Salutations to the Sun – Surya Namaskara

Surya Namaskara is a series of asanas, in a gentle flowing movements synchronized with the breath. Classical hatha style sun salutations are traditionally practiced with 12 movements symbolizing 24 hours in a day/ 12 months in a year and the biorhythms of the body. The series of Surya Namaskara is usually performed early in the morning facing the rising sun while absorbing vital and healing sun’s rays, and exposing individual parts of the body to sunlight. It is an excellent warm up practice. On a physical level they improve the breath, body awareness and concentrate the mind.

They generate internal heat in the body, loosening, stretching, massaging, and toning all the joints, muscles, and internal organs of the body. They stimulate circulatory and energetic pathways. They can be practiced with chakra awareness and mantras that awaken an aspect of the energy of the sun. These postures represent the metabolism of the sun’s energy into life energy.

1. Pranamasana – Prayer Pose

Stand erect, toes slightly apart, heels separated. Outer sides of feet are parallel. Legs active. Bring hands together at the center of the chest, palms flat against each other. Close your eyes and relax your whole body. Become aware of energy in your body. Breath normally.

Awareness: ~ physical – on the chest area ~ spiritual – on anahata chakra (heart chakra)

2. Hasta Uttanasana – Raised Arms Pose

With inhalation stretch arms up over head. Arch body backward. Hips forward. Arms are along the ears.

Awareness: ~ physical – on the stretch of the abdomen and expansion of the lungs ~ spiritual – on vishuddhi chakra (throat chakra)

3. Padahastasana – Hand to feet pose

Bend forward from hip joint while exhaling. Place hands on the floor, either outsides of the feet or fingertips in line with toes. Gently bring your head toward your knees.

Awareness: ~ physical – on the back and pelvic region ~ spiritual – on swadhisthana chakra (sacral chakra)

4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana – Equestrian Pose

Now inhale while stretching the right leg back and drop the knee on the ground. Left shin is perpendicular. Spine is straight, chin up, chest open. Keep the arms straight.

Awareness: ~ physical – on the stretch from the thigh through the lower backs ~ spiritual – on ajna chakra (centre between the eyebrows)

5. Santulanasana – Plank Pose

Retain the breath and bring the left leg back. Feet are together, body is straight. Engage your core.

Awareness: ~ physical – on the arms, shoulders, core, and legs ~ spiritual – vishuddhi chakra (throat chakra)

6. Ashtanga Namaskara – Eight Limbs Pose

Exhale while dropping the knees down to the floor. Keep hips up, place chest in between palms and chin on the ground. Fingertips are in line with shoulders. Only the toes, knees, chest and chin touch the floor in this pose.

Awareness: ~ physical – on the arch in the lower back and on the abdominal region ~ spiritual – on manipura chakra (solar plexus chakra)

7. Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose

With inhalation slide the chest forward. Thighs and pelvis stay on the ground. Arch the back and look up.

Awareness: ~ physical – on relaxation of the spine ~ spiritual -on swadhisthana chakra (sacral chakra)

8. Parvatasana – Mountain Pose

Exhale and tuck the toes under. Raise your buttocks up. Release the heels towards the floor. Keep legs and arms straight.

Awareness: ~ physical – on the back of the legs, shoulders and throat region ~ spiritual – on visuddhi chakra (throat chakra)

9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana – Equestrian Pose

Inhaling, bring the left foot forward and place it between hands. Lower the right knee so that it touches the floor. Keep spine straight and chin up.

10. Padahastasana – Hand to Feet Pose

With exhalation bring the right leg forward next to the left one and forehead towards the knees.

11. Hasta Uttanasana – Raised Arms Pose

Inhale while raising up and arch backwards with the arms above the head.

12. Pranamasana – With exhalation bring the palms together in front of the chest

This is a half round. To complete one round, repeat these twelve positions with changes the legs. That means that instead of stretching the right foot backward, you stretch the left one. And then from the mountain pose you will bring the right leg forward instead of the left one.

You can provide the movements of the sun salutation slowly or energetically. Make the speed between the poses as it suits your body. Breathe in harmony with the movements.

Surya Namaskara helps maintain youth and body flexibility. It leads to excellent breathing and slows down aging. There is a great number of benefits:

  • Forming a strong, healthy and flexible spine
  • Stretching and strengthening dozens of muscles throughout the body
  • Improving the blood supply to the spinal area and thus strengthens the heart, lungs, livre, stomach, kidneys and intestines
  • Stimulating digestive system and eliminate constipation by clearing the colon
  • Leading to flexibility of all the joints and removes joint stiffness due to insufficient movement
  • Increasing the respiratory capacity
  • Energizing the body and mind
  • Stimulating the body┬┤s vital energies