The Sanskrit name surya refers to the sun and namaskara means ‘salutation’. The name of the Surya namaskara has been given by the enlightened sages in vedic age. In the ancient time, the sun symbolizes as spiritual consciousness was worshipped on a daily basis. It helps to activate pingala or surya nadi which is the pranic channel and carries the vital energy so, it has named Surya Namaskara.

This dynamic group of asanas (postures) is a part of traditional hatha yoga practices when there was not yogic jugging and warming up exercise on that time. Surya namaskara was an effective way of warming up, loosening up, Sweating, Stretching, massaging, and toning all the joints, muscles, and internal organ of the body. Actually surya namaskara is one of the best techniques to warming the body without any tiredness. Surya namaskara is the right way to preparation of the body before yoga asana.

Surya Namasakra is a complete spiritual practice which includes asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation techniques. Surya namaskara is useful inducing a healthy, vigorous and active life also preparing for spiritual awakening which results on expansion of awareness.

Surya namsakara has a direct vital effect on the solar energy of the body which flows through pingala nadi which leads to a balanced energy system at both mental and physical levels. Surya Namaskara tones up the digestive system by the alternate stretching and compression of abdominal organs. This posture with mantra improves mental stress, memory and normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands system.

Time to practice:

The ideal time to practice Surya Namaskara is at sunrise, the most peaceful time of day or sunset. If possible, practice in the open air, facing the rising sun. Surya namaskara can practices at any time with the empty stomach. There are 12 steps in surya namaskara when you complete 12 steps it counts as one round like this way practice 12 rounds for perfect benefit. For spiritual benefit you can do by slow and flow way up to 108 rounds.

Mantras for surya Namaskara

The Sun Salutation has lots of benefits; if we do it with mantra the benefit will be amplified. The Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskara has 12 postures with 12 mantras. These twelve mantras represent the twelve names of the sun.  The practice of Surya Namaskara with mantra improves mental and spiritual health. Here are the 12 sun salutation mantras corresponding to the 12 poses of Surya Namaskara.

  1. Om Mitraaya Namaha

      Meaning: Who is friendly to all

  1. Om Ravaye Namaha

      Meaning: The shining one, the radiant one

  1. Om Suryaya Namaha

      Meaning:  Who is the dispeller of darkness and responsible for bringing activity

  1. Om Bhaanave Namaha

      Meaning: One who illumines the bright one

  1. Om Khagaya Namaha

      Meaning: Who is all-pervading, one who moves through the sky

  1. Om Pooshne Namaha

      Meaning: Giver of nourishment and fulfillment

  1. Om Hiranyagarbhaaya Namaha

      Meaning: Who has golden color of brilliance.

  1. Om Mareechaye Namaha

      Meaning: The giver of light with infinite number of rays

  1. Om Aadityaaya Namaha

      Meaning: The son of Aditi – the cosmic divine Mother

  1. Om Savitre Namaha

      Meaning: One who is responsible for life

  1. Om Aarkaaya Namaha

      Meaning: Worthy of praise and glory

  1. Om Bhaaskaraya Namaha

     Meaning:  Giver of wisdom and cosmic illumination.

 How to do surya Namaskara?

Surya namaskara can be synchronizing with mantra, breathing, awareness of movement, awareness of chakra (energy center) system etc. This is very versatile yoga pose for all level, all yogic tradition and all age. Surya Namaskara is group of 12 yoga postures which has following series.

Position 1:

Namaskarasana (prayer pose)

Steps:

Stand erect with feet together.

Raise the hands up keep over the head joining the palm and stretch the whole body.

Join the palms together in front of the chest in a gesture of namaskara.

 Mentally visualize to the sun in between eye brow center (third eye chakra).

Alignments: keep your back and neck straight.

Breathing: Inhale when you raise your hands up.

Exhale when you keep your hands down in front of chest.

Keep your breath normal in namaskara mudra.

Awarenesss: physically be aware of your balance of both feet in equal weight. Spiritually on the anahata chakra or ajna chakra.

Benefits: This posture is helpful for a state of relaxation and calmness. It activates the ajna chakra (third eye chakra).

Mantra: om mitraya namaha-salutation to the friend of all.

Position 2:     

Steps:             

Hasta utthanasana (raised arms pose)

Raise both arms above the head.

Stretch whole upper trunk backward by keeping palm facing upward. Look at the back of palm.

Allinment:

Keep both hands parallel and straight in shoulder width apart.

Palms should face upward.

Breathing: Inhale while raising the arms

Awareness: physically on the stretch abdomen and expansion of the lungs. Spiritually be aware of vishuddhi chakra.

