Surya Namaskar is a very popular yoga practice. This videos introduces us to the concept of Surya Namaskar and its benefits, It also illustrates the many different kinds of Surya Namaskar practiced in various traditions.
Toning of physical body
Increased awareness of body and breath.
Improve full body strength
What to Expect from Surya Namaskar
Sivananda Surya Namaskar: In this, the Surya Namaskar poses are performed as a continuous exercise in a graceful sequence. In this, each position will have different body stretching and regulation of breathing by alternate expansion and contraction of your chest.
Ashtanga Surya Namaskar:
In this series, there are 2 types A and B. It is differentiated by the speed at which you perform the postures to achieve your results. Type A is the basic Surya namaskar meant for the beginners. You can start with 5 rounds of Surya Namaskar A followed by 5 rounds of B. Type B includes more strenuous poses like warrior pose to increase stamina and core strength.
It is a mirror image of Surya namaskar except for the performing time. Chandra Namaskar is done in the presence of the moon whereas Surya namaskar in the morning during sunrise. The stomach should be empty while doing both the asanas. All the asanas are the same except for an additional Ardha Chandrasan that is done after Ashva Sanchalanasan. Our body has 70% water and the moon is always connected with water. Doing Chandra namaskar in moonlight has a positive impact on our health. This will make you feel calm and relaxed and helps you lose excess body weight.
What is Surya Namaskar?
Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutation is an ancient yoga that incorporates a continuous sequence of 12 asanas. The poses originated back in the 9th century in India under Hatha Yoga. All the 12 poses are dedicated to the Hindu deity Surya. Some people also perform these 12 steps along with special mantras associated with it.
With time, new variations and types of Surya Namaskar have also originated. As the name suggests, Surya Namaskar is a morning yoga that you can perform on a daily basis. Whether you are looking for yoga for strength or yoga for stress relief, poses of Surya Namaskar benefit it all. Not just this, you can also do Surya Namaskar for weight loss.
What are some various types of Surya Namaskar?
Over the centuries, Surya Namaskar has evolved and its poses have undergone variations. Here are three types performed by three different schools of yoga, Hatha, Ashtanga, and Iyengar:
In the Ashtanga, there are two forms of sun salutations: Type A and B. In type A, there are 9 poses, namely Tadasana, Urdhva Hastasana, Uttanasana, Anjaneyasana, Dandasana, Chaturanga Dandasana, Urdhva, Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana and Virbhadrasana I.
In type B, there are 17 to 19 poses, namely, Samasthiti, Utkatasana, Uttanasana, Ardha Uttanasana, Chaturanga Dandasana, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Virabhadrasana I, Chaturanga Dandasana, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Virabhadrasana I, Chaturanga Dandasana, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Adho, Mukha Svanasana, Ardha Uttanasana, Uttanasana, Utkatasana, Samasthiti (Tadasana).
Hatha Surya Namaskar:
In Hatha, there are 12 poses that focus on breathing. This is the most common type of Surya Namaskar exercise and is probably the easiest one too. This one is discussed below.
Iyengar Surya Namaskar
Iyengar follows the same 12 steps as you do in Hatha Surya Namaskar. The only difference is that the focus in mote on the pace and energy. The steps are performed at a quicker pace as compared to other types.
How Effectively Can We Do Surya Namaskar at Home?
Unlike strength training and other exercises, Surya Namaskar is easy to do at home. You do not require any special equipment and extensive training for it. Those who are trying yoga for beginners often include Surya Namaskar yoga in their daily routine. All they need is a yoga mat, comfortable cloth, and a peaceful place. These are easily available at home and thus, you can effectively perform these poses at home.
Who Can Do Surya Namaskar?
If you are healthy and do not have any serious health issues or injuries, you can perform Surya Namaskar yoga. As far as age and gender are concerned, they do not impact your ability to perform these poses. In fact, Surya Namaskar is even used in kids yoga. Moreover, as it does not require any special equipment like dumbbells or weights, Surya Namaskar exercise is also good for those who stay at home. To get more information, talk to a yoga expert.
Who Should Avoid Surya Namaskar?
No doubt that Surya Namaskar exercise can be done by anyone but there are some exceptions. Since your body’s muscles are continuously at work during Surya Namaskar steps, there are some conditions that make it difficult to continue it. Here are some conditions when you should avoid Surya Namaskar:
Injured Back: Since Surya Namaskar steps involve stretching of the spine and puts a lot of pressure on the hips and lower back, those who have a bad back or injured back should avoid it.
Pregnancy: It is not advised that pregnant women should perform this as it puts pressure on the abdominal areas and back.
Heart Diseases: If you have a heart problem, try to avoid doing or consult a physician before doing Surya Namaskar for beginners.
High Blood Pressure: Those who suffer from high BP should not rush to perform this yogasana.
Arthritis: Surya Namaskar exercise requires the usage of knees and if you have severe arthritis, you can face issues doing all the poses.
Injured Wrist: Surya Namaskar steps and poses like Cobra Pose and Adho Mukha Svanasana put pressure on the wrist and if you have an injury in the wrist, further pressure can increase the complications. Thus, avoid doing this yoga in such a case.
In case you have any of the above-listed conditions, try to avoid Surya Namaskar. If you are a beginner, you need proper guidance from an expert or a yoga teacher to make sure you perform it the right way.
How to do Surya Namaskar step by step?
Here is how you can perform traditional or Hatha Surya Namaskar step by step:
Step 1: Pranamasana (Prayer pose):
Stand straight at the edge of your yoga mat. Keep both of your feet together and balance the body weight evenly on each leg. Relax your shoulders and expand your chest. As you inhale, lift both of your arms. While exhaling, bring your palms together near the chest and get in a prayer position.
