Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a spiritual discipline or a complete sadhana in itself. Today we will learn about the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar Yoga step by step in a sequence. This asana can be practiced regularly for many health benefits by beginners also. It is a beautiful exercise for weight loss if we practice it regularly. Sun Salutation includes pranayama, asanas, mantra, and meditation techniques. It is a group of 12 dynamic asanas and an excellent way to start the morning practice exercises. This will help in stretching, loosening up, toning, and messaging all the muscles, joints, and internal organs of the body.
Checkout complete knowledge about Surya Namaskar with below topics covered:
- What are the 12 poses of Sun Salutation?
- How to perform Surya Namaskar Step By Step?
- What are the 12 Mantras recited during Surya Namaskar and their significance?
- What are the benefits of doing Surya Namaskar Yoga poses?
- Five Chakras of Surya Namaskar?
- Who should not practice Surya Namaskar?
- Calories burned in one round of sun salutation pose?
- Suggestion before starting Surya Namaskar?
In India, the Sun is worshiped as a God due to its essential nature for humanity. So to start practicing yoga, we give salutation to the sun, and that is called Surya Namaskar. In Sun Salutation there are series of 12 asanas that represent the 12 hours of the day. Similarly, Moon salutation is performed with 14 asanas that represent the 14 phases of lunar.
Surya namaskar is known to provide happiness to the mind, body, and senses. For getting good health and long healthy life, satisfaction is essential. With Happiness only we can get Moksha ultimately. Sun Salutation help in achieving the goal of happiness and peace. It should be practiced with a controlled series of movements slowly, and one should not rush to finish the 12 poses quickly. Practice each asana with the slow motion of breath.
The solar energy present in the human body flows through Pingala Nadi, and Surya Namaskar has a direct vitalizing effect on solar energy. If we practice Surya Namaskar regularly, then it will help to regulate the Pingala Nadi. Pingla Nadi regulation help to get a balanced energy system for both physically and mentally.
Form, laya, and energy are the three elements of Surya namaskar. Our psychic body is activated by prana energy generated from practicing 12 yoga asanas. These 12 asanas are like physical matrix woven by the form of practice. The laya of the universe is reflected by the steady practice in a rhythmic sequence of these asanas. Surya namaskar’s laya, style, and energy can transform whole life when applied correctly to the body and mind matrix.
Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation yoga poses are practiced in a sequence of the following 12 asanas step by step:
- Hasta Utthanasana
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana
- Merudandasana or Parvatasana
- Ashtanga Namaskara
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana
- Hasta Utthanasana
To practice, Surya namaskar stomach should be empty, and it can be practiced both during sunrise or sunset. Ideally, Surya namaskar is practiced in the morning at sunrise. Sunrise is the most peaceful and relaxed time of the day. It is practiced while facing the sun in the open air. To stimulate the digestive fire, it can be practiced in the evening during sunset.
The 12 asanas of Surya namaskar are performed while coordinating the breath in one sequence. We can recite the mantra corresponding to each asana while concentrating the mind with consciousness(kutastha). After you complete Surya namaskar lie down in Shavasana(sleeping pose) for a while to feel the energy and relax your body and mind.
Below we have described how to do all 12 asana poses in the sequence.
This is the first step in Surya Namaskar. Sun is like God for the human being. Recite in mind to bless us with your rays so that my past life karma effects get washed away. Pray for Moksha with good physical and mental health.
- For pranamasana close your eyes and stand straight facing the sun with feet touching together.
- In Namaskara Mudra slowly join the hands together in front of the chest and bend the elbows.
- Breathe normally and relax the whole body.
- Be prepared to direct your attention towards Anahata chakra.
- Now slowly recite the mantra: “Om Mitraya Namaha.”
2. Hasta Utthanasana
- Breathe in and slowly raise your both arms above the head.
- Slowly bend the arms, head, and the upper part of your body backward.
- Focus your attention towards the vishuddhi chakra and recite the mantra: “Om Ravaye Namaha.“
- Now bend forward down from the hips while exhaling. Try to touch the floor with palms of both hands on either side of the feet.
- While leaning forward, try to touch the knees with your head.
- For beginners do not put much strain on the knees while bending. In the beginning, knees can be slightly bent until you touch your head to knees. Slowly with practice, you will be able to touch your head with straight knees.