Benefits: This posture stretches the chest and the abdomen. Good for flexible and strong body.

Mantra– om ravaya namaha- salutatuion to the shining one.

Position 3                          

Padahastasana (hand to foot pose)

Steps:

Bend forward upper trunk of the body all the way and put your palms on the side of feet.

Try your best to keep your knee straight. Bring the forehead as close to the knees as is comfortable.

Breathing: Exhale while bending forward contract the abdomen in the final position to expel the maximum amount of air from the lungs.

Awareness: physically on the stretching part of the back. Spiritually on swadhisthana chakra

Benefits: This posture massages the abdominal organs, especially the liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenals, uterus and ovaries. The power of digestion increases.

Mantra: om suryaya namaha: salutation to the who induces activity.

Positon 4

Ashwa sanchalanasana (equestrian pose)

Steps:

Now, extend the right leg back and keep the knee straight and try to align whole back and right leg in straight line.

Bend the right knee and gently touch in the ground then open the chest and stretch the back.

Kipping left foot in the same position between the hands bent the knee.

Keep the arms straight.  Tilt the head back and gaze at the eyebrow center.

Alignment: There is two steps first try to open the hip joints keeping the knee straight then stretch the back keeping the knee and hip down.

Put less effort on hands and more effort at the back.

Breathing: Inhale while stretching the right leg back.

Awareness: Physically in the stretching of thigh, hip joints and back. Spiritually be aware on the eye brow centre.

Benefits:

It tones the abdominal organs. Improves flexibility of the hips joint. Warms up and prepares body for back-bends. Strengthens knees, ankles, and waist. It gives a sense of nervous balance.

Position 5

Parvatasana (mountain pose)

Steps:

Keep the hands and right foot in same position.

Take the left foot back beside the right foot. On the same time, raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms so that the back and legs form inverted ‘v’ shape.

The legs and arms straighten in the final position. Head is facing towards the knee and try to look at the navel.

Alignment:

 Keep heels down on the floor in the final position.

Bring the head and shoulders towards the knees as much as possible.

Do not shift the position of hands and feet.

In the final position, stretch the back and keep less effort on the hands.

Do not fold the knee.

Breathing: Exhale while taking left leg back

Awareness: physically at the back of the legs, spinal stretching and  shoulders regions. Spiritually on the vishuddhi chakra.

Benefits: This posture strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs. It gives a full body stretch which improves the blood circulation all over the body. It reduces mental fatigue while improving the memory and concentration by improving the blood circulation in the brain.

Mantra: Om khagaya namaha-salutation to he who moves quickly in the sky.

Note: Parvatasana or mountain pose gets its name because the body takes the shape of a mountain peak.

Position 6

Chatarang Dandasana: (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)

Steps:

Supported by the toes and palms lower the leg, abdomen, chest and head sill the whole body becomes parallel to the ground.

Lower your elbows at a right angle on the side of chest, elbows pointing back toward your feet.

Alignment:

  • Keep whole body parallel to the ground.
  • Tighten abdomen and lower ribs; keep your core mussels engaged.
  • Push heels slightly back.
  • Ensures you will lower down with your arms till your elbow makes 90° angle.

Breathing: the breath is held out in this pose. There is no respiration.

Awareness: physically on the abdominal region. Spiritually on the manipura chakra.

Benefits:

This pose is a powerful strength builder and arm balancing pose. Chaturanga asana strengthens and tones the wrists, arms, abdominal muscles, and lower back. It prepares the body for more challenging arm balancing posture. This posture strengthens the muscles surrounding the spine, which helps to improve postural defect.

Note: This asana is known as Low Plank pose.  Commonly we called “Chaturanga Dandasana.  Chatur mean four, Anga mean limbed, danda mean straight and strong stick which was used traditionally in Nepal and asana mean pose. So sometimes this pose is said to be four limbs staff pose.

Mantra: Om pushne namaha , salutation to the given of strength.

Position 7

Bhujanganasana (cobra pose)

Steps:

Lower the hips while pushing the chest forward and upward with the hand straightening if the spin is not flexible the arms will remain slightly bent.

Now arch your back until the chest is fully open and the head is facing up. The knees and lower abdomen remain above the floor. Gaze the eyes to the eyebrow center.

Breathing: Inhale while raising the torso and arching the back.

Awareness:  physically focus the awareness at the base of spine and feel the tension and stratching. Spiritually on the swadhisthana chakra.

Benefits: This asana provides good expansion to the organs of the chest and abdomen. Helpful to relieve different problem such as asthma, constipation, indigestion, kidney and liver etc. It is very helpful in relieving tension in the back muscles and spinal nerves.

