SURYA NAMASKAR-A Complete Yoga

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a sequence of 12 powerful yoga poses.  Surya Namaskar is a very systematic technique that combines the twelve asanas in a yoga sequence. Surya Namaskar is itself complete yoga.

surya namaskar steps
surya Namaskar

BENEFITS OF SURYA NAMASKAR :

  1. Surya Namaskar yoga gives strength to the whole body and mind.
  2. It increases immunity.
  3. Strengthens the entire digestive system (including stomach, pancreas, intestines, liver, etc.) and prevents constipation.
  4. Stimulates abdominal muscles, respiratory system, lymphatic system, spinal nerves, and other internal organs.
  5. Regular practice promotes balance in the body.
  6. Improves blood circulation.
  7. Strengthens the heart.
  8. Tones the spine, neck, shoulder, arms, hands, wrist, back, and leg muscles, thereby promoting overall flexibility.
  9. Helps to lose weight.
  10. It reduces BMI, decreases body fat, and increases muscle strength and metabolism.
  11. Surya Namaskar improves blood circulation to the scalp, thereby preventing hair loss.
  12. The increased blood circulation nourishes the head and enables healthy hair growth.
  13. Different poses help prevent graying of hair.
  14. Surya Namaskar improves blood circulation to all parts of the body, thus keeping the skin glow and young.
  15. Surya Namaskar prevents the onset of wrinkles by relieving the body and stress of the mind.
  16. Surya Namaskar yoga improves your sleeping patterns by calming the mind.
  17. Surya Namaskar stimulates the nervous system including the brain, lower plexus, spinal cord, etc.
  18. Surya Namaskar prevents memory loss, builds focus and concentration, improves the functioning of the brain. Activates Brain cells in the body.
  19. Surya Namaskar cures blood pressure and strengthens heart muscles. It also cures irregular heartbeat.
  20. It increases the capacity of the lungs, stimulates oxygen supply, and regulates it to all the vital organs in the body.
  21. Ensures regular menstrual cycle, prevents menstrual cramps and, also helpful in managing the menopause stage.
  22. Due to its empowering effects on the uterus of a woman, Surya Namaskar Yoga also helps in making childbirth comparatively easier.
  23. Improves sexual functions of the body. Eradicates any internal flaws related to the malfunctioning of sexual glands. Eradicates sexual debility.
  24. Improves flexibility of the body, prevent stiffness, fill the body with energy.
  25. Surya Namaskar maintains the sugar level in the blood by regulating insulin production.
  26. Surya Namaskar normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands, especially the thyroid gland.
  27. Surya Namaskar yoga helps in increasing height by regulating the production of growth hormones.
  28. Improves mental and physical balance of the person’s body. Develops patience and builds stamina by increasing the mental capacity of the brain and the body.
  29. Due to the active inhalation and exhalation process, the lungs are thoroughly ventilated and the blood remains oxygenated. This also helps in detoxifying one’s body by getting rid of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.

12 SURYA NAMASKAR STEPS WITH POSES AND BENEFITS :

Step #1: Pranamasana (Prayer pose)

Also known as the Mountain Pose, this is the first and last posture of the Surya Namaskar. Pranamasana is typically practiced with the Anjali Mudra, in which both palms are pressed together and placed close to the heart.
In Hindu culture, this is a common way of greeting. It is believed that by bringing both the palms together, the right and left hemispheres of the brain connect.
In yogic terms, this represents the unification of our active and receptive natures. According to the yogic tradition, the heart chakra is visualized as a lotus at the center of the chest. This mudra encourages the lotus heart to gently open up with awareness

PRANAMASANA (PRAYER POSE)
PRANAMASANA (PRAYER POSE)

Stand at the edge of your mat, keep your feet together and balance your weight equally on both the feet.
Expand your chest and relax your shoulders.
As you breathe in, lift both your arms up from the sides and as you exhale, bring your palms together in front of the chest in a prayer position

Uses:

This asana focuses on the lower part of the body. It strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles, and firms up the abdomen and buttocks. It can also relieve sciatica, reduce flat feet, and improve posture.

Step #2: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arms pose) 

Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers.

How to deepen this yoga stretch?

You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you’re reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backwards.

Hasta uttanasana
Hasta uttanasana

Uses :

This asana involves a slight arching of the back, which is a great exercise for the shoulder, spine, ribs, and back muscles. The lower back will become suppler as abdominal muscles are strengthened

Step #3: Hasta Padasana (Hand to foot pose)

Breathing out, bend forward from the waist, keeping the spine erect. As you exhale completely, bring the hands down to the floor, beside the feet.
How to deepen this yoga stretch?
You may bend the knees, if necessary, to bring the palms down to the floor. Now make a gentle effort to straighten the knees.
It’s a good idea to keep the hands fixed in this position and not move them until you finish the sequence.

hastapadasana

Uses :

The standing forward bend is especially useful in stretching all the limbs and rear muscles of the body while strengthening the hamstring and the sciatic nerve. Like the previous asana, it makes the spine supple and tones the abdominal organs.

It helps in correcting faulty posture and can even reduce excess fat in the abdomen, waistline, and hips.