- Now focus the attention to Svadhisthasana Chakra and recite the Mantra “Om Suryaya Namah.“
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana
- While keeping the palm on the floor beside feet inhale and stretch the right leg behind as far as possible.
- Bend your left knee forward same time, keep the left foot on the floor between your hands. Keep your arms straight.
- Slowly bend the head backward while resting the bodyweight on your hands, the right knee, the left foot and the toe of your right foot.
- Now focus your attention at the Ajna chakra and recite the mantra “Om Bhanave Namah.“
You have two options to perform Merudandasana. Option 1 is:
- Now exhale and bring the trunk and the head down. Place your palms firmly on the floor.
- Straighten your both legs back together while bringing the left leg back.
- Bring your torso up until both your hands are in a straight position.
- Now feel the stretch while keeping the trunk, head, and the legs straight.
- In Surya Namaskar, this is the final position, and you should keep in this position as long as it is comfortable to maintain.
- Recite the mantra “Om Khagaye Namah” while focussing the inner gaze during Ajna Chakra.
Another option is Parvatasana. You can do this in place of option 1.
- Take your left foot back beside the right foot while exhaling.
- Now simultaneously raise your buttocks and lower the head between your arms. Form a position such that your back and legs resemble two sides of a triangle.
- Do not bend your legs and back while in a triangle shape and they should be straight. The beginner can bend slightly to avoid any strain.
- Focus your attention towards vishuddhi chakra and recite the mantra “Om Khagaye Namah.”
6. Ashtanga Namaskara
- Now slowly exhale and take your chest, knee and the chin down to the floor.
- In this position, only eight parts of your body will touch the floor. They are both knees, toes and hands, chest, and chin.
- The middle part your hips, abdomen, and buttocks should be raised slightly above the floor.
- Recite “Om Pushne Namah” while Focussing the attention on Manipura chakra.
- Lower your middle part hips, buttocks and abdomen to the floor.
- Slowly inhale and straighten the elbows while bending backward as much possible in a cobra pose. Bend the spine as much possible and push the chest forward.
- During bending backward, your hips and thigh should remain straight on the floor and support your upper body with the arms.
- Now focus attention svadhisthana chakra and recite the mantra “Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namah.”
- Again Slowly exhale and form a triangle by raising the buttocks and keeping legs on the toes at the floor. Bring your head down between the arms.
- Your arms and legs should be straight in this position.
- While keeping your legs straight and, heels flat on the floor, trying to bring the head towards your knees. A beginner can bend the knee slightly and should try to keep the leg straight as much possible.
- The beginner should avoid any strain and practice slowly to get perfection.
- Time to focus the attention on vishuddhi chakra and recite the mantra “Om Mareechaye Namah.“
9. Ashwa sanchalanasana
- Slowly inhale and bring your right leg forward, keeping it between the arms.
- While keeping your left foot straight vertically on the toes, lower the left knee so that it touches the floor.
- Now slightly bend your spine backward while looking towards the sky.
- Bend your head making arch position with your back.
- This position is the same as Ashwa Sanchalanasana in step 4.
- Time to focus your attention on the Anja chakra and recite the mantra “Om Adityaya Namaha.“
- Now slowly bring your left leg forward alongside your right knee while exhaling.
- Straighten the knees to keep your legs straight.
- Without straining much bring your head down and try to touch your head with knees. The beginner can bend the knee slightly. Take care and practice slowly to avoid any strain.
- You are now in a position same as Padahastasana in step 3.
- Time to focus attention on svadhisthana chakra and recite the mantra “Om Savitre Namaha.”
11. Hasta Utthanasana
- Gently raise your hands and torso above the head while stretching your arms.
- Inhale slowly and bend your head, arms, and upper body towards backward as much possible.
- You are now in the same position as Hasta Utthanasana in step 2.
- Now concentrate on vishuddhi chakra and recite the mantra “Om Arkaya Namaha.“
- Exhale slowly and bring your hands forward together in front of the chest in Namasjara mudra.
- Now relax your body and breathe normally and concentrate on Anahata chakra.
- You are in the same position as in step 1 Pranamasana.
- Now recite the mantra “Om Bhakaraya Namaha.“
- This last mantra is recited while exhaling in a standing position with hands folded. Air should be exhaled through the nose.
