Surya Namaskar, Sun Salutation
How to perform Surya Namaskar
Stand straight in Samastithi. Check which of your nostrils is more active by holding your hand in front of your nose. Now bring your arms in front of your chest in Namaste position.
With inhalation bring your arms up over your head. Bend backwards and bring your hips to the front with your body weight on your toes. Keep your knees straight. Look backwards and keep deep breathing.
With exhalation bend forwards while keeping your back and elbows straight. Place your hands next to your feet. Now bring back the leg of your active side back. If your right nostril is more active bring back your right leg. Your left knee should now be directly above the left foot. Bring your pelvis down as much as you can and keep the right leg straight and don’t place it on the ground.
With inhalation bring the left foot back next to the right foot into Chaturanga Asana. Hold the position and keep your body in the air. During that keep arms, back and knees straight.
If your shoulders allow it lean your body weight forward with exhalation. Hold your breath and with an inhalation go into Bhujangasana. For that put down your legs and hips on the floor. Your hands should be beside your chest now. Bring your pelvis down but your upper body up so that your navel doesn´t touch the floor anymore. Look straight up to the ceiling. Open your chest wide and breathe deeply. Make sure that you are not hanging your body weight on your shoulders.
With exhalation you bring your head back into the normal position and look straight. With inhalation twist your head to the right side and look at your left heel. With exhalation bring your head back and repeat the same on the left side.
Now push your body back and go into Adho Mukha Svanasana with inhalation. For that you keep your arms straight and with the strength of your shoulders you bring your hips up into the air. You lower the upper body and push your hands into the floor. Your buttock should be the highest part of your body and point to the ceiling.
With exhalation go back into Chaturanga Asana.
Now bring your right foot into the front between your arms. Your right knee should be directly above the right foot. Bring your pelvis down as much as you can and keep the left leg straight without touching the ground.
With inhalation bring the left foot next to the right foot between your arms and straighten your knees. Bring your upper body close to your legs so that your nose is touching the knees.
Bring your palms together in Namaste position. Straighten your elbows and slowly come up with inhalation and your back straight. Bend backwards as before and come back to Samastithi.
Now you have completed the first round of sun salutation!
Benefits of Surya Namaskar
This is a very beneficial position for your whole body. You may do it to warm up at the beginning of your yoga practice. It is also a great exercise for children as this position strengthen the muscles and gives the body more room to develop the organs and to grow.
Sun salutation also helps to prevent many digestive issues and stomach problems. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, sun salutation may help you as it regulates the movement of the bowels.
A regular practice of this sequence of yoga postures will strengthen your arms, shoulders, chest and abdominal muscles and help you to reduce fat especially on your belly.
It will also keep your whole body flexible.
If you practice this pose regularly it will help you to calm your mind, to improve your focus and concentration. Those effects work against depression, bipolar disorder, insomnia, headache, migraines and stress. It is also good for your memory and nervous system.
This exercise also has a lot of benefits for women. Regular practice of sun salutation helps against irregular menstruation and prevents pain during pregnancy. Sun salutation can also help to make the birth of the child easier.
Also your cardio system will be influenced in a positive way. Your blood will get more oxygen and so helps the body to get rid of toxics.
It is also very good for the coordination between mind and body and therefore recommended for seniors.
When you suffer from diabetes make this pose to reduce the sugar in your blood and to regulate your insulin level.
Your skin will become better, it will shape your muscles and will make you look and feel younger. It’s a wonderful exercise for beauty!
This exercise is a complete workout! Even when you don´t have much time for yoga or a workout, just practice sun salutation in the morning and it will give you a complete workout for your body.
In total a regular practice of Surya Namaskar keeps you happy and healthy!
Keep your feet together and knees straight while standing. Always keep your body weight on your toes. Focus on your body and the muscles you are working on while performing the posture.
Performing sun salutation slowly makes you understand the position and how it works and for sure it is more beneficial than doing it fast.
Make sure that you breathe very regular and perform the position in a steady rhythmus.
Tips and Help
For an easy version you can place the knee of the stretched leg on the floor when you finished the forward bending and you bring one leg back.
You can also lie on the floor after Chaturanga Asana. Lift your buttocks up and come into cobra after that.
If you are suffering from shoulder pain, place your arms next to your chest. Lift your chest, head and your arms and hands from the floor. The rest of the body lies on the floor as a substitute of the full cobra.
Coordinating with the breathing makes it easier to perform the posture.
Advanced yoga practitioners can try to keep the body up in the air during the whole sequence of poses. Only your hands and feet should touch the floor.
And if you want it to be more difficult, just do it more slowly and hold the single yoga poses a longer time.