Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)

Sun salutation, popularly known as Surya Namsakar, is one of the important and best components of Yoga. Men, women and children of any educational and financial background can perform this simple and highly effectual series of poses to increase the fitness level.

By performing Sun salutation, you can experience better mind-body synchronization. Surya Namaskar is a Sanskrit term and it means salutation to the Sun. The yogis who propagated this Asana believed that Sun is the only visible symbol of immense strength, potency and vitality. Therefore, one who performs Sun salutation properly would get vital energy from the Sun. The Sun salutation is one of the best poses because each physical movement needs to be coordinated with your breathing. The physical movement covers all parts of your body.

Sun salutation consists of 12 positions.position1Position 1:

First try to concentrate on Sun as it is the eternal source of vital energy. Then stand straight. Keep your head and neck in its normal position without any bend. Place your hands down on the two sides of your body. Try to look at the tip of the nose.   Exhale or try to push air out of your nose slowly for three seconds.

position2Position 2:

Keep your hands folded touching the chest. Push the chest out. Let the mouth be closed. Inhale or try to take air inside your nose for three seconds.

position3Position 3:

Stretch the arms up and bend the body backward from your waist. Open the eyes fully and look at the sky or rooftop of the room. Try to expand the chest and exhale.

position4

Position 4:

Bend down and try to place your palms on the floor. Do not bend your knees. Then try to touch your nose or forehead to the knees. Again, do not bend your knees. This may be difficult initially but with practice, you can progress. Inhale and exhale.

position5Position 5:

Push the left leg fully backward and place the knee and toes on the floor. Your left knee will be will be close to the left armpit. Then bend the neck backwards throwing the chest out and look up. Inhale.

position6Position 6:

Move the right leg backwards. Place the toes, the ankles and the knees in such a way that they touch one another. Keep the head, the waist and the elbows in a straight line. Support the weight of the body only on your hands and toes. Exhale and inhale.

position7Position 7:

Place your knees on the floor. Lower the chest so that it touches the floor. Allow the chin to touch the lower part of your throat. Then, bow down so that the forehead touches the floor. Take care that the nose does not touch the floor. Pull the stomach inwards. Inhale and exhale.

position8Position 8:

Keep the legs, knees and palms in the same position. Then, stretch the arms and push the chest forward. Bend the waist and neck as far back as possible and look up. Inhale and exhale.

position9Position 9:

Lift your body up so that an arch is formed. Retain the palm and toes in the same position as shown in position number 6. Without bending the knees, stretch the body backward. Pull the stomach inwards. Exhale.

position10Position 10:

Lift the trunk so that it remains perpendicular to the floor. Then bring the right leg forward and keep it in its original position. Stretch the left leg fully back with the heels completely on the floor. Pull the stomach inwards. Bring the neck and head back. Look back as far as possible. Inhale.

position11Position 11:

Bring the right leg forward so that both legs are parallel. Push the stomach inwards and let the nose or the forehead touch the knees. Exhale.

position12Position 12:

Revert to the standing position. Stand erect with legs together.   Inhale and exhale. Come back in normal pose.

Performing these 12 positions at one go completes one Sun salutation. For better result, you must perform a total of 12 Surya Namaskars. You may chant the 12 lines given below with each pose as it would create a positive effect on your body and mind.

These 12 lines or mantras contain names of the Sun.:

  1. Om Mitraya Namah
  2. Om Ravaye Namah
  3. Om Suryaya Namah
  4. Om Bhanave Namah
  5. Om Khagaye Namah
  6. Om Puushne Namah
  7. Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namah
  8. Om Marichaye Namah
  9. Om Aadityaaya Namah
  10. Om Savitre Namah
  11. Om Arkaya Namah
  12. Om Bhaskaraya Namah
At the end, you may chant the following line without taking any halt in breathing:

OmMitraRaviSuryaBhanuKhagaPushnaHiranyagarbhaMarichAd-ityaSavitrarkaBhaskarebhyoNamoNamah.
Over a period of time minor variations have been done to Sun salutation but this is considered to be the popular method.
– Girish Mudholkar