Mantra: Om hiranya garbaya namaha: salutatuion to the golden, cosmic self.

Position 8

parvatasana(mountaion pose)

Steps:

The hands and feet do not move from position 7 and get back to position 5.

Alignment: Same as position 5.

Breathing: Exhale while raising the buttocks

Awareness: physically at the back of the legs, spinal stretching and  shoulders regions. Spiritually on the vishuddhi chakra.

Benefits: Same as position 5.

Mantra: Om marichaya manaha: salutation to the lord of the dawn

Position 9  

Ashwa sanchalanasana (equestrian pose)

Swing the right leg forward between the hands. The left leg remains back in same position. Resume posture 4. (Exactly like position 4 but leg should be alternate).

Alignment: Same as position 4.

Breathing: Inhale while keeping the right leg between the hands.

Awareness: physically on the stretching part of thigh, hip joint and lower back. Spiritually on the ajna chakra (third eye chakra).

Benefits: same as position 4.

Mantra: Om Adityaya Namaha: salutation to the son of aditi,

Postion 10

padahastasana (hand to foot pose)

Exhaling, bring the left foot forward. Join both legs and resume posture 3.

Alignment: Same as position 3.

Breathing: Exhale while bending forward contract the abdomen in the final position to expel the maximum amount of air from the lungs.

Awareness: physically on the back and pelvic region and spiritually on swadhisthana chakra.

Benefits: Same as position 3.

Mantra: Om Savitre Namaha: salutation to the Lord of creation.

Position 11

Hasta uttanasana (raised arms pose)

Steps:

Inhale, raise the trunk up and bend backward. Resume posture 2.

Breathing: Inhale while raising the arms

Alignment: Same as position 2.

Awareness: physically on the stretch abdomen and expansion of the lungs and spiritually on vishuddhi chakra.

Benefits: Same as position 2.

Mantra– Om Arkaya Namaha, salutatuion to he who fit to be praised.

Position 12

Pranamasana (prayer pose)

Steps:

Straighten the body and bring the hands in front of the chest. Resume posture 1.

Alignment: same as position 1.

Breathing: Breathe normally

Awarenesss: physically on the chest area and spiritually on the anahata chakra.

Benefits: Same as position 1.

Mantra: om Baskaraya Namaha: salutation to he who leads to enlightenment.

Benefits of surya namaskara

The practice of surya namaskara as whole gives a great number of benefits. Surya Namaskara improves muscle flexibility, helps to reduce fat, ease of movements to the body and maintains the spirit of youthfulness. Sun salutation is good for physical, mental and spiritual well being.  Among of them some major benefits are as follows:

  • Surya namaskara is good for physical strength and physical fitness.
  • It strengthens the back and develops the flexibility.
  • Surya Namaskara helps to balance the metabolism.
  • Provides the massages of all the internal organs, facilitating the exchange of unoxygenated blood for oxygenated blood.
  • Improves gastrointestinal function. It activates digestion and removes constipation and indigestion.
  • It stimulates and balances all the systems of the body, including the reproductive, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive system.
  • Its influences on the endocrine glands which helps to balance the transition period between childhood and adolescence in growing children.
  • Synchronizing the breath with the physical movement of surya namaskara ensures the mental clarity and concentration by bringing fresh, oxygenated blood to the brain.
  • Surya Namaskara is one of the powerful processes of anti aging by detoxifying the body and mind.
  • Surya Namaskara is good for strong body and mind connection which is helpful for stress management.
  • Strengthens abdominal muscles.
  • Prevents Skin disorders.

Helpful points for surya namaskara

  • The practice of surya namaskara should be immediately discontinued if a fever, acute inflammation, boils or rashes occur due to excess toxins in the body. When the toxins have been eliminated, the practice may be resumed.
  • Surya namaskara includes the semi- inverted postures, so it is not recommended for the high blood pressure, coronary heart diseases, as it may damage the weak heart and complicated back pain.
  • It should be avoided in cases of hernia or intestinal tuberculosis.
  • Open space facing towards the sun with free flow of air or in room with enough oxygen and sunlight is the best.
  • Jerky movements should be avoided.
  • Start from slow motion and increase the speed of practice. You can go faster as you like to warm up, sweating and opening of joint and mussels.
  • In the beginning days you may found tight mussels, joint and aches in body keep continue with in few days all the stiffness and aches will removes.
  • Wear the minimum cloth so that the skin can absorb the sunlight and expels the toxins through Sweating. Minimum cloth makes you easy for your practice of dynamic asanas of sun salutation.
  • After sun salutation stay in relaxation pose Shavasana (crops pose) is very important

Oum suryaa Namaha!!!

Prostration to lord sun.

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