We often get so busy in our lives that we barely have the time to exercise or meditate. While our lifestyles require physical strength, it is also now more important than ever to take care of our mental health and spend some time in a day to focus on calming our minds.
Surya Namaskar asanas help in balancing the three important segments of our body: Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. To enable our bodies to function in proper harmony, it is important to have the correct balance of these elements.
Origin of Surya Namaskar
The ancient Rishis of India believed the many different parts of our body are controlled by different devas or the divine impulses. The solar plexus which is located behind the navel is the central point of our body. Solar plexus is also known as the second brain of the body which is connected to the sun. According to the Rishis, practicing Surya Namaskar regularly can enhance these solar plexuses and thereby increases a person’s creative power and intuitive abilities.
Benefits of Surya Namaskar
Surya Namaskar yoga is believed to activate each and every part of the body which means that this powerful yoga pose has a great impact on the heart, intestine, stomach, liver, throat, chest, legs, and the muscles of our body.
Surya Namaskar for Weight Loss
According to research, Surya Namaskar is an excellent exercise for weight management. For both men and women, Surya Namaskar is efficient in improving muscle strength, toning the lower body, and enhancing strength, especially in the abdominal region and back muscles. Using medicines, following strict diets, lifting weights in the gym can cause a lot of damage to the body. Therefore, several yoga asanas are specially prepared to target the muscles in our body and attain an appropriate Body Mass Index (BMI) naturally. Performing around 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar can burn approximately 156 calories.
Surya Namaskar for the Mind: Practicing Surya Namaskar asana has shown to have a positive impact on enhancing the cognitive functions of the brain while also relaxing the mind. Sun Salutation when coupled with chants in every pose, can help provide the proper balance between body, breath, and mind. Chanting mantras while performing the asanas can increase spirituality and establish a deep sense of gratitude towards life.
Surya Namaskar and Steps to Perform Them:
To notice the benefits of Surya Namaskar, it is important to perform the Suryanamskar steps systematically and with a clear mind and focus.
Pranamasana or the Prayer Pose: The first pose of Surya Namaskar can be accomplished by standing in an upright position on your yoga mat and placing your feet close to each other. Take a deep breath and notice your chest expand, relax your shoulders. While inhaling, take a deep breath, raise your arms from the sides, and as you exhale join your palms together in front of your chest in a Namaste. This is the prayer position.
Hasta Uttanasana or the Raised Arms Pose :
Join your palms together and take a deep breath. Lift your arms up while slightly bending backward, you can push the pelvis forward a little, stretch back and lengthen the spine. Keep the biceps close to your ears while simultaneously stretching the whole body up from the heels. Raised-arms-pose. Hasta Padasana or the Standing Forward Bend Pose:
Exhale and bend forward to touch your toes with your fingers. You can bend your knees initially if necessary. Do not bend your spine and keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. Try to touch the floor with your fingers, pressing into your heels softly. Inhale while coming back up, standing-forward-bend.
Ashwa Sanchalanasana or the Lunge Pose:
After coming back from Hasta Padasana, bend your knees slightly and rest your palms on the floor in line with your feet. Inhale and bring your right knee towards the right side of your chest while stretching the left leg backward. Balance your body and raise your head facing forward.
Chaturanga Dandasana or the Plank Pose:
From the Ashwa Sanchalanasana, inhale and bring your right leg back, next to the left leg. Keep your hands under your shoulders, keeping your body parallel to the ground. Your entire body should be in one straight line. Breathe and balance.
Ashtanga Namaskar or the Eight Limbed Pose:
Also known as salutations using eight points or parts. To perform this pose, exhale and bring your knees down to the floor. Rest your chin on the floor and raise your hips slightly from the ground. Both your hands, knees, chin and the chest should touch the floor while your posterior should be suspended in the air. Breathe and hold the position for as long as comfortable.
Bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose:
Gently slide forward and rest your legs and abdomen flat on the ground. Place your palms close to your chest and while inhaling apply the pressure on the hand and slowly raise the upper body, your pelvic region touching the ground. Keep your shoulders away from your ears, feet tucked in, and look forward. Your head and torso should resemble a cobra with a raised hood.
Adho Mukha Svanasana or the Downward Facing Dog:
Lie down, releasing your chest from the Bhujangasana, your back facing the ceiling. Exhale and lift your hips gently to form an inverted ‘V’. Straighten your elbows and knees while trying to keep your heels on the ground. With every exhale and inhale, go deeper into the stretch. Look towards your navel.
Ashwa Sanchalanasana or the High Lunge Pose:
Coming back from the Adho Mukha Svanasana, bring your right foot forward. Keep your left leg stretched behind placing your feet on the mat and now slowly look forward. Gently push the hips towards the floor to deepen the stretch. Get a better stretch this time since you have performed this step before.
Hasta Padasana the Standing Forward Bend:
Inhale and bring your left foot forward, next to your right foot. Bend your torso while keeping the position of your hands intact, slowly exhale and touch the ground with your fingers.
Hasta Uttanasana or the Raised Arms Pose:
Inhale while lifting your upper body, join the palms and raise your hands upwards. Bend backward and stretch your spine. raised-arms-pose Yes, you have done this before.
Pranamasana or the Prayer Pose:
Coming back to where we had started, notice that we made a circle of these 12 poses. As mentioned in the first step, exhale and stand straight, relaxing your body. Lower the arms in front of your chest in a Namaste.
These Suryanamaskar steps will surely help you achieve your long-term health goals. To achieve the maximum advantages of Surya Namaskar follow these 12 steps for 12 cycles, if it is too much in the beginning, start with smaller cycles.