Surya Namaskar is an ancient method of yogic practice of India to worship the Sun. In Sanskrit ‘Surya’ means the Sun and the word ‘Namaskara’ means salutation. So, this practice is known as ‘Surya Namaskar’ or ‘Sun Salutation’. This article discusses the Surya namaskar steps with breathing in detail.
Surya Namaskar is a series of 12 yoga poses (asanas) with strict regulation of breath. It combines Yogasana and Pranayama. The practice is preferably done in the morning facing the rising Sun to express our gratitude to the Sun. You can do it at sunset too.
The 12 poses of Surya namaskar with the name include :
- Hasta utthanasana
- Ashwa sanchalanasana
- Ashtanaga namasakara
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana
The 12 poses of Surya Namaskar are done after chanting ‘Omkar’ with a particular ‘Mantra’ to worship the Sun. It revitalizes each and every cell of your body, gives physical strength, flexibility, and mental calmness.
General Rule for Poses of Surya namaskar
- Perform Surya Namaskar poses on an empty stomach or at least two hours gap after a meal.
- After Surya Namaskar, do not eat for at least 20 minutes.
- In the morning perform it by facing towards the East direction and in the evening facing towards the West direction.
- Perform the Surya Namaskar steps slowly
12 Poses of Suryanamskar Steps with Breathing
Here is the step-by-step guide to the Surya Namaskar asana and the benefits that you get with each pose of the sequence.
Step 1: Pranamasana (Prayer pose)
Mantra: Om Mitraaya Namaha
Meaning: One who is friendly to all.
Method: Stand erect with feet together and palms in prayer position in front of your chest. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Exhale normally.
Benefit: The prayer pose builds your focus and helps to create a sense of relaxation, and calmness in your mind to start the Surya Namaskar.
Step 2: Hasta Utthasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Mantra: Om Ravaye Namaha
Meaning: The shining one, the radiant one.
Method: Take the hands above the head and bend the trunk backwards, relax your neck. Here, inhale fully.
Benefit: Hastauttanasana improves digestion, strengthens and tones the abdominal and chest muscles. It increases the intake of oxygen, thereby supporting the respiratory system.
Step 3: Pada Hastasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)
Mantra: Om Suryaya Namaha
Meaning: The dispeller of darkness, responsible for generating activity.
Method: Bend the body to the front and touch the knees by the forehead. Keep the palms on the floor on either side of the legs. Exhale fully.
Benefit: This pose makes your waist and spine flexible. It helps to reduce excess abdominal fat as well as strengthens thighs, knees and opens up the hips, shoulders and arms.
It helps to get relief from conditions such as insomnia and osteoporosis. Besides, it eases anxiety and headache.
Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana, (Equestrian Pose)
Mantra: Om Bhaanave Namaha
Meaning: One who illuminates or the bright one.
Method: In this step, bring the right leg back, take the left knee forward, look up and inhale. Press the buttock close to the heel.
Benefit: This pose strengthens your leg muscles, makes the spine and neck flexible. It tones your abdominal organs too. Ashwa Sanchalanasana pose helps to relieve sciatica pain, indigestion, and constipation.
Step 5: Dandasana (Stick Pose)
Mantra: Om Khagaya Namaha
Meaning: One who is all-pervading, one who moves through the sky.
Method: In this step, retaining the breath, bring the left leg also back, resting only on palms and toes. Keep the body straight from head to toe inclined to the ground at about 300 angles. Here exhale completely.
Benefit: This pose tones your tummy and makes your arms, shoulders and wrists stronger. It can calm your mind.
Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with Eight Parts)
Mantra: Om Pooshne Namaha
Meaning: Giver of nourishment and fulfilment.
Method: In the Ashtanga Namaskara pose, bend at the knees and rest the knees on the floor without altering the positions of the palms and toes. Rest the forehead on the ground. Do not stretch the ankles. Inhale while moving backwards, and then exhale completely.
In this position, the forehead, chest, palms, knees, and toes are eight organs that should touch the ground, while, the buttocks are raised up. Stay in exhale condition.
Benefit: This pose strengthens your back and improves the spine’s flexibility. It releases stress and strengthens your respiratory system.
Step 7: Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Mantra: Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha
Meaning: One who has a golden coloured brilliance.
Method: Inhale; raise your head and trunk making the spine bowl-shaped upwards without changing the position of the palms and feet. Keep the knees off the ground. This posture looks like the cobra which has raised its hood.
