Surya Namaskara is a sequence of yoga asanas that stretches and stimulates all the body parts. It’s a complete exercise for the body and the mind.
“Surya” in Sanskrit means sun, and “Namaskara”, salutation. The sun salutation sequence is therefore practiced early in the morning during the rising sun.
Practicing it in a slow motion gives more effect on the mind while doing it in a faster motion gives more effect on the body.
It’s very important to synchronize your breathing with your movements and have a flow in your movements. Keep in mind that when you bend backward you inhale, and when you bend forward you exhale.
- It balances the flow of the energy in your body.
- It prepares your mind for meditation.
- It stimulates the abdominal organs.
- It has a detoxifying effect on your body.*
- It balances the endocrine system.*
- It stretches your spine.
- It strengthens and stretches the muscles in your whole body.
- When practiced more powerful it helps to burn fat.
With all these benefits why not start your day with Surya Namaskara. I surely do and it gives me a lot of energy and balance, both in mind and body.
Caution: You should not practice these asanas sequences if you have high blood pressure, if you had or have any kind of heart dιsease, if you had a stroke/brain attack or if you suffer from hernia.*
Women should not practice the sequence during their menstrual cycle or during pregnancy.
If you don’t feel good during the practice you should stop immediately. Fever , inflammation or rashes may occur from the toxins in your body.* If anything like this happens, you should stop your practice and if you wish to continue, do it with the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor.
If you have any kind of problem in your back you should consult your doctor before practicing Surya Namaskara.
In general, you should consult your doctor if you have any kind of health condition before starting this practice or any kind of practice. Read the Medical Disclaimer below.
Let’s get started. Here you have all the poses, in the order you have to practice them. I will give a small description of every pose. (Pose 2 and 11 in the picture, are slightly different from my description. I encourage you to keep the palms looking up)
Stand with your feet together or leaving a small space in between them. Keep your palms together in front of your chest. Relax your body and mind.
2. Hasta Uttanasana
While inhaling stretch your arms above your head and bend your body slightly backward. Your palms should be faced upwards.
This asana stretches all the abdominal organs, opens your chest and helps reduce fat in your body.
While exhaling bend your body forward and downward and try to place your palms on the floor each one on the side of your feet. Our goal is to bring our head to our knees.
Go as far as you can. You can bend your knees little bit if you feel it’s impossible to keep them straight.
This asana stretches the legs, stimulates the abdominal organs and makes the spine flexible.
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana
On next posture you will inhale while extending your right leg back. Place your right knee on the floor. Bend your head slightly backwards and open up your chest. Keep your hands down with the fingers touching the floor.
In this posture you will bring your left foot to join your right foot and bring your hips upwards, while exhaling. Imagine your body as a triangle with the third side being the floor. Your head is between your hands. Try to keep your heels on the floor if possible.
This asana strengthens the muscles of your arms and legs. It stimulates your spinal nerves and your blood circulation.
6. Ashtanga Namaskara
In this posture hold your breath out. Lower your body and touch the ground with your knees, chest and chin. If you cannot do it at the same time bring first your knees to the floor and then your chest and your chin.
This asana strengthens your arms and opens your chest. It also exercises the point between your shoulder blades.
Time to inhale. Place your thighs and hips on the floor, stretch your arms as much as possible and arch your back backwards. Careful with your back. Go as far as you feel comfortable. Your head should be bent slightly backwards. Keep your back relaxed and your shoulders down. Keep the weight of your upper body on your hands. Come to this pose while inhaling.
This asana stimulates the spinal nerves and the abdominal organs.
The rest of the asanas is a repetition of the previous ones.
rom Bhujangasana come back to Parvatasana (described above). You don’t have to move the position of your hands and feet. Exhale while coming to this position.
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Step into Ashwa Sanchalanasana by bringing your left foot forward, while inhaling. You don’t need to move your hands or your right leg.
Bring your right foot forward and place it beside your left foot. Do this while you exhale.
11. Hasta Uttanasana
Bring your upper body upward and repeat Hasta Uttanasana while inhaling.
Bring your palms together in front of your chest and exhale.
This is a half round of Surya Namaskara. The other half is practiced with a small variation in pose 4 and 9, where you switch the legs.
In the end of every half round, you should stand still until you regain your normal breathing and then continue with the other half.
When starting the practice you should not perform too many rounds. 1-3 should be enough. Let your body adjust and get used to the new practice. Don’t be in a hurry to ad more rounds. Listen to your body and don’t exhaust it. One round may sound to little but for a beginner it’s fine. After the practice you should not feel exhaustion or dizziness. You should feel energized and revitalized.
Add a round every couple of weeks until you reach 10-12 rounds.