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How To Perform Surya Namaskar: The 12-Step Sequence

Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, is a popular yoga pose that is often used to greet the sun god each morning. It is said to be beneficial for the mind, body, and soul. There are many different variations of Surya Namaskar, but all involve 12 steps. In this blog post, we will walk you through each step of the sequence so that you can perform it correctly. Let’s get started!

What is Surya Namaskar?

Surya Namaskar is a sequence of 12 Yoga poses, which are performed in a fluid motion. The word surya means “sun” in Sanskrit, and namaskar is derived from the root word namas, which means “to bow or salute.” Therefore, the literal translation of Surya Namaskar is “to salute the sun” or salutation to the sun.

Surya Namaskar has been practiced for centuries in India as a way to greet the sun each morning.


Do you need to warm up before surya namaskar?

Surya Namaskar is often performed as a warm-up pose for more advanced asanas. However, stretching your body and light asanas are recommended before performing Surya Namaskar.

If you are new to Yoga or Surya Namaskar, it may be good to do a few hatha yoga poses to free up your body before commencing with Surya namaskar.

Is there any correct time to do Surya Namaskar?

Surya Namaskar usually is performed early in the morning facing the morning rising Sun or at dusk facing the setting sun. 

As per Ayurveda, your body moves from the Vata phase before sunrise to the Kapha phase after sunrise. Surya namaskar at sunrise is the connection between the airy movements of Vata and the sluggish Kapha to activate the fire of pitta-Agni. Thus actively bringing all three Dosha into play to bring optimal health as defined by Ayurveda.


How many times should I do Surya namaskar?

You can do Surya namaskar as many times as you want. If you are a beginner, start with five sets of surya namaskar and gradually increase the number to 11 sets.

One can do as many as 108 sets of Surya Namaskar. But that all depends on your body, stamina, and health condition.

Surya Namaskar The 12-Step Sequence

When should I not do Surya Namaskar?

Pregnant women should not perform Surya namaskar. Also, people with high blood pressure, heart problems, hernia, or any abdominal surgery should avoid Surya namaskar. If you have any other health issues, please consult your doctor before performing Surya namaskar.


Importance of Bij mantra (root mantra) in Surya Namaskar

  1. Om Mitraya Namaha (Mitra – one who is friend to all)

  2. Om Ravaye Namaha (Ravi – the radiating one)

  3. Om Suryaya Namaha (Surya – he dispeller of darkness)

  4. Om Bhanave Namaha (Bhanu – Shining with luster)

  5. Om Khagaye Namaha (Khaga – all pervading)

  6. Om Pushne Namaha (Pushan – who nourishes all)

  7. Om Hiranyagarbhaye Namaha (Hiranyagarbha – golden colored)

  8. Om Marichaye Namaha (Marichi – giver of light with infinite rays)

  9. Om Adityay Namaha (Aditya – Sun, aspect of Vishnu, Son of Aditi)

  10. Om Savitre Namaha (Savitri – who produces everything)

  11. Om Arkaye Namaha (Arkah – one who is fit to be worshipped)

  12. Om Bhaskaraye Namaha (Bhaskara – giver of light and cosmic illumination) 

The three syllables in each line are chanted while performing the corresponding pose. Chanting the Bij mantra helps to focus on the breath and connect with the divine energy of the sun. It also helps to synchronize the body, mind, and soul.

What are the 12 steps of surya namaskar?

The 12 steps of surya namaskar are as follows:

  1. Pranam Asana

  2. Hasta Uttanasana

  3. Pada Hastasana

  4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana

  5. Parvat Asana

  6. Ashtanga Naman

  7. Bhujang Asana

  8. Parvat Asana

  9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana

  10. Pad Hastasana

  11. Hasta Uttanasana

  12. Pranam Asana

1. Pranam Asana

Pranam asana or namaskar asana is the first step of Surya Namaskar. This is a gesture of respect in which you bow to the sun. Bring your whole awareness to your body.

Pranam Asana

Steps

  1. Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides

  2. Inhale and raise your arms above your head

  3. Exhale and bring both hands together in namaste.

  4. Keep your hands at your heart.

  5. Stay in this position for 5 breaths.

2. Hasta Uttanasana

The second step is hasta uttanasana, or raised arms pose. This pose stretches the shoulders and opens up the chest.


