Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is one of the oldest forms of expressing gratitude to the sun. It is usually performed in the morning to greet the sun. It is performed in sets of fives and consists of 8 asanas made into a sequence of 12 steps for each side, right and left. Each time you perform this sequence, take a deep breath with the movements of your body while performing it.
It is said to be incredibly beneficial for the mind and the body. Performing Surya Namaskar daily aids weight loss, strengthens the muscles and boosts immunity. It also improves blood circulation and alleviates anxiety. Here are the 12 poses involved in the Surya Namaskar.
1. Pranam Asana (The Prayer pose)
The first pose is made by standing in an upright position on the mat and placing your feet close to each other. Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders. While inhaling, take a deep breath, raise your arms from the sides and as you exhale join your palms together in front of your chest.
2. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arm pose)
Join your palms together and take a deep breath. Lift your arms up while slightly bending and push your pelvis forward to stretch properly. Stretch backwards to lengthen the spine. Keep the biceps close to your ears while simultaneously stretching the whole body up from the heels.
3. Padahastasana (Standing forward bend)
Breathe out and bend forward to touch your toes with your fingers. Keep your spine straight. Press onto your heels softly so that your body weight is distributed evenly.
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
Push your right leg back as much as you can and touch your right knee to the floor. Distribute your weight evenly and raise your head to look up.
5. Santholanasana (Stick pose)
Breathe in and bring your right leg back next to the left leg. Keep your hands under your shoulders, keeping your body parallel to the ground. Your entire body should be in one straight line.
6. Ashtanga Namaskar Asana (Eight limbed salutation)
In this pose, you have to bring your knees together to the floor and exhale. With your chest and chin faced downward, you have to push your hips backwards and make your body slide in front. All eight
parts of the body should touch the floor.
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Gently slide forward and rest your legs and abdomen flat on the ground. Place your palms close to your chest and apply pressure on your hand and slowly raise the upper body while your pelvic region touches the ground. Keep your shoulders away from your ears, feet tucked in, and look forward.
8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Mountain pose)
Push your hips up and your chest forward to make a mountain posture. Pull your shoulders back and open your collarbones. Engage your legs and keep your heels on the ground while lifting your tail bone up.
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
Inhale and bring your right foot forward in between the two hands and bring your left knee down to the ground. Press your hips down and lookup.
10. Padahastasana (Hands to foot pose)
Exhale and bend down while placing your toes aligned to each other. Touch your toes with your fingers. Bend the knees if needed and gently straighten the knees and try to touch your nose to the knees.
11. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arms pose)
Breathe in and raise your hands above and stretch back your spine. Push your hips outwards. Gaze towards the ceiling while bending backwards. Also, make sure that your biceps are beside your ears.
12. Pranam Asana
Stand at the end of your mat and keep your feet together and distribute your weight on both feet equally. Straighten your body and just relax your shoulders.