WHY YOU SHOULD PRACTICE SURYA NAMASKARA!
Surya Namaskara – the sun salutation is one of the vital and fundamental practices of yoga. This involves a flow sequence of twelve graceful and highly effective asanas. In Sanskrit, the term “Surya” means ‘sun’ and “namaskar” refers to ‘salute or greetings’. Surya Namaskara has been practised for ages. This acclaimed practice is believed to be descended down to sages from gods.
In Hinduism, the sun is celebrated and venerated as a deity and ‘Surya’ is the ‘god of the sun’. Moreover, the followers of Hinduism chant a special prayer “Gayatri mantra” with its practice.
Apart from a religious perspective, the sun is celebrated as the source of life, energy, vitality and life. The practice of Surya Namaskara is intended to channel the energy, vitality and vivacity of this celestial body.
Recently Ministry of Ayush- Government of India organized mass Surya Namaskar practice across the globe- Surya Namaskar for Vitality.
The carefully performed sequence of twelve asanas has numerous health benefits for physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. Even the recent research and scientific studies affirm this fact.
HERE IS WHAT RESEARCH SAYS ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF SURYA NAMASKARA!
Sunlight is the stimulant of vitamin D synthesis; that plays a significant role in bone health and other body functioning. A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology says that high vitamin D levels can effectively reduce the risk of active TB. Adequate exposure to sunlight can help maintain good health and be effective in the prevention and relief of certain health issues. For instance, rheumatic disorders, diabetes, gout, chronic ulcers, wounds and inflammation. 
Sun salutation and yoga therapy is found to be effective for pain relief, muscle strength, joint flexibility and for building core strength. 
Another study affirms that slow-paced Surya Namaskara has positive physiological effects in terms of increased muscular endurance and power. It also boosts physical fitness, endurance and has positive impacts on cardiovascular health. 
Performing slow-paced sun salutation is similar to aerobic exercise that boosts physical, fitness and core strength. Furthermore, it enhances oxygen uptake, its circulation and utilization and thus boosts psychological health. The practice is much recommended for young adults and teens. Young adults who regularly practice sun salutation show improved mental concentration and enthusiasm, mental balance and joyfulness. 
THE PRACTICE OF SURYA NAMASKARA
Sun salutation is the sequence of twelve asanas that is performed twice. The ideal time to practice is early morning at the time of sunrise. Always follow the precise sequence of asanas:
1.Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
Pranamasana brings mental calm and concentration. It develops body balance for further asanas.
The Mantra of this asana is “Om Mitraya Namaha” – salutations to the friend of all.
2. Hasta Utthanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Hasta Utthanasana opens up the chest, stretches the spine and abdominal muscles boosts spinal flexibility and builds core strength.
The mantra of this asana is “Om Ravaye Namaha” – salutations to the immaculate one.
3. Padahastasana (Hand To Foot Pose)
Padahastasana is particularly effective for abdominal muscles and vital organs. it massages and tones the abdominal muscles. It alleviates flatulence, constipation and indigestion. Furthermore, it ensures ample blood supply to the brain, thereby inducing mental calm, concentration and focus.
The mantra of this asana is “Om Suryaya Namaha”– salutations to he who brings movement.
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Ashwa Sanchalanasana works on the lower body. it stretches the lower back, hip, and calf muscles open up hip flexors. Additionally, it eases sciatica and lower back pain and much more.
The mantra of this asana is “Om Bhanave Namaha” – Salutations to one who enlightens.
5. Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Parvatasana is beneficial for heart health. it opens up the chest, enhances lung capacity, enhances blood flow to the face and brain. Moreover, this asana strengthens wrists and feet. It also relieves spinal pain, knee and joint pain as well as is effective for varicose veins.
The mantra of this asana is “Om Khagaya Namaha” – salutations to he who moves swiftly in the sky.
6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute With Eight Parts Or Points)
In this pose, the body is balanced on the floor when it touches eight points; feet, knees, chest, chin and hands. It induces body balance and relaxation. It is effective for relieving back pain, muscles strength and building core strength.
The mantra of this asana is “Om Pushne Namaha” – Salutations to one who gives strength.
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
This seventh asana of Surya Namaskara is also the 8th sequence in Chandra Namaskara (moon salutation). This practice improves breathing, increases blood oxygenation and blood circulation to vital organs and thereby improves their functioning. It stimulates appetite and alleviates constipation and indigestion.
The mantra of this asana is “Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha” – salutations to the golden, cosmic self.
8. Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Repetition of this asana restores body balance and has added benefits.
The mantra of this asana is “Om Marichaye Namaha” – salutations to the Lord of the sunrise.
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Again this pose is repeated to reap maximum physical and psychological health benefits.
The mantra of this asana is “Om Adityaya Namaha” – salutations to the son of Aditi, the celestial Mother.
10. Padahastasana (Hand To Foot Pose)
The mantra of this asana is “Om Savitre Namaha” – salutations to the Lord of creation.
11. Hasta Utthanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
The mantra of this asana is “Om Arkaya Namaha” – salutations to he who is worthy to be praised.
12. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
One round of practice is completed here. Keep in mind, the sequence is important.
The mantra of this asana is “Om Bhashkaraya Namaha” – salutations to he who guides to illumination.
- Here completes one round of Surya Namaskara. Another round is practised with minor changes in positions 13 and 24.
- For beginners, 2-3 rounds are enough. You can increase the rounds gradually. The best time to perform is early morning.
- Also, it is recommended to practice Shavasana, (corpse pose) after Surya Namaskara. This helps to bring heartbeat and respiration back to a normal rate and relaxes body muscles.
The 10 most important benefits of Surya Namaskara – Sun Salutation.
- Strengthens the back and joints.
- Balances the metabolism
- Tones the body and brings flexibility and strength
- Improves blood circulation throughout the body.
- Helps detoxify the body
- Affects the endocrine system and the nervous system.
- Reduces stress level, calms the mind
- Balances the energy system on the physical and mental level
- Balances the transition period between childhood and adolescence.
- Improves the quality of physical, mental and emotional health.
Do not practice Surya Namaskara in case of fever, acute inflammation, boils or skin rashes. And if you experience any of these symptoms after practice, it indicates wrong practice. One should not practice if suffering from severe coronary artery diseases, hypertension, hernia or intestinal tuberculosis, during the early days of pregnancy and after childbirth.
Surya Namaskar is one of the most acclaimed yoga practices. It brings physical rejuvenation, strength, mental calm and much more. The early morning hours are particularly calm and serene thus an ideal time to indulge in such healthy and holistic exercises. It revitalizes the whole physio-psychological system and imparts an overall sense of health and wellbeing.
- Mead M. N. (2008). Benefits of sunlight: a bright spot for human health. Environmental health perspectives, 116(4), A160–A167.
- Colgrove, Y. M., Gravino-Dunn, N. S., Dinyer, S. C., Sis, E. A., Heier, A. C., & Sharma, N. K. (2019). Physical and Physiological Effects of Yoga for an Underserved Population with Chronic Low Back Pain. International journal of yoga, 12(3), 252–264.
- Bhavanani, A. B., Udupa, K., Madanmohan, & Ravindra, P. (2011). A comparative study of slow and fast suryanamaskar on physiological function. International journal of yoga, 4(2), 71–76.
- Bhutkar, M. V., Bhutkar, P. M., Taware, G. B., & Surdi, A. D. (2011). How effective is sun salutation in improving muscle strength, general body endurance and body composition?. Asian journal of sports medicine, 2(4), 259–266.