Benefit: It tones abdominal muscles and stimulates blood circulation in your heart. Bhujangasana helps relieve menstrual pains and also reduces backache and sciatica. It can elevate your mood.
Step 8: Parvatasna (Mountain Pose)
Mantra: Om Mareechaye Namaha
Meaning: Giver of light with infinite rays.
Method: Exhale, raise the buttocks, push the head down and make a complete arch with the heels touching the ground and palms on the floor.
Benefit: This pose strengthens the muscles of both upper and lower limbs. Increases blood flow to the central nervous system and tones the peripheral nervous system.
Step 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Mantra: Om Aadityaaya Namaha
Meaning: The son of Aditi, the cosmic divine mother.
Method: Inhale and bring the right foot in between the two palms and in the line of them. Rest the other knee on the floor and look up.
Benefit: Same as step 4
Step 10: Pada Hastasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)
Mantra: Om Savitre Namaha
Meaning: One who is responsible for life.
Method: Exhale and bring the left leg forward, bend down from the waist touching the knees with the forehead as in step 3.
Benefit: Same as step 3
Step 11: Hasta Utthasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Mantra: Om Arkaaya Namaha
Meaning: One who is worthy of praise and glory.
Method: Inhale, stretch your arms forward, then up and back over your head and bend back slowly from the waist, as in step 2.
Benefit: Same as step 2
Step 12: Pranamasa (Prayer Pose)
Mantra: Om Bhaskaraya Namaha
Meaning: Giver of wisdom and cosmic illumination.
Method: Exhale, gently come back to an upright position and bring your palms together in a prayer position. You can then bring the arms down by the sides and relax.
This completes one round of Surya Namaskar asana. Repeat the process, only this time, bring the left leg back in step 4 and bring the right leg forward in step10.
Benefit: Same as step 1
This completes one round of Surya Namaskar asana. Repeat the same process, only this time, bring the left leg back in step 4 and bring the right leg forward in step 10.
Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits (Sun Salutation)
The main purpose of Surya namaskar steps with breathing techniques is to awaken the energy of the Sun that normally lies inactive at our naval centre. It helps us to revamp the sun’s healing power to energise our body and promote a clear, calm, and peaceful mind.
Here are some of the general health benefits of Suryanamskar:
- Sun rays are a rich source of vitamin D that helps to strengthen your bones and clear vision.
- Helps maintain cardiovascular health
- Stimulates the nervous system
- Provide strength to the muscles and improves flexibility
- Aids lowering blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypothyroidism
- Increases oxygenation and vital capacity of lungs and helps prevent respiratory diseases like asthma and tuberculosis.
- Gives relief from menstrual disorders like Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Supports digestive systems and prevents stomach related disorders
- Help in losing weight without a change in your diet
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces moods swings, relaxes the mind and brings emotional stability
- Helps glowing skins
Surya Namaskar Mantra and Its Benefit
Surya Namaskar asana along with its mantra is very important. Without mantras, Surya Namaskar is incomplete. Chanting of ‘Omkar’ creates vibrations in your body from the tip of the toes to the crown of your head.
When you deeply breathe in chanting the Mantras, the lungs take oxygen to its full capacity. And when you breathe out with a loud, clear sound of the Mantras, carbon dioxide and toxins are expelled from your body. This leads to the purification of blood and lungs.
The benefits of the Surya namaskar mantra include:
- Chanting ‘mantra’ along with Surya Namaskar activates your hidden power that helps boost your energy levels
- It is extremely beneficial for paralysis patients and helps in speech therapy
- Suryamantra brings relief to people suffering from asthma, heart Problems, high & low BP, Indigestion, depression, insomnia, tonsils infection, cold and cough.
- People suffering from spinal problems are benefited by sitting and reciting the Suryamantra
Who Should Avoid Surya Namaskar
- Pregnant women after the third month of pregnancy
- People suffering from hernia and high blood pressure
- Person with backache
- Female during their menstrual period should avoid Surya Namaskar asana
The 12 poses of Surya Namaskar steps with breathing techniques are a path to healthy health. It can revitalize your body and keeps your mind calm, focussed and stress-free. If you are new to this yoga practice, start with the first four steps and gradually increase to twelve steps.
It will give you a sense of power and oneness, your body and mind will feel charged up and shine with radiance – just like the sun. If you practice it regularly, you can attain freedom from health troubles and diseases and lives a healthy life.
- https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328354391_Surya Namaskar_-_Sun_Salutations