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Arogya Vidhaa – Surya Namaskara

Surya Namaskara

Often termed as Sun Salutation in English, it is translated from its Sanskrit Base i.e. Surya means Shining/Sun, Namaskara means Salutation.

Surya Namskara is a Vinyasa style yoga; it consists of 12 asanas that are performed in a particular sequence. Amazingly, it makes up as a comprehensive body workout technique. Although there are only 12 of them, in the vast catalog of yogaasanas, it offers exercise for entire body.

The Asana

Surya Namskara in practice presently have different variations in the sequential order and pace of the asanas. Some terms in circulation are Power Yoga (fast paced), Hata Yoga (Holding onto position for long) and so on.

The Asana – Technique

Asanas should always be performed with appropriate breathing technique which aids in easy movements & holding onto asana. Mostly, forward asana (bending down, sideways etc ) are performed by deep
exhalation & backward lifting ( lifting body in prone position) or backward bending are carried out by deep inhalation technique. The holding of asana in a position will be done by deep inhalation & exhalation.

The Asana – Best Time To Perform

Surya Namskara is best done in early morning during the sunrise or evening at the offset of sun (by facing the sun) in an empty stomach. It is advisable to follow one particular version and practice it regularly for best results.

The Asana – Benefits

The Asanas, twists, turns & stretches every muscle, joints & spine, hence known as ‘The Ultimate Asana. It expands and contracts the lungs and helps to regulate the breathing. It brings great flexibility to the spine and joints and keeps the waist slender. Boosts blood circulation, brings down blood sugar levels. Improves metabolism and gives glowing effect to skin and face. It also helps in preventing wrinkles and early aging. Surya Namskara is also known to have an immense positive impact on the body and mind.

The Asana – Steps

Any Yogasana starts with warm up exercises.

Read about Loosening exercises here.

The Asana – In Detail

Asana - Step1
Asana - Step2
Asana - Step3
Asana - Step4
Asana - Step5
Asana - Step6
Asana - Step7
Asana - Step8
Asana - Step9
Asana - Step10
Asana - Step11
Asana - Step12
Asana - Step1
Sama Sthithi – Thadasana  (Palm Tree pose)
Relaxing Sthithi – Shithila Thadasana

Raise your hand & place the palm in Namskara mudra (anterior surface of the palms touching each other) in front of the chest.

 

 

Close your eyes & chant the below Mantra :

 

 

Hiranmayena patrena satyasyapi hitam mukham |
tatvam pusanna pavrnu satya dharmaya drishtaye ||

 

“The universal truth is kept in a golden vessel & is protected with your(sun) golden sphere, we request you to uncover the entrance & lead us to the truth, thereby help us to fallow Dharma, the righteousness”.

While in sthithi Chant : 

Om Mitraya Namah - bow to one Who is friendly to all

 

Tune into Pradyumna J S chanting Hiranmayena :

 

 

Asana - Step2
Hastauttanasana ( Raised Arm Pose)

The name is derived from Sanskrit word – ‘Hasta’ means ‘Hand’, uttana – Raise & Asana is Pose. This asana is achieved by raising the arm above head. 

Chant : Om Ravaye Namah - bow to one who is radiant 

Introduction
  • Name: Hasta Uttana Asana

  • Meaning: Hand Raise Pose    

  • Type: Standing                                                                                 

  • Complimentary: Pada Hasta Asana

  • Number of Steps: 4  

Demonstration of Steps 
  • Step 1 –Inhale - raise the hand above head

  • Step 2 – continue inhaling – bend the trunk backwards as far as possible

  • Step 3 – breath normal – stretch & hold the neck & head firmly in one position

  • Step 4 – breath normal - Gaze upwards & stay in the position

Key Points 
  • Don’t bend at knee

  • Don’t keep the head suspend

  • Keep calm

Benefits
  • Strengthen the upper back, shoulders & chest muscles

  • Expands the lungs & helps in more oxygen intake

  • Stretches & strengthens the neck

  • Strengthens the leg, feet, thighs & knees

Limitations

No limitation

 

Asana - Step3
Pada Hasta Asana (Hand under Foot Pose)

The name is derived from Sanskrit word – ‘Pada’ means ‘feet’, Hasta – Hand & Asana is Pose. the asana is attained by placing the hand on the floor on either side of the feet.

Chant : Om Suryaya Namah - bow to one who is shining, dispeller of darkness and responsible for bringing activity

Introduction
  • Name: Pada Hasta Asana

  • Meaning: Hand to feet Asana

  • Type: Standing                                                                                 

  • Complimentary: Hasta Uttanasana Asana

  • Number of Steps: 5 

Demonstration of Steps 
  • Step 1 –Exhale- bend the body forward & bring it parallel to the ground 

  • Step 2 – continue Exhaling – bend further & touch the fore head to knee

  • Step 3 – continue Exhaling – place the palms on the floor next to the feet

  • Step 4 – breath normal – stay in the position

  • Step 5 – breath normal - close your eyes & Breath normally

Key Points 
  • Don’t bend at knee

  • The back should be kept straight

  • The beginners should approach this asana step by step  

Benefits
  • Strengthen the vertebral column, abdomen Spine and back 

  • Stretches the spine & make it more flexible 

  • Increases the blood supply to brain & face

  •  Strengthens the abdominal muscles

  • Reduces the fat at abdominal area

Limitations
  • Pregnant women should refrain from doing this asana

  • Those who have heart problem & high blood pressure should avoid 

  • Those who have undergone any surgeries, should avoid this for 6 months

 

Asana - Step4
Ashwa Sanchalana Asana (Horse Riding Pose)

The name is derived from Sanskrit word – ‘Ashwa’ means ‘Horse ’& Snachalana is movement or riding.