With this step, you have completed a complete round of Surya Namaskar. Usually, people do 12 or 24 rounds of Sun Salutation. To get full benefit all series of asanas should be performed slowly with a concentration on inhaling and exhale of air through the nose. Best time to practice is during rising or setting sun i.e., morning or evening. The beginner can start with four rounds of Surya Namaskar and can increase slowly. Surya Namaskar is a prayer to the Sun for being a source of energy and a new beginning.
In advanced Sun Salutation Jump back is performed in place of step 3 and 8. And in this step 4 is skipped. Your abdomen should be empty while practicing this to avoid any injury. For starting any exercise or Yoga warm-up is must to stay away from muscle or joint injury, and this is the best warm-up exercise in Yoga. It should be practiced in a manner that the body gets warmed up without getting fatigued.
Once done all Yoga practice cooldown of the body is also necessary, for the cool down corpse is performed in yoga for 10-15 minutes. This will help to clear lactic acid from muscles and will lower blood pressure. Cooldown will refrain muscles from tightening up and will bring back body temperature down to resting position with controlled heart rate.
In India, Sun is worshiped every day in the morning with a Kalash of water to the sun. Sun has great importance in spiritual presence. Mostly people during fast worship Sun as God and expect blessings from the sun. We thank God for every morning with rising Sun. We consider Surya Namaskar as a complete exercise capable of providing excellent health. In Ayurveda, most of the healing practices go round the sun. Ayurveda is the most ancient healing practice.
Five Chakras included in Surya Namaskar are:
- Anahata chakra.
- Vishuddhi chakra.
- Svadhisthasana Chakra.
- Ajna chakra.
- Manipura chakra.
Experience 15 incredible Benefits of Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation:
Anyone performing Surya Namaskar Correctly stays away from strain or injury. And it is not required that you have to practice yoga regularly to start doing Surya Namaskar. It can be done easily by beginners also.
- It revitalizes your body and relieves stiffness if you practice it in the morning.
- To give an instant energy boost to your body, it can be practiced anytime during the day.
- It helps to unwind if practiced before the sunset.
- Helps to improve posture and flexibility.
- Highly beneficial for Joints and ligaments.
- Surya Namaskar does wonder for your emotional and mental health.
- This will help to provide great stretch to your body and keep you physically fit.
- Surya Namaskar will stimulate every system in our body.
- It will keep the heart healthy by stimulating the cardiovascular system.
- It will boost the digestive system and your nervous system.
- This will help in the normal functioning of endocrinal glands like parathyroid, thyroid, and pituitary gland.
- If you practice Surya Namaskar, then it will help to ease your stress out and will increase your concentration level with peace of mind.
- When you start doing Surya Namaskar, you will experience better sleep during the night without taking any external supplements.
- This will enhance the blood circulation in the body, and with improved blood circulation, it will help in weight loss to some extent.
- Calm Your anxiety and fight skin and hair diseases with increased blood circulation.
How many calories are burned in one round of Surya Namaskar?
In a complete round of well-performed Surya Namaskar, one should burn around 400 calories.
Who should avoid doing Surya Namaskar?
- Pregnant woman or woman under periods should not perform this.
- People suffering from high Blood pressure or Hernia or back problem should not practice it.
- It should not be performed by people having heart disease.
- People suffering from intestinal tuberculosis.
- Clothes should be loose enough and comfortable, cannot perform well with tight clothes.
- One should not practice it in a closed room. Ventilation is a must to get proper health benefits.
- If your doctor advised staying away from lifting the heavyweight, then you should avoid Surya Namaskar.
- It can not be performed with knee problems.
- If it causes any body part pain while practicing, stop immediately, and consult your physician.
While practicing Surya Namaskar, we recite a set of mantras while breathing and exhaling deeply. Mantras Recited in Surya Namaskar is as follow:
There is a total of 12 Mantras with four parts of each mantra. The first part is Om, the second part is ‘Bija Mantra,’ third part is Rik from Rig Veda, and in the fourth part, we address the name of the God Sun. Sun has 12 names used in Mantra chanting, and they are Ravi, Surya, Mitra, Pushan, Khaga, Hiranyagarbha, Savitha, Aditya, Bhaskara, Bhanu, Arka, and Marichi. We recite each name in 3rd part of Mantra.
There are 6 Bija Mantra recited in the second part of Surya Namaskar Matras, and they are repeated in sequence to cover 12 names of God Sun. Six Bija Mantra are ‘hraam,’ hroum,’ ‘hraha,’ ‘hreem,’ ‘hruum’ and ‘hraim.’ There are 3 Rik used is quarter to cover 12 names in sequence.
