24 Jan Surya Namaskar; salutations to the Sun
Surya Namaskar; salutations to the Sun.
The sun symbolizes spiritual consciousness and from ancient times it is worshipped on a daily basis. Surya Namaskar is, relatively, a modern practice and it is not regarded as being a traditional part of Hatha yoga practices. It is a warm-up routine based on a sequence of seven asanas, of which five are repeated twice–making it a twelve-step salutation.
Stand erect with hands at their respective sides and feet as close together as possible. Place the body weight on the balls of the feet, towards the big toe. Hold the neck straight, abdomen in normal contour (deflated at its lower end but not necessarily drawn inwards), and chin drawn in. Focus your eyes at any one point straight ahead, keeping the mind calm and body relaxed.
The sequence of steps for doing Surya Namaskar :
- Fold both the hands in Namaskar mudra and place them in front of the chest. Keep the shoulders and elbows relaxed and passively observe the breath (Pranamasana/Sthitaprarthanasana).
- Inhaling, in 3 seconds, keeping the feet firm, raise the arms (kept straight) above the head, slightly bending the trunk backwards (Hasta-uttanasana).
- Immediately, exhaling in 3 seconds, slowly bend forward from the waist, keeping the legs straight and the head between the hands. Bring the hands down to the floor beside the feet and the forehead close to the knees (Hastapadasana or Padahastasana).
- Inhaling, in 3 seconds, bend the left knee and keep it between the hands (palms on the floor) and move the right leg behind as far as possible. Raise the head up and simultaneously arch the spine backwards (Ashwa- Sanchalanasana).
- Now exhaling, in 3 seconds, move the left foot behind by the side of the right one. Straighten the arms and simultaneously raise the hips up to bring the head (facing down) between the arms. Keep the knees & elbows straight and the heels on the floor. (Adho Mukha Svanasana).
- Now lower the body towards the floor so that the toes, knees, chest, hands and chin are in contact with the floor, keeping the hips slightly up. Maintain this position for 3 seconds with the breath suspended (Ashtanga Namaskara).
Inhaling, in 3 seconds, lower the hips and raise the head, arching the back till the hands are straightened, resting the palms on the floor (Bhujangasana).
- Exhaling, in 3 seconds, first lower the trunk and then raise the hips up to bring the head (facing down) between the arms. Try and keep the knees & elbows straight and heels on the floor (Adho Mukha Svanasana – as in step5).
- Inhaling, in 3 seconds, bend the right knee and keep it between the hands (palms on the floor) and move the left leg behind as far as possible. Raise the head up and simultaneously arch the spine backwards (Ashwa Sanchalanasana).
- Exhaling, in 3 seconds, bring the left leg to the side of the right one. Keep the hands on the floor beside the feet (palms flat on the floor) and straighten both the knees and bring the forehead close to the knees (Hastapadasana or Padahastasana).
- Inhaling, in 3 seconds, raise both the arms and the head. Straighten the back then arch it gently backwards (Hasta-uttanasana – as in step 2). Exhaling, in 3 seconds, straighten the trunk and bring both the hands down.
- Hold the palms in Namaskar mudra in front of the chest (Pranamasana/Sthitaprarthanasana – as in step 1).
Recommended Practice: Practice 1-2 rounds, as per individual comfort, with a pause between rounds.
Limitations/Contraindications: Hypertension, heart ailments, pregnancy.
Benefits of Surya Namaskar:
- Strengthens the entire digestive system; prevents constipation.
- Improves blood circulation and invigorates the nervous system.
- Develops the lungs and improves vital capacity.
- Stimulates glandular activity.
- Reduces redundant fat.
- Strengthens the extremities and back.
- Promotes physical and mental wellbeing; increases concentration and self-confidence.
Salutations to the Sun- Surya Namaskar is a very beneficial yogic exercise. Learn to do it correctly from one of the Oldest Organised Yoga Institutes in the world.
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