Chant : Om Bhanave Namah - bow to One who illumines the life

Introduction
  • Name: Ashwa Sanchalana Asana

  • Meaning: Horse Riding Pose

  • Type: Standing                                                                                 

  • Complimentary: Self

  • Number of Steps: 4 

Demonstration 
  • Step 1 –Inhale- maintain palms posture & extend the right leg back with toes on the ground

  • Step 2 – continue inhaling – Push the buttocks downwards

  • Step 3 – breath normal – Keep the left thigh parallel to the ground

  • Step 4 – breath normal – Gaze forward & stay in the position

Key Points 
  • Don’t bend right knee

  • The left thigh should be parallel to the ground.

Benefits
  • Strengthen the legs, thighs & foot 

  • Stretches the spine & make it more flexible 

  • Squeezes abdominal muscles & reduces the fat 

  • Tones the kidney and liver

Limitations
  • Those who have stomach problem & thigh injury should avoid 

  • Those who have neck problem should gaze towards the ground

 

Asana - Step5
Parvata Asana/ Ado Mukha Shwana Asana (Mountain pose/ Down Ward facing dog Pose)

The name is derived from Sanskrit word – ‘Parvata’ means ‘Mountain ’& Ado – Downward, Mukha – Face. When the final position is reached it looks like a mountain or the dog facing downwards.

Chant : Om Khagaaya Namah- bow to  one Who is all-pervading

Introduction
  • Name: Parvata Asana/ Ado Mukha Shwana Asana

  • Meaning: Mountain pose/ downward facing dog Pose 

  • Type: Prone                                                                                 

  • Complimentary: Bhujangasana

  • Number of Steps: 6

Demonstration of Steps 
  • Step 1 –Exhale- maintain palms posture & extend the left leg back next to right leg

  • Step 2 – continue exhaling –push the buttock up 

  • Step 3 – continue exhaling – push the head towards ground & try to place the crown on the ground

  • Step 4 Exhale - Keep the body positioned in an inverted "V" with the palms and feet kept straight & rooted into the earth 

  • Step 5 – breath normal – ensure body weight is equally distributed between the hands and the feet. Ensure the heart is open & neck is relaxed

  • Step 6 – breath normal – Gaze forward & stay in the position 

Key Points 
  • Do not bend elbows

  • Do not bend knees

  • Heal & palm should be firmly rooted on ground

Benefits
  • Stretches and strengthens the whole body.

  • Opens the heart muscles & keeps them healthy

  • Helps in relieving back pain.

  • It rejuvenates the body.

  • Useful in headache, fatigue and insomnia.

  • Tones the body muscles.

  • Gives strength to your legs, feet, shoulders and arms.

  • Reduce anxiety and depression.

Limitations
  • Don’t perform this posture in case of carpal tunnel syndrome;.

  • People suffering from diarrhea avoid this pose.

  • During the latter stages of pregnancy don’t do this Asana.

    • Do it carefully In case of high blood pressure or headache.

  • In case of chronic or recent injury to the arms, hips, shoulders and back avoid this. 

 

Asana - Step6
Ashta anga Namaskara  (8 limbed salutation)

The name is derived from Sanskrit word – ‘Ashta’ means ‘eight ’& Anga – Parts, Namaskara – Salutation. It is the position of salutation to surya by balancing on the 8 parts of the body on the ground.  The 8 parts of the body – chin, chest, 2 Palms, 2 knees & toes of the two feet would be on the ground & rest of the parts are off the ground.

Chant : Om Pushne Namah- bow to one who gives strength

Introduction
  • Name: Ashta anga Namaskara  

  • Meaning: 8 limbed salutation

  • Type: Prone                                              

  • Complimentary: Self

  • Number of Steps: 6

Demonstration of Steps 
  • Step 1 – inhale- maintain the palm posture & push the chest & head forward towards the hand 

  • Step 2 – continue inhaling – keep the chest on the ground in between the palms

  • Step 3 – Exhale - Place the chin on the ground

  • Step 4 continue exhaling – Place the knee & toes on the ground  

  • Step 5 – breath normal – ensure the thighs, abdomen & forehead are off the ground.

  • Step 6 – breath normal – Gaze forward & stay in the position 

Key Points 
  • Only eight parts should touch the ground

  • Do not put pressure on chest

Benefits
  • Stretches and strengthens the whole body.

