Surya Namaskar is one of the most ancient techniques of yoga and is a must for anyone to learn who is even beginning to learn yoga. If you translate the Surya Namaskar in English it means saluting the sun. The Surya Namaskar originated from the tradition of worshipping the Sun God or Ra as the Egyptians named it.
It is interesting to note that the Surya Namaskar combines several asanas, chakra meditation, mantra and also pranayama. Hence the practice of this yoga leads to automatic performance of several important asanas.
Some of the benefits of Surya Namaskar are:
- It helps in weight loss
- It helps to get the body in shape
- It can be a great way to start the day
- It is a good way to distress the body
- It is effective for digestive system
- It can reduce hair fall and dandruff issues. This is because it improves the blood circulation in the body.
- It is a great way to meditate as it has mantras in it
- It helps in irregular periods for women. If the pregnancy is normal then doing Surya Namaskar can ensure a less painful labour
- It keeps the abdomen in shape
- It can keep the skin glowing and young for longer.
- It is very good for heart related problems as it improves the circulation of blood.
- It helps the muscles of the body to be stretched. This is exactly why the Surya Namaskar is recommended to sports persons too.
Stages in Surya Namaskar
There are totally twelve stages in the Surya Namaskar. These stages are called:
- Hasta Uttanasana
- Pada Hastasana
- Ashtangha namaskar
- Pada Hastana
- Hasta Uttanasana
- Hasta Uttanasana
We will now discuss how each stage of the Surya Namaskar needs to be done.
- Pranamasan is the first position in this just stand straight. Look at the morning sun if possible. Fold your hands in namaskar style. The hands should be close to the chest. Chant the mantra that we have already mentioned.
- Hasta Uttanasana in this posture your hands in the air. Now roll your hands backwards as far as you can. In this posture chant the mantra and take a deep breath.
- Pada Hastasana in this position just bend forward as you do so release the breath. Bend as far as you can and try to touch the feet.
- Ashwa-sanchalan-asan is the next step. In this you need to put the hands on the floor. Lower your hip and stretch your left leg. This will allow the hip to balance on your toes. Your right leg should be crouched. The head should be raised towards the sky.
- Parvatasana in this step you need to breathe out. The right leg should be taken back and it should be parallel to the left leg. The hip should be raised a little high in this pose. Balance the body with your arms.
- Ashtangha namaskar in this step of the Surya Namaskar you will have to remove the arms so that your whole body can touch the floor. This is the part where eight points of the body will be touching the floor.
- Bhujangasana is the nest asana that we will be discussing in the list of the asanas that make theSurya Namaskar. In this again raise the body using your arms. Your arms will carry the weight of the body. Your face will be towards the sky again.
- The Parvatasana is now repeated again. This is same as the fifth pose that we have already discussed.
- Ashwa-sanchalan-asan is the ninth asana in theSurya Namaskar. In this asana you are required to return to the posture that we mentioned in the fourth posture above. This time the difference is that you will be stretching your right leg and crouching your left leg.
- Pada Hastana is the next posture in the list of the asana. This is third posture that we have already discussed. In this you will be bringing your right foot parallel to the left foot.
- Hasta Uttanasana in this posture your hands are up in the air in a namaskar position.
- Hasta Uttanasana now your hands are again close to your chest as you get back to the position you started from.
Mantras in Surya Namaskar
Each of the twelve stages has a mantra associated with it. The mantras are:
- Om Mitraaya Namaha
- Om Ravaye Namaha
- Om Suryaaya Namaha
- Om Bhaanve Namaha
- Om khagaaya Namaha
- Om Pooshney Namaha
- Om Hiranayagarbhaaya namaha
- Om Mareechibhyoh Namaha
- Om Adityaaya Namaha
- Om Savitre Namaha
- Om Arkaaya Namaha
- Om Bhaaskaraaya Namah
Breath during Surya Namaskar
It must be noted that Surya Namaskar is not only about positions but also about taking breath in the right fashion. The following picture shows the types of breath that must be taken during different poses. This is a must for those beginning yoga to learn the way breath is taken.
These mantras must be pronounced as you do the Surya Namaskar. This will improve the effectiveness of the Surya Namaskar. This will also help you to remember the last step that you did as there are total twelve stages in the Surya Namaskar.
Beginning Yoga with Video
Normally you see different videos with experts performing Surya Namaskar and we think it is very difficult and not for the “rest of us”.
So we have uploaded a video performed by a normal person, a young lady who is not an expert at exercises but it goes to show that anyone and everyone even just beginning yoga practice can do Surya Namaskar
Some Tips for Yoga Beginners about Surya Namaskar
The Surya Namaskar must be done in the morning only. You must find a peaceful place to do the Surya Namaskar. It is preferred if the Surya Namaskar is done in the open. You can learn Surya Namaskar from a good yoga teacher. This is because you will not get the results if you don’t do it correctly.
Once you have learnt the Surya Namaskar you can practice on your own. Surya Namaskar is taught in most of the yoga classes. You can also consult your doctor before you start learning the Surya Namaskar. It can be not advisable if you are obese or have knee problems.
Surya Namaskar can be learnt by anyone irrespective of their age. However, if you feel any discomfort or breathlessness while doing the Surya Namaskar you must stop immediately. It is quite possible that it is not meant for you. It is also possible that your body is not able to take the Surya Namaskar.
Don’t stress yourself. Surya Namaskar can be done for any number of times. In the beginning we would suggest five rounds of the Surya Namaskar. As you start to practice it you can increase the number of rounds. This will give you even better results. Half an hour of Surya Namaskar is good enough. One round of Surya Namaskar means all the twelve stages that we have mentioned above.
We hope that you have got a good idea on Surya Namaskar by reading this article. It is an effective yoga and you must try to learn the same. Regular practice of Surya Namaskar for a month or so will help you to understand its benefits. You must continue to do the Surya Namaskar on regular basis.
Image Courtesy: Vishwamohan Blog