Surya Namaskar - Simple and Ultimate form of Exercise
People who have heard about India a lot do know that Yoga originated from this land. The immense benefit s of Yogasana [Yoga + Asana (Posture)] is known to everybody and now there are takers from all walks of life across the globe.
And those who have heard of Yoga must know what “Suryanamaskar” is. Surya Namaskar is a set of 12 asana (postures) which utilizes approx. 95% of your body muscles. In Ancient language Sanskrit, Surya means Sun and Namaskar means Salutation. Hence it will not be wrong to say that Surya Namaskar is a method of saluting the Sun – The ultimate provider of Energy.
These simple steps of Surya Namaskar have been practicing in India for years and the benefits are extremely appealing. There are people from all corners of globe advocating Surya Namaskar over gym and aerobics.
Essential Guidelines of Surya Namaskar
1. This series of asana are performed either in early morning or evening. The key point is to avoid eating 2 hrs before and after Surya Namaskar.
2. The breathing technique is very important to extract the maximum benefits from these postures. Otherwise you may not see any results even after performing them for 1 year.
3. Typically one set of Surya Namaskar (12 postures) should consume approx. 1 min.
4. For Beginners, 1 set of Surya Namaskar per day is enough and gradually they can increase it to 3, 5, 7, 9 etc.
5. It should always be done facing the Sun.
Postures of Surya Namaskar
Once your body is warmed up by performing some stretching, the 12 postures of Surya Namaskar can be performed as mentioned below: -
Stand erect, facing the sun. Then fold your hands in form of prayer posture.
Next step is to inhale fresh air, and raise both your hands together above your shoulder. Then arch backward putting pressure on your backbone so that the whole body forms an arch.
Exhale and brings your hands down and touch your feet either sideways or front side. Keep legs as straight as possible with your head touching the knees.
Again inhale and both your palms firmly on floor and push your left leg back so that it is balanced on your toe. The right leg is to be bent and look towards the ceiling or sky.
Breathe out and push your right leg back so that both your legs are closed and parallel. Stretch your hands and raise your hip. Thus you will form a V-shape with your body as shown in the diagram.
Hold your breath in this posture and bring down your hip to the floor. Keeping your hands and legs at the same position, allow the body to rest on the floor. As you do it, only 8 points of your body must be touching the ground. The eight points are - Two Palms, Forehead, Chest, two knee caps, and two toes.
While inhaling, straighten your arm and lift your chest and look above the ceiling or sky. During this posture, your arms, knee and toes will be touching the floor.
Now exhale and raise your hips and lower your head and come back to the position as explained in posture-5.
Again while inhaling, come back to posture-4 with the right leg stretched back. The legs will change position in posture-9 compared to posture-4.
Exhale and move to posture-3. Bring both legs parallel to each other. Bend over and allow head to touch the knees.
This is again getting back to position-2 while inhaling. Both hands stretched up above the shoulder and slowly bend backward to form the arch position.
Bring yourself back to position-1.
Hence you can see that from posture 8 onwards, the postures are revised to get back the body to the initial position. Please note the breathing pattern mentioned and it is to be followed strictly.
Health Benefits of Surya Namaskar
Even if you are not performing any exercise, performing Surya Namaskar alone can improve your body and health. The flowing are some of the key benefits of Surya Namaskar: -
- It stretches the body and relieves the stiffness caused and refresh the mind.
- It provides stimulation to most of the muscles and ligaments in your body.
- It improves digestive and cardio vascular systems and helps them to perform better.
- It also benefits the Endocrine system and enables the various endocrinal glands to function properly.
- The one benefit for which most of the people perform Surya Namaskar is to reduce weight and extra fat across the abdomen.
Concluding the Surya Namaskar
In Yoga, all the asana must be concluded with Shavasana (Corpse position) and so does Surya Namaskar. After performing the desired number of Surya Namaskar, lay down on your back with your legs and hands stretched out and straight. Close your eyes and slowly inhale and exhale deeply. Relax your body and mind for approx 20 min.
And don’t be surprised if you fall asleep. Shavasana after the performance of regular yoga has a tendency to induce sleepiness.