  • Stimulates hand, knee & toes

  • Reduce anxiety and depression.

Limitations
  • Pregnant women should avoid this

  • Avoid, if there are any injury to the arms, hips, shoulders knee etc

 

Asana - Step7
Bhujanga Asana (Cobra pose)

Bhujangasana stretches the chest and revitalizes the heart.  In final pose body resembles the head of a cobra. The word Bhujanga means snake.

Chant : Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namah- bow to one who has golden color brilliance

Introduction
  • Name: Bhujangasana

  • Meaning: Cobra posture

  • Type: Prone

  • Category: Cultural

  • Complimentary: Shalabasana, Parvatasana

  • Counts: 4

Demonstration of steps
  • Step 1 – Exhale – Place the abdomen & thigh on the ground

  • Count 2 – Exhale Further –relax/ stretch & ensure they are pointed upwards.

  • Count 3 – inhale – raise the chest above the ground by bending elbow a little

  • Count 4 – inhale Further – stretch the neck backward & try to reach as far as possible

  • Count 5 – Breath normally – gaze upwards

  • Count 4 – inhale Further – maintain the position

Key Points
  • Legs should be together & toes should point upwards

  • Lower part of the body should be on the ground

  • Elbows should be as close as possible

  • Raise the head first & then slowly the trunk

Benefits
  • Flexes & strengthens the spine 

  • strengthens the back muscle

  • Reduces the belly fat

  • Expand the lungs & increases the lung capacity

  • Bronchial Asthma, Nasal Allergy patients are benefited

Limitations
  • Those who have undergone recent abdominal surgery should avoid this

Asana - Step8
Parvatasna

This asana is a repeat while returning to sthithi; however the steps to achieve these asanas would be different, as we are going in the reverse order. The benefits, limitation, final position would remain the same.

Chant : Om Mareechaye Namah- bow to the one who has infinite rays of light

Demonstration of steps
  • Step 1 –Exhale- take the chest & knees off the ground 

  • Step 2 – continue exhaling – Straighten the hand & push the head towards the ground

  • Step 3 – continue exhaling –push the buttock upwards 

  • Step 4 Exhale further - Keep The body positioned in an inverted "V" with the palms and feet kept straight & rooted into the earth

  • Step 5 – breath normal – Gaze forward

  • Step 6 – breath normal –Stay in the position

 

Asana - Step9
Ashwasanchalansana

This asana is a repeat while returning to sthithi; however the steps to achieve these asanas would be different, as we are going in the reverse order. The benefits, limitation, final position would remain the same.

Chant : Om Adityaya Namah - bow to The son of Aditi

Demonstration of steps
  • Step 1 –inhale- maintain the palm position & take right leg forward & place it in between the palms

  • Step 2 – continue inhaling – place left knee on the ground

  • Step 3 – breath Normal – straighten the back 

  • Step 4 – breath normal – Gaze forward & Stay in the position

Asana - Step10
Padahastasana

This asana is a repeat while returning to sthithi; however the steps to achieve these asanas would be different, as we are going in the reverse order. The benefits, limitation, final position would remain the same.

Chant : Om Savitre Namah- bow to One who is responsible for life

Demonstration of steps
  • Step 1 –Exhale- maintain the palm position & bring left leg forward & place it in between the palms, next to the right leg

  • Step 2 – continue inhaling – straighten the back & knee

  • Step 3 – breath Normal – Gaze forward

  • Step 4 – breath normal –Stay in the position
Asana - Step11
Hastauttanasana

This asana is a repeat while returning to sthithi; however the steps to achieve these asanas would be different, as we are going in the reverse order. The benefits, limitation, final position would remain the same.

Chant : Om Arkaya Namah- bow to Worthy of praise and glory

Demonstration of steps
  • Step 1 –Inhale- take the hand & trunk from the ground

  • Step 2 – continue inhaling – take the hand above head

  • Step 3 – breath Normal – bend the trunk backwards as far as possible

  •  

    Step 4 – breath normal – Gaze forward & Stay in the position
Asana - Step12
shithila Thadasana

This asana is a repeat while returning to sthithi; however the steps to achieve these asanas would be different, as we are going in the reverse order. The benefits, limitation, final position would remain the same.

Chant : Om Bhaskaraya Namah- bow to Giver of wisdom and cosmic illumination

Slowly return to shithila Thadasana pose and relax.

This completes one cycle of Surya Namskara.

The same steps are repeated several times to get maximum benefits.

 

Surya Namskara offers immense benefits when carried out properly along with breathing & mantra chanting. Surya Namskara itself is a vast topic & occupies entire booklet to explain & hence I have only pointed out important points for the benefits of many.

Always end the yoga session with Shavasana.

Read about Shavasana here

About the Yoga Mentor

Yoga Karna Sudarsun

Sudarsun is the founder and mentor at Shishya Yoga Centre, Kanchi. He is a certified Yoga Mentor, has won several accolades including International silver medal. He has been instrumental in training several talents. Recently he has been awarded the title : Yoga Karna

 

Megha Belthur
Latest posts by Megha Belthur (see all)

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