Healthy mind and healthy body are indispensable elements of life. Though there are different ways to keep yourself healthy, yoga promotes overall health in a balanced way. Yoga helps in recharging the body by attaining equilibrium, promoting self-healing, removing negative energies and enhancing personal powers. Yoga actually simplifies your mind and thought process. One such yoga posture that is actually the simplification form of daily workout for the mind and body is the surya namaskar. So, if you haven’t stretched you body since ages and considering something effective then the surya namaskar is just right for you.
Surya namaskar is basically a sun salutation that leads to healthy body, mind and soul. All across India, about 40 different styles of surya namaskar are being practiced, as slight variations in the sequence have been put forward by different yogic scholars, but overall, surya namaskar consists of a cycle and each cycle may consist of 10 – 24 steps. Whatsoever variations you perform, it is imperative to perform surya namaskar properly, consistently and with a suggested breathing pattern.
Vedic Origin of surya namaskar
Since ancient times, worshiping the sun has been practiced in India for prosperity and this has even been mentioned in the Vedas. Sun salutation was added as a daily routine for Hindus and named as surya namaskar. Through different procedures, one surrenders before God.
How to Perform Surya Namaskar?
If you are new to surya namaskar, it is better to start with just one or two sets and then increase the number with practice. Every time you attain a yoga position, it is very important to maintain correct posture. But before starting the surya namaskar, prepare your body by doing some fitness activities. Warm up through exercises the neck, arm and shoulder, knee, stomach and back, legs and waist. Once through, you are prepared to do the surya namaskar.
Posture 1 – Stand straight, if possible facing the morning sun. Fold your hands like we do in prayers and bring these close to your chest. Chant the mantra – ‘Om Suryadevaya Namah’ three times.
Posture 2 – With hands still folded, raise you arms up in the air and breathe in. Bend backwards making an arch like structure from hands to feet. Make sure that your spine is flexible enough to do this. Do not overstretch yourself otherwise you can get injured.
Posture 3 – Bring your hands down while breathing out. Touch the floor with hands by keeping them on either side of your feet. Make sure not to bend your knees in this posture. This posture is very helpful in reducing fat around waist by aiding digestion.
Posture 4 – Lower your hips and stretch your left leg backward while breathing in. Balance your left leg on your toe. Keep the right leg bent. Keep your hands firmly on the ground and now raise your head upward as if seeing the sky. This will provide flexibility to spine and leg muscles. With this posture the body’s immune system also gets a boost.
Posture 5 – Breathe out and push your right leg parallel to the left leg. Raise your hips. Keep your arms and knees straight and your head to face your navel.
Posture 6 – Hold your breath while bringing your hips down. Your hands and feet are still in the same position. Stretch your body close to the floor. Keep your face downwards and bring your knees and chest close to the floor. While doing this posture, 8 points of your body touch the floor – palms, toes, knees, forehead and chest.
After completing the cycle, lay down in shawasan or yoga nidra for some time.
Who should not do surya namaskar:
- Avoid surya namaskar if you have back pain.
- Do not do surya namaskar if you are pregnant. Also avoid it during menses.
- People suffering from blood pressure, arthritis, slip disc and hernia must not perform this asana. It is better to consult your doctor if you suffer from any other kind of ailment.
- In case your breathing goes faster than normal, then either take rest or do not perform surya namaskar that day.
Benefits of the surya namaskar
- Surya namaskar is highly beneficial if you want to lose weight.
- It helps in improving posture and provides strength to the muscles.
- Surya namaskar assists in stimulating every system of the body. It strengthens the heart, keeps the nervous system in place and makes the digestive system strong.
- All the glands function properly with the surya namaskar.
- Surya namaskar regulates your body, removes your stress and helps you in getting sound sleep.