Hasta Uttanasana

Steps

  1. From pranam asana, inhale and lift your hands up

  2. Bend your torso back backward while keeping your hands raised above your head.

  3. Stay in this position for 5 breaths.

3. Pada Hastasana

The third step of Surya namaskar or sun salutation is pada hastasana, or hand to foot pose. This pose stretches and strengthens the legs and hamstrings.


Pada Hastasana

Steps

  1. From hasta Uttan asana, exhale and bring your hands down to the floor next to your feet.

  2. Hold both the ankles with both hands and try to touch the knee with your forehead.

  3. Keep your knee straight.

  4. Keep your back straight and breath normally.

  5. Stay in this position for five breaths.

4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana

Ashwa sanchalanasana is the fourth step of Surya namaskar. This pose stretches the back and shoulders.


Ashwa Sanchalanasana - Right Leg Back

Steps

  1. From padahastasana, inhale and take your right foot to the back.

  2. Keep the right knee and both hands on the ground.

  3. Arch your back and look straight.

  4. Stay in the position for five breaths.

5. Parvat Asana

The fifth step of Sun salutation is parvat asana, or mountain pose. This pose strengthens the back and legs.


Parvat Asana or Mountain Pose

Steps

  1. From ashwasanchalan asana, exhale and take your left foot back to the floor.

  2. Keep the palm firmly on the ground.

  3. Press your thoracic downward and hip and tailbone upwards.

  4. Stay in the position for five breaths.

6. Ashtanga Namaskar

The sixth step is Ashtanga Namaskar or Salute with Eight Limbs Pose. This pose stretches the entire body.

Ashtanga Namaskar

Steps

  1. From parvat asana, inhale and bring your whole body in a plank pose.

  2. Exhale and bring, knees, chest, and chin to the ground.

  3. Keep your hip raised up.

  4. Stay in this position for five breaths.

7. Bhujang Asana

The seventh step is bhujang asana or cobra pose. This pose stretches the back and shoulders.


Bhujang Asana

Steps

  1. From Ashtanga Namaskara, inhale and lift your head up followed by your chest.

  2. Keep the toes flat.

  3. Stay in the position for five breaths.

8. Parvat Asana

Parvat asana, or mountain pose is the eighth step of Surya namaskar. This pose is the same as the fifth pose.


Parvat Asana or Mountain Pose

Steps

  1. From bhujang asana, exhale, tuck your toes and lift your hip up.

  2. Keep the palm firmly on the floor.

  3. Press your thoracic downward and hip and tailbone upwards.

  4. Stay in the position for five breaths.

9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana

The ninth step is ashwa sanchalan asana.

Ashwa Sanchalanasana - Right Leg Back

Steps

  1. From parvat asana, inhale and bring your left foot to the front in between your hands.

  2. Keep the right knee and both hands on the ground.

  3. Arch your back and look straight.

  4. Stay in this position for five breaths.

10. Pad Hastasana

The tenth step is pad hastasana, or hand to feet pose.


Pada Hastasana

Steps

  1. From ashwasanchalan asana, exhale and bring your right foot forward in between your hands.

  2. Hold both the ankles with both hands and try to touch the knee with your forehead.

  3. Keep your knee and back straight and breath normally.

  4. Stay in the position for five breaths.

11. Hasta Uttanasana

The eleventh step of Surya namaskar is hasta uttanasana, or raised arms pose. This is the 11th of the 12 steps pose.


Hasta Uttanasana

Steps

  1. From padahastasana, inhale and lift your body and hands up

  2. Bend your torso back backward and keep your hands raised above your head.

  3. Stay in the position for five breaths.

12. Pranam Asana

Pranam Asana is the 12th step and last steps of surya namaskar.


Pranam Asana

Steps

  1. From hasta uttanasana, exhale and bring your hands down and join them in namaste.

  2. Stay in this position for five breaths.

This is only half of one round of Surya Namaskar or sun salutation. Repeating these 12 steps with the opposite leg will complete one round of Surya Namaskar.

Ashwa Sanchalanasana - Left Leg Back

Ashwa Sanchalanasana - Left Leg Back

Benefits of Surya Namaskar

– Improves flexibility

– Strengthens the body

– Tones the muscles

– Reduces stress and anxiety

– Calms the mind


Conclusion

Surya Namaskar is a great way to start your day. It is a simple yet effective way to improve your flexibility, strength, and overall health. Try incorporating this into your daily routine and see the difference it makes in your life.

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