Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps – The Essence
Surya Namaskar Yoga is the essence of all kinds of Yoga put together. The meaning for the Sanskrit word, ‘Yoga’ is union, Surya means ‘Sun’ and namaskar means ‘the Salutation’. Hence Surya Namaskar Yoga can be simply defined as the steps of the Sun Salutation. We salute the almighty sun considering it the only source of life and energy for all kinds of living organisms on mother earth.
Enjoying a party, watching a movie or being with the crowd in a cricket match bring happiness and elevate ourselves. Watching the waves by standing on the shore, feeling the breeze by sitting on a mountaintop or having a private chat with your loved one, also bring happiness. Both are happiness but happiness with different levels of energy. Surya namaskar Yoga also provides you with very high levels of such positive energy.
When you feel blissful, union of your body and mind happens. To be more precise, you would forget about your whole being. There is no “ you” to look the things logically and raise questions. Everything dissolves into one. The natural and occasional dissolving of your ego which brings the blissful experience and to have it permanently is a vast study, dealt by religions.
Surya Namaskar Yoga is the product of ancient Indian wisdom but is not just a form of exercise or a ritual in Hinduism. Yoga treats every individual as a part of this universe. It tries to unite not only your body and mind into one but also tries to unite you with the universe. Here comes the relevance of the word, ‘Yoga’, which means union.
The history of yoga dates back to thousands of years and this science of pre-Vedic period is practiced all over the world now. Many religions like Buddhism and Jainism adopted it in course of time and many types and forms are in practice now. Though Surya Namaskar is a very little part in the vast yoga practices, it is well known in the modern times and practiced by millions of people.
Surya Namaskar means Sun salutation and by giving the salutation, you invoke the feeling of gratitude. Thus, Surya Namaskar Yoga automatically invokes a feeling of gratitude in you and fills with a great spectrum of positive energy. You remember the power and grace of the sun and do your Sun salutations in twelve steps. The steps condition your body and mind and help you to start the day as the healthy individual.
Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps
In Surya Namaskar, you salute the sun with these 12 steps in the early morning. The surya namaskar steps are given below
1) Pranamasana – (Prayer pose)
Pranamasana is the first step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
Feel composed and stand on your mat. Keep your feet together and balance your weight equally on your feet.
By standing on the edge of your mat, relax your shoulders and expand your chest.
Then breathe the air in and lift your hands from the sides simultaneously.
Put your palms together in front of your chest in prayer position while you exhale the air.
2) Hastauttanasana – (Raised Arms pose)
Pranamasana is the second step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
Do the breathing in and raise your arms up.
Keep the arms close to your ears all the way and stretch backward.
You should stretch the body from your toes to the tip of the fingers.
The mere bending of the body backward doesn’t give the good results.
3) Hasta Padasana – (Hand to Foot pose)
Pranamasana is the third step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
Now bend down and by keeping your back straight, try to touch the floor with your palms. Don’t bend your knees and try to touch the knees with your head. It would be difficult initially and will become easy with time.
Exhale and bend down. Exhale completely and touch the floor with your palms. Keep the palms in one position and don’t move them here and there.
4) Ashwa Sanchalanasana – (Equestrian pose)
Pranamasana is the forth step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
Push your right leg back as far as possible while breathing in.
Let the right knee touch the floor and look up.
Keep your left leg between your hands.
For the best results, keep your foot exactly between the hands.
5) Dandasana – (Stick pose)
Pranamasana is the fifth step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
In the same pose, breathe in and bring your left leg back.
Keep your whole body in a straight line.
Keeping your arms straight and perpendicular to the floor will enhance the result.
6) Ashtanga Namaskara – (Salute With Eight Parts Or Points)
Pranamasana is the sixth step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
Bring your knees down to the floor gently and breathe out. Raise your hip slightly and keep your chest and chin touching the floor.
Keep your side of the hands close to your body and touch the ground with your palms.
In this salutation, the eight parts of your body which include two hands, two feet, two knees, chest, and chin should touch the ground.
7) Bhujangasana – (Cobra pose)
Pranamasana is the seventh step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
Raise your chest like a cobra. Keep your elbows down, keep the shoulders away from the ears and look up.
While breathing in, gently push forward your chest and similarly while you breathing out push your navel down.
Stretch yourself fully but don’t force your body.
8) Adho Mukha Svanasana – (Downward-Facing Dog pose)
Pranamasana is the eighth step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
By keeping your chest downwards, lift your hip and tailbone up.
Keep the heels, touching the ground.
