Namaskar: 12 Step Guide For A Flawless Yoga Workout
Surya Namaskar is easily one of the first asanas taught by yoga gurus. Also known as sun salutation, surya namaskar is widely popular for its many health benefits which include strengthening your core, stimulating the nervous system, improving blood flow, relieving constipation, making you more flexible by nurturing your joints and muscles, and, of course, weight loss.
Not just to shed the fat, which you definitely will if you commit to this exercise, there are plenty of reasons you should learn the surya namaskar and make it part of your early morning ritual.
- One set of surya namaskar burns 13.90 calories.
- Each set (1 surya namaskar sequence) consists of 2 reps with 12 poses each.
- According to Ayurveda, surya namaskar is credited with balancing your doshas (Vita, Pita and Kapha)
- Traditionally, surya namaskar was to be done at dawn as an ode to the sun and also because it was believed that the early morning rays improved your endocrine system.
- The asana is often prescribed to those with diabetes as it stimulates the pancreas and regulates insulin.
Surya Namaskar Step-By-Step
Step 1: (Pranamasana, or Prayer Pose)
Stand with your feet together, distributing your weight equally. Keep your shoulders tall and broad (stand erect), and hands by your side, relaxed. Now, take a deep breath as you bring your hands together in front of you at chest level in a namaskar. Exhale.
Step 2: (Hasta Uttanasana, or Raised Arms Pose)
Inhale, raise your folded hands up and bend backwards as you feel the stretch from head to toe. Your biceps should be by your ears.
Step 3: (Hasta Padasana, or Hand To Foot Pose)
Exhaling, bend forward from the waist and transition your folded hands to open palms as you aim to touch the floor. You can alternatively hold your ankles and try to touch your head to your knees.
If you’re a beginner, do as much as you can but the end goal is for you to be able to touch the floor with ease over time.
Step 4: (Ashwa Sanchalanasana, Or Equestrian Pose)
As you inhale, place your palms under your chest for support and crouch. Stretch your left leg behind you and keep your right leg bent at the knee, in line with your palms. Kind of like the ‘Set’ position of ‘Ready, Set, Go’, only more elongated with your back (left) foot stretched out and balanced on your toe. Now, push your chest out and look up.
Step 5: (Parvatasana, Or Mountain Pose)
Exhaling, take your right foot back in line with your left foot and raise your hips as you bring your head between your arms. Your feet should be firmly planted on the floor, and your elbows and knees stretched to the limit (not soft).
Step 6: (Ashtanga Namaskara, Or Eight Limbs Position)
Hold your breath and bring your hips back down. It’s like you’re lying down but only your knees, chest, chin, palms and feet are touching the floor. Your hips should be propped upward in a curve and keep your belly off the floor.
Step 7: (Bhujangasana, Or Cobra Pose)
Inhale, and bring your hips back down to the floor as you push your body forward with the support of your palms. While doing so, raise your chest up off the floor and your head back to look at the ceiling.
Step 8: (Adho mukha Svanasana, Or Downward Facing Dog)
Exhaling, lift our body off the floor from the hips with your feet and palms still planted and your head between your arms (like an inverted V). Your elbows and knees stretched to the limit (not soft).
Step 9: (Ashwa Sanchalanasana, Or Equestrian Pose)
As you inhale, come back to equestrian pose bending the right leg forward at the knee. Move to the set’ position of ‘Ready, Set, Go’, only more elongated with your back (left) foot stretched out. Palms should be aligned with your chest for support. Now, push your chest out and look up.
Step 10: (Hasta Padasana, or Hand To Foot Pose)
Exhaling, bring your left foot in line with your right foot and move half way to standing up position. Your body should be bent forward at the waist with your head touching your knees. Your hands clutching at the back of your ankles, or if possible, touching the floor.
Step 11: (Hasta Uttanasana, or Raised Arms Pose)
Inhale, straighten your body to stand fully erect and then raise your hands in a namaskar as you bend backward. You should feel the stretch from head to toe. Your biceps should be by your ears.
Step 12: Step 1: (Pranamasana, or Prayer Pose)
Bring your folded hands back down in front of your chest in the namaskar position as you stand straight. Exhale, and then bring your hands back down to your sides, feet together as you distribute your weight equally.
Repeat the whole sequence, but this time do the equestrian pose (step 4) with the other leg. This completes 1 set and grants you a calorie burn of 13.90.
Things To Remember:
- Sun Salutations (surya namaskars) are best done in the morning on an empty stomach, facing the east.
- Synchronising your breathing with the recommended sequence will help deepen your practice and improve blood flow and oxygen circulation.
- Over time, your stretches should get deeper and you should be able to transition from one asana to the next rapidly in a fluid motion.
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