Step 2: Hastauttanasana (Raised arms pose)
Take another breath in and stretch your arms up and back. Make sure your biceps are near your ears. Your whole body – from fingertips to toes – will feel stretched. To deepen this pose, you can also push your pelvis a bit; however, do not try to bend backward.
Step 3: Hastapadasana (Standing forward bend)
Exhale and bend your body forward. Keep the spinal cord erected and bend only from the waist. As you exhale fully, touch your toes with your fingers. You can also touch the floor with your hands beside the feet. If you cannot touch the toes properly, you can bend your knees a bit.
Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
While inhaling, push your right leg back as far as you can. Bring the right knee to the floor and look upwards.
Step 5: Dandasana (Stick pose)
In the next Surya Namaskar pose, you should take the left leg back aside from the right leg. Your body will come in a straight position just like a stick. To make it better, make sure your arms are perpendicular to the floor.
Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with eight parts or points)
From the stick pose, you should dive into the Ashtanga Namaskara pose. For this, bring your knees to the floor and breathe out. Rest your chin and chest on the floor while keeping your hips slightly up and backward. This will look as if you are saluting with eight points; your chest, chin, two hands, two knees, and two feet touching the floor.
Step 7. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Now comes the famous Bhujangasana or the Cobra pose. For this, slide your body forward and raise your chest in upward directions. You can bend your elbows and look towards the ceiling. This pose of Sun Salutation requires you to stretch your whole body; however, do not force and overstretch.
Step 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose)
From the previous pose, lift your hips while exhaling. Push your tailbone up keeping your hands on the ground such that your body is in an inverted “V” position. Keep the heels on the floor and gently go deeper into the stretch.
Step 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
Now, we are returning back to the initial poses. So, inhale and bring the right foot in the forward direction between the two hands. At this moment, your left knee will touch the floor. Keep your hips down and look upwards.
Step 10: Hastapadasana (Standing forward bend)
Exhale and slowly bring the left foot forward near the right foot. Do not move the position of your palms and keep them on the floor. You can bend your knees a bit if keeping them straight is difficult for you. If it is not, then try to touch your nose to the knees and stretch the body. Remember to keep breathing.
Step 11. Hastauttanasana (Raised arms pose)
While breathing, it is time to return to the raised arms pose. Roll your spine up and raise your hands. Bend them back a bit by pushing your hips slightly. Keep in mind that your biceps are beside your ears.
Step 12. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
The final and easiest pose is Tadasana. As you exhale, bring your arms back and let them down. Straighten your body and relax in this pose. Take a deep breath and observe your body sensations for a while.
Sets and Duration: This is the complete set of Surya Namaskar for beginners. You can do it for 10 minutes. 5 sets of this asana is good for beginners. Later you can increase the sets after gaining expertise.
Benefits of Doing Surya Namaskar
Whether you use Surya Namaskar for weight loss or try its yoga pose for flexibility, you can get various other benefits that go beyond these goals. Some of the benefits are as follows:
Tones Muscles and Better Flexibility: When you perform Surya Namaskar, different muscle groups of your body and nerve centers known as Chakras get focused. This tones your body parts like the thighs, butt, abs, and arms. Moreover, your flexibility also gets improved.
Improved Digestion and Weight Loss: If you perform all the 12 poses, and take a balanced diet, your digestive system gets significantly improved. It also boosts the right kind of digestive juices; further supporting the metabolism system. The calories burned in Surya Namaskar also help in weight loss.
Increased Self-Awareness for Higher Energy Level: Surya Namaskar is also about breathing that gives deep relaxation to the body. It also increases your self-awareness; thus, boosting your energy levels.
Aids Detoxification: When you properly breathe during Surya Namaskar positions, your lungs get thoroughly ventilated and blood is highly oxygenated. This promotes the detoxification of the body.
Reduction in Mood Swings and Stress: Doing Surya Namaskar also works on your breathing and relaxation that also leads to great relaxation to the nerves and chakra. It also positively impacts your brain and mental health while reducing mood swings and stress.
Healthier Skin: Surya Namaskar yoga benefits such as blood circulation, good digestion, relaxation, and body flexibility work together to give you healthy and glowing skin.
Other than these Surya Namaskar benefits, you can also expect the following:
Strong muscles and joint
Improved blood circulation
Absorption of nutrients
Relief from menstrual cramps
Disadvantages of Doing Surya Namaskar
Normally, you can only find benefit like Surya Namaskar for weight loss, but there can be some disadvantages too if you do not perform Surya Namaskar steps properly. These include:
Doing Surya Namaskar without proper guidance can lead to muscle sprains and injuries.
Performing it’s steps when you are suffering from health issues like arthritis can lead to further complications.
Overdoing Surya Namaskar asana can make your muscles sore and cause pain.
Also, focus on a balanced diet when performing this asana for weight loss.
Dos & Don’ts
Always breathe through your nose while doing Surya Namaskar steps.
Wear comfortable and stretchable clothes to freely move your body while performing these 12 poses.
Practice Surya Namaskar positions at least two hours before or after having your food.
Always do a warm-up even before performing this yogasana to avoid any injury or strain.
Drink water to stay hydrated before doing this asana.
Find a quiet and calm place to perform Surya Namaskar yoga.
Do not overdo Surya Namaskar positions as it can put a strain on muscles and cause injury.
Avoid doing Surya Namaskar if you are menstruating heavily.
Do not perform strenuous or cardio exercises after Surya Namaskar poses.
Do not perform Surya Namaskar asana fast or in a hurried manner.
Things Required to Do Surya Namaskar if You Are at Home & Gym?
When you perform Surya Namaskar for beginners, you do not require any specific equipment. However, there are some things that can improve the
experience. These include the following.
A Yoga Mat
A Water Bottle
A Clean Towel
Comfortable Clothes such as Yoga Pants