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Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation, is a sequence of yoga postures performed flowingly. It is a dynamic practice that combines movement, breath, and mindfulness. Surya Namaskar definition derives its name from the Sanskrit words 'Surya,' meaning sun, and 'namaskar,' meaning salutation or greeting.
The practice of Surya Namaskar involves a series of twelve asanas or postures, traditionally performed in the early morning to greet the sun. Each asana seamlessly transitions into the next, creating a rhythmic and continuous flow. The sequence includes forward bends, backbends, lunges, and inversions, promoting flexibility, strength, and balance.
Surya Namaskar not only offers physical benefits but also has a deeper symbolic and spiritual significance. It is a way to honour the sun as a symbol of consciousness, vitality, and illumination. The practice combines physical movement with breath awareness, allowing practitioners to grow a sense of mindfulness and connection to their bodies.
Regular practice of Surya Namaskar improves overall body strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. In addition, it stimulates and energises the entire body, improving circulation and digestion. Furthermore, Surya Namaskar enhances mental clarity, reduces stress, and uplifts mood.
Whether practised as a standalone routine or as a warm-up for a more extended yoga session, Surya Namaskar is a complete practice that integrates movement, breath, and mindfulness. As a result, it offers a balanced blend of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, making it a popular and universal practice among yoga enthusiasts worldwide.
To perform Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), follow these Surya Namaskar 12 steps. The 12 poses of Surya Namaskar with names have different benefits and target various conditions. In addition, the following Surya Namaskar asana names can help you understand their meaning and impact. Read on to find out how to perform Surya Namaskar:
Pranamasana: Begin at the front of your yoga mat with your feet and palms pressed together at your heart centre in prayer.
Hasta Uttanasana: Inhale deeply, then raise your arms overhead, arching backwards slightly as you extend your spine.
Uttanasana: Exhale and fold from your hips, keeping your spine long, and bring your hands to the mat beside your feet.
Ashwa Sanchalanasana: Inhale, step your right leg back into a lunge, keep your left knee above your ankle, and gaze forward.
Chaturanga Dandasana: As you exhale, step your left leg back, coming into a plank pose, with your body in a straight line from head to heels.
Ashtanga Namaskara: Lower your knees, chest, and chin to the mat, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
Bhujangasana: Inhale and lift your chest off the mat, arching your back and keeping your thighs and hips on the ground.
Adho Mukha Svanasana: Exhale and lift your hips into an inverted V-shape, with your hands and feet pressing into the mat.
Ashwa Sanchalanasana: Inhale, step your right foot between your hands, return to a lunge position, and gaze ahead.
Uttanasana: As you exhale, step your left foot forward to meet your right foot, folding forward with your hands toward the floor.
Hasta Uttanasana: Inhale deeply, raise your arms overhead, and arch backwards, extending your spine.
Pranamasana: Exhale and return to the starting position with your palms at your heart centre.
Repeat the sequence, stepping your left leg back in step 4 and continuing alternating legs for subsequent rounds. Focus on balancing your breath. Inhale as you extend or open your body, and exhale as you fold or contract.
Start with a few rounds of Surya Namaskar and gradually increase the repetitions as your body becomes more used to the practice. It is essential to listen to your body, modify as needed, and consult a qualified yoga instructor if you have any specific concerns or limitations. Surya Namaskar can be performed as a standalone practice or as a warm-up before a more extended yoga session, offering a complete and energising workout for the mind, body, and spirit.