Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar
We often hear about the practice of Sun Salutation and it is one of the elements thought in the basic of yoga.
What is Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)?
According to Yogapedia.com “Surya Namaskar is the Sanskrit name for a specific sequence of twelve yoga asana, otherwise known as a Sun Salutation. It is one of the most widely known yoga practices, incorporated into several different traditions such as Hatha, Vinyasa and Ashtanga. The term is derived from two Sanskrit roots; surya, meaning "sun" and namaskar meaning "greetings" or ‘salutations’".”
It is worth mentioning that there are many variations of the Sun Salutation, but the most widely known ones are :
Hatha Yoga Surya Namaskar
Ashtanga Surya Namaskar A
Ashtanga Surya Namaskar B
Hatha Yoga Surya Namaskar is recommended in all yoga classes and for all levels, whereas Ashtanga Surya Namaskar A and B are more advanced versions that will further improve one’s body strength.
Often they are used as a preparation for harder asanas ( postures), like I have in the 21 minutes for 21 days practice , but they can also be incorporated in the middle or towards the end of the sequence.
Why practice Surya Namaskar?
There are many benefits to practice Surya Namaskar, here are a few of them:
Stretching, flexing, and toning the muscles
Stretching and flexing the spine and the joints
Start the body blood circulation
Improves focus by keeping the mind centered on the sequence
Good cardio exercise if the number of repetitions is increased ( you can do 108 repetitions)
An article published in the International Journal of Yoga and Allied sciences pointed out Surya Namaskar’s effect on emotional maturity and psychological well being. The researchers took a sample of 30 students that were aged between 18 – 24 years. After the successful completion of the experiment, it was revealed that practicing Sun Salutation affected their psychological mindset positively and improved their concentration abilities. Along with that, the data also showed that the students’ emotional state had matured.
Currently, there are talks of incorporating Sun Salutation in school curriculums. A study, by the name of “Effects of Surya Namaskar on Sustained Attention in School Children,” researched with a group of 64 students. They discovered that after performing this yoga sequence for a month, the children showed considerable improvement in their attention spans.
To get the maximum benefits of Sun Salutation, perform 12 sets of these 12 asanas every morning.
How to practice Surya Namaskar?
The 12 asanas (posture) that are to be performed during one Sun Salutation Sequence can be found below and also in the illustration at the end of this post.
1. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
2. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
3. Hasta Padasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose).
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Lunge Pose)
5. Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose)
6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight Limbed Pose)
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (High Lunge Pose)
10. Hasta Padasana (Standing Forward Bend)
11. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
12. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
Doing 12 cycles of Surya Namaskar will take between 8 and 12 minutes, depending on your speed.