It is also known to energize the brain as well as the pituitary, pineal, thyroid, and parathyroid glands by increasing the blood supply to these areas.

Step #4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose) or Ekapaada prasarna asana —

Breathing in, push your right leg back, as far back as possible. Bring the right knee to the floor and lookup.
How to deepen this yoga stretch?
Ensure that the left foot is exactly in between the palms.

ASHWA SANCHALANASANA or Equestrian pose

Uses :

This asana stretches the groin, quadriceps, legs, and hips while strengthening the back. It also helps open the chest and can improve symptoms of indigestion, constipation, and sciatica

Step #5: Adhomukh Svanasana

As you breathe in, take the left leg back and bring the whole body in a straight line.
How to deepen this yoga stretch?
Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor.

Adhomukh Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose

Uses : 
This asana stretches the shoulders, hands, hamstrings, calves, and arches of the feet while strengthening the arms, legs, and ankles. It is great for reducing stiffness in the shoulder blades and arthritis in the shoulder joints, relieving pain in the heels, and softening calcaneal spurs.
 It gently stimulates the nerves and slows down the heartbeat. And if you’re a woman going through hot flashes during menopause, this posture gives some relief.

Step #6: Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with eight parts or points)

Gently bring your knees down to the floor and exhale. Take the hips back slightly, slide forward, rest your chest and chin on the floor. Raise your posterior a little bit.
The two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and chin (eight parts of the body touch the floor).

Uses :

ASHTANGA NAMASKARA (Knees, Chest, and Chin Pose)

With the knees, chest, and chin on the floor, this posture actually works the entire body, from the muscles of the neck to the shoulders, upper arms, forearms, back, and abdomen. It especially strengthens joints in the legs and arms, particularly the wrists

Step #7: Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

Slide forward and raise the chest up into the Cobra posture. You may keep your elbows bent in this pose, the shoulders away from the ears. Look up.
How to deepen this yoga stretch?
As you inhale, make a gentle effort to push the chest forward; as you exhale, make a gentle effort to push the navel down. Tuck the toes under. Ensure you’re stretching just as much as you can; do not force your body.

bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Uses :

This posture strengthens and relaxes the entire back by harmonizing the energy flow in both its superficial and deep muscles. It can also relieve and prevent spasms. It strengthens the abdominal muscles and solar plexus, which can improve digestion and intestinal function and even reduce anxiety. 
Bhujangasana improves blood circulation, relieves tension, and energy disturbance in the head and eyes.

It rejuvenates the kidneys and adrenal glands, and strengthen the nervous system, which positively affects all vital functions.

Step #8:  Adhomukh Svanasana.

Breathing out, lift the hips and the tail bone up, chest downwards in an ‘inverted V’  posture.
How to deepen this yoga stretch?
If possible, try and keep the heels on the ground and make a gentle effort to lift the tailbone up, going deeper into the stretch.

Adhomukh Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose

Uses :

Strengthens to muscles of the shoulders, arms, and legs.

Increases flexibility in the spine, hamstrings, and calves.

Tones the spinal nerves and balances the nervous system.

Improves the blood circulation to the brain.

Step #9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

Breathing in, bring the right foot forward in between the two hands, left knee down to the floor, press the hips down, and lookup.
How to deepen this yoga stretch?
Place the right foot exactly between the two hands and the right calf perpendicular to the floor. In this position, make a gentle effort to push the hips down towards the floor, to deepen the stretch.

ASHWA SANCHALANASANA or Equestrian pose

Uses :

This asana stretches the groin, quadriceps, legs, and hips while strengthening the back. It also helps open the chest and can improve symptoms of indigestion, constipation, and sciatica

Step #10: Hasta Padasana (Hand to foot pose)

Breathing out, bring the left foot forward. Keep the palms on the floor. You may bend the knees, if necessary.
How to deepen this yoga stretch?
Gently straighten the knees and if you can, try and touch your nose to the knees. Keep breathing.

hastapadasana

Uses :

The standing forward bend is especially useful in stretching all the limbs and rear muscles of the body while strengthening the hamstring and the sciatic nerve. Like the previous asana, it makes the spine supple and tones the abdominal organs.

It helps in correcting faulty posture and can even reduce excess fat in the abdomen, waistline, and hips.

It is also known to energize the brain as well as the pituitary, pineal, thyroid, and parathyroid glands by increasing the blood supply to these areas.

Step #11: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arms pose)

Breathing in, roll the spine up, hands go up and bend backward a little bit, pushing the hips slightly outward.
How to deepen this yoga stretch?
Ensure that your biceps are beside your ears. The idea is to stretch up more rather than stretch backward.

Hasta uttanasana
Hasta uttanasana

Uses :

This asana involves a slight arching of the back, which is a great exercise for the shoulder, spine, ribs, and back muscles. The lower back will become suppler as abdominal muscles are strengthened.

Step #12: Pranamasana (Prayer pose)

PRANAMASANA (PRAYER POSE)
PRANAMASANA (PRAYER POSE)

Finally, exhale and stand in a relaxed manner in the namaskar mudra. Feel the positive vibrations in your body. This is how you complete one repetition of Surya Namaskar. Twelve repetitions of this holistic exercise are said to yield maximum benefits.

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