Sun salutation or Surya Namaskar is the most common yoga sequence. Despite the simplicity, the complex is effective and useful for both beginners and yoga practitioners. A 15-minutes practice in the morning is enough to feel a positive result. It is especially suitable for people leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Yoga sun salutation is based on three elements. Without them the practice is considered ineffective:
- asanas – a sequence of 12 exercises that correspond to the 12 signs of the zodiac;
- pranayama – breathing exercise. Try to synchronize your breath with each movement: inhale, exhale or hold your breath. With regular practice, proper breathing comes naturally;
- meditation – a state of mind, focused attention on the alternate execution of poses.
benefits of Surya Namaskar
Yoga sun salutation sequence fills the human body with the energy. A person practicing this complex in the morning feels how his body awakens, he feels strength and energy.
A person who regularly practices these yoga exercises in the morning, can feel the positive effect of Surya Namaskar after a short time:
- increases energy in the body;
- improves cardiac activity;
- normalization of digestive system functioning;
- improvement of the kidneys and urinary tract functioning due to a soft massage when working with the muscles of the back and spine;
- strengthening of the nervous system;
- improvement of the endocrine system functioning;
- strengthening the muscles of the back and abdominals;
- improvement of the body posture;
- immune system strengthening (helps to prevent or has positive effect if the person suffers from anemia, varicose veins, asthma, headache, constipation, kidney disease, diabetes, epilepsy, amenorrhea, mental disorders, etc.)
It is better to practice Sun Salutation at a sunrise. Remember the following important points in the body position at the beginning of all yoga practices.
Body position in yoga:
- Squeeze together shoulder blades;
- Lower shoulders;
- Tuck the tailbone under (if there are problems with the lower back);
- Engage abdominal muscles.
Below is a guide for the morning Sun Salutation complex: 12 poses with correct breathing
1. Pranamasana (prayer pose – greetings)
The goal of Pranamasana is to fill the body with prana while breathing deeply. With the inhale, raise your hands up, connect them in Namaste mudra and, with an exhale, lower to the level of your chest. Say welcome to the Sun and a new day inside of you.
Eyes closed, breathing is free, relaxed, observed. Feel your body, your heart beat, feel yourself here and now.
Benefits of Pranamasana: strengthening of immune, nervous, endocrine and lymphatic systems, it helps with hypertension, works well with the stoop.
2. Hasta Uttanasana (raised arms pose)
In this asana we bend upper back backward with the arms outstretched: breathe in and raise your arms upwards through the sides. You can connect them in Namaste mudra.
Try to put your hands behind your head as far as possible and perform a backbend. At the same time feel the work of the legs and abs muscles, the buttocks are also engaged. It is important to track the position of the waist and neck – they should not be over bended. Move smoothly and deliberately. To perform the pose of Hasta Uttanasana, take a deep breath.
Benefits of Hasta Uttanasana: strengthening of the muscular system, spinal lengthening, stretching, it helps with the stoop, osteochondrosis, and opening the heart chakra.
3. Uttanasana (intense forward bending)
Bend forward, place your palms along the feet on the mat, pull in the abdomen and stay as close as possible to the legs. In this case, the legs are straight, the knees are stretched, and we strive to push pelvis up and forward.
If you have just begun to practice this morning complex, make sure that your back is straight while bended. If you can’t do it right away, bend your legs a little. After each practice you’ll become more flexible. Make a deep exhalation while performing Uttanasana.
Benefits of Uttanasana: stretching the spine, massaging abdominal area of the body, stabilization of the nervous system, relieves fatigue.
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana I (rider posture)
Step back with your right leg, bend the left leg, and place your hands on both sides. Watch your knee – it should not be ahead of the heel. If the position is incorrect it causes a huge tension on the knee, which can lead to injury.
Raise your head up and make a backbend. Press your hands against the floor and bend more deeply in the back, opening the thoracic section and stretching the vertebra by vertebra. Shoulders lowered. While performing rider posture, make a deep breath.
Benefits of Ashwa Sanchalanasana: back and abdominal massage, legs strengthening, increased volume of lungs due to the backbend, flexibility of the spine and chest improvement. The pose also gives confidence and determination.
5. Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog)
Move the left leg back to the right, place the feet parallel to each other. Try not to slouch back and raise the pelvis. The head and neck relaxed, the shoulders are far from the ears. Try to put heels on the floor. Deeply exhale.
Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana: perfectly stretches the whole body: legs, ankles, shoulders, wrists, relieves fatigue, restores energy.
6. Ashtanga Namaskar (eight limbed salutation)
Practitioners can move into this position from Chaturanga Dandasana. Beginners should put the knees on the floor. Palms tightly pressed to the rug, arms bent at the elbows and the chest and chin touch the floor. As a result, your body will rest on 8 points: 2 legs, 2 arms, 2 knees, chin, and chest. Hold your breath during this posture.
Benefits of Ashtanga Namaskar: strengthening the legs, arms, spine, positive effect on the cervical, shoulder girdle; a beneficial effect on the kidneys and adrenal glands, thyroid gland and sex glands.
7. Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
With straight arms put the hips down on the mat. Perform a slight backbend, tilt your head slightly back, your shoulders should not pinch the neck. Hold the pose for a few seconds without movement, feel the work of the muscles of the back and thoracic. Take a deep breath while doing the asana.
Benefits of cobra pose: asana is useful for a stiff and deformed spine, helps to open the chest (works with the heart chakra – anahata), increases the volume of the lungs, involves deep muscles of the body, improves the functioning of the kidneys, endocrine glands, metabolic processes.
8. Adho Mukha Svanasana
Repetition of the fifth asana – stand in the pose downward facing dog: start moving your buttocks up, keep the balance and do not move the body. Try to press the heels to the floor. Exhale.
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Repeat the “rider pose.” Move the left foot forward, bend the knee, place it between the outstretched arms. Inhale, tilt your head back and bend your back. Shoulders should not be close to the ears.
10. Uttanasana (forward bending)
Move the right leg to the left. Repeat forward bending. Exhale, lower the head to the knees. At the same time, keep the back straight, the knees stretched, and move the pelvis forward.
11. Hasta Uttanasana (raised arms pose)
Inhale, lift your arms up through the sides. Try to put your hands behind your head as far as possible. Slightly arch your back. Make sure that lumbar area and neck are not overloaded. Move smoothly and deliberately.
12. Pranamasana (prayer pose)
Place your palms in front of the chest in Namaste mudra, relax your body and feel the effect of the exercises.
Yoga complex Surya Namaskar includes 24 positions. To perform a full cycle of sun salutation you need to repeat the same positions with a slight difference: you need to change your leg in the rider pose (right leg goes forward).
Perform all the sequence smoothly, without sudden movements, focus on your body, feel how it works.
After the complex you can practice Savasana (corpse pose) for deep relaxation and recovery. Do not overload yourself, start with practicing one full cycle and then gradually increase the number of it.
Love your body, fill it with the energy of the sun.