Stretching to the maximum gives the best result.
9) Ashwa Sanchalanasana – (Equestrian pose)
Pranamasana is the ninth step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
As you have already done it, bring the right foot between your hands this time.
Keep the left knee down to touch the floor. Push the hip down and look up.
Keeping the right hand at the exact center between the hands and pushing your hip down gently to give the maximum stretch is the good way to do this salutation.
10) Hasta Padasana – (Hand to Foot pose)
Pranamasana is the tenth step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
Bring your left foot forward, while breathing out. Keep your palms down to touch the floor.
Slight bending of knees in this position could be allowed if you feel not easy with the position.
Straightening your knees slowly to the maximum and touching the knees with your nose give the maximum stretch.
11) Hastauttanasana – (Raised Arms pose)
Pranamasana is the eleventh step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
Breathe in and stretch your spine up.
Raise your hands to go up while bending back a little.
Push your hip slightly outward.
Keeping your hands to touch the ears, gives the good upward stretch.
12) Tadasana – (Mountain Pose)
Pranamasana is the twelth step of Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps.
Breathe out and bring back your body to the straight position.
Then bring your arms down. It’s time to relax and feel the resonance with nature.
Keep calm for a while and observe your body.
If you follow the procedures and do the surya namaskar steps regularly it will open the world of good for you.
Surya Namaskar Mantra
You must learn and understand the Surya Namaskar Mantra before you start with Surya Namaskar Yoga. In the Vedas, the scriptures are in Sanskrit. Learning Vedas by staying with Guru (The Teacher) was a part of life in Vedic ages and Vedas were a repository of vast knowledge. Vedas deal with all necessities of life. The chanting of mantras in the right way itself brings the positive vibes, it is believed.
In the twelve steps of Surya Namaskar, a mantra is to be chanted in each step. Each Surya namaskar mantra has a meaning which glorifies the Sun. The aim of the Surya namaskar mantra is to imbibe the feeling of the power of the Sun, about its glory and the sense of feeling grateful in you.
1) Aum Mitraya Namah – Who is friendly to all creatures
2) Aum Ravayre Namah – The shining, The radiant
3) Aum Suryaya Namah – Who vanishes the darkness, Who brings every activity to life
4) Aum Bhanave Namah – The bright one, who illuminates
5) Aum Khagaya Namah – Who moves in the sky, Who is everywhere
6) Aum Pushne Namah – One who feeds and fulfills
7) Aum Hiranyagarbhaya Namah – whose brilliance radiates with the color of the gold
8) Aum Marichaye Namah – who gives light with infinite number of rays
9) Aum Adityaya Namah – The son of Aditi, the Divine Mother
10) Aum Savitre Namah – One who gives life
11) Aum Arkaya Namah – Praise and Glorify
12) Aum Bhaskaraya Namah – Giver of wisdom, illuminates with cosmic energy
Surya Namaskar – Benefits
It’s not just the belief of the followers of Yoga, but the great varieties of surya namaskar benefits are the proven one. Many health specialists, lifestyle advisers, motivators and modern-day spiritual gurus advise the people to do the sun salutations. It’s a whole body exercise but simple to do. The little time you spend would give you more benefits than what you get from the long hours of work out in other forms of exercises.
The regular practice of yoga tones up and strengthens your whole body. The strength you get improves your immunity and prevents diseases.
It improves digestion and relieves you from constipation. Indigestion and constipation are the origins of many diseases, and yoga helps you to lead a healthy and happy life by relieving you from the common problem.
It improves the mind and body coordination by stimulating your nervous system which includes the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerves.
As the practice activates your brain cells, your focus and memory capacity also get improved.
It strengthens and improves the functions of your heart. It regulates your blood pressure.
It improves the capacity of your lungs and thus improves the oxygen supply to the whole body.
Regular practice helps in the weight loss and the improved blood circulation gets back you the glowing skin
Surya namaskar benefits the women by correcting the problems in the menstrual cycles, menopause, and childbirth.
It improves your sex life and helps to have a healthy sexual appetite.
Joint problems and arthritis, which are the problems people encounter with aging are cured.
It helps to maintain the balance of your body, to improve your mental strength, to improve your positive energy and to improve your intuition.
Surya Namaskar Yoga For Weight Loss
If you want to lose weight by not stressing yourself hard, Surya Namaskar Yoga is the best way you have. The process is simple and not hard as gym exercises but you lose weight while retaining the flexibility of the muscles.
It burns more calories, boosts your metabolism and builds lean muscles. This ancient method gives the amazing result