The mantras are chanted in the following manner:
Om followed by bija mantra followed by one paada of the Rik (from Rig Veda) followed by one
of the names of Sun. The 12 mantras (with the six bija mantras appearing twice) are:
- Om Hraam ‘Udhyannadhyamitramahaha’ Mitraya Namaha (Mitra – friend)
- Om Hreem ‘Aarohannuththaraamdivamm’ Ravaye Namaha (Ravi – radiance)
- Om Hruum ‘Hridrogam mama Surya’ Suryaya Namaha (Surya – dispeller of darkness)
- Om Hraim ‘Harimaanam cha naashaya’ Bhanave Namaha (Bhanu – Shining with luster)
- Om Hroum ‘Shukeshu May Harimaanamm’ Khagaya Namaha (Khaga – all-pervading)
- Om Hraha ‘Ropanaakaasu dhadhmasi’ Pooshne Namaha (Pushan – a mystic fire which gives)
- Om Hraam ‘Atho Haaridraveshu May’ Hiranyagarbhaya Namaha (Hiranyagarbha – golden colored)
Om Hreem ‘Harimaanannidhadhmasi’ Marichaye Namaha (Marichi – Ray of light)
- Om Hruum ‘Udagaadhayamaadithyah’ Adityaya Namaha (Aditya – Sun, aspect of Vishnu, Son of Aditi)
Om Hraim ‘Vishwena Sahasaa Saha’ Savitre Namaha (Savitru – Light of enlightenment)
- Om Hroum ‘Dwishantham Mama Randhayann’ Arkaya Namaha (Arkah – a ray of light, a flash of lightning, Sun)
- Om Hraha ‘Mo Aham dwishatho Rattham’ Bhaskaraya Namaha (Bhaskara – Shining Light)
Every Mantra chanting has some good effect on our body. The chanting of Om activates our stomach, brain, and heart, and thus it creates vibrations in the associated body part(chakras). Chanting Om help in increasing memory sharpness. Similarly, every Bija Mantra has its own benefit on different parts of the body. Chanting of these Mantras produces vibrations and with that different body parts get impacted positively, making them sensitive and robust.
The forward and backward bending of the body, stretching the body as in step 4, 5 of Surya namaskar provide such incredible benefits to the human body that no other exercise can give. The minute vibration generated by mantra chanting helps in different glands function. Overall Namaskar process has the power to correct maximum body functions. Similarly, Rik chanting has its own benefit. Usually, people get difficulty in chanting Rik part of Mantra (Placed in quotes). For a beginner, it is good to drop the Rik part and chant 1, 2, and 4 part.
Each of the above Mantra is chanted with every step of Sun salutation with inhaling or exhale specified above in each step. This, combined with steps, constitutes one Surya Namaskar. A beginner gets difficulty in chanting the mantra with inhaling or exhale or with poses. So it is comfortable to do the pose with inhaling or exhale specified and at the end of yoga pose chant the mantra. Holding pose at the end will have added advantage.
We advise the beginner to practice one set of Namaskar for few days and then increase set gradually as 2, 4, 6, 12 sets. Yoga students are advice to increase further when they are comfortable enough to do further. After reaching 12 sets, it is increased in a series of 12 sets to reach one’s desired limit. You can also practice one Namaskar set with one mantra and accordingly 12 namaskar sets with 12 mantras.
What all suggestion one should adopt while practicing Surya Namaskar?
- Always smile and try to be happy. This will give more benefit than average.
- One should try to involve the panch koshas: mind, prana, intellect, bliss, and body kosha.
- You can practice it slowly and can increase upto 30 to 45 minutes in multiple sets.
- If practiced slowly, it will give maximum benefits. You can practice less on weekdays when you have to go to work and more on weekends.
- Practice it in the morning facing east direction i.e., sunrise. Or in evening facing west direction i.e., sunset.
- Breath slowly during inhale and exhale.
- It should be practiced on an empty stomach with a gap of around 2 hours, and you should not eat anything after completing for approximately 20 minutes.
- You can take multiple breaths in starting for completing a part of yoga pose. Slowly it will improve.
- Use a yoga mat while practicing sun salutation.
- Beginner Performe under the guidance of an expert practitioner who is regularly practicing it and can advise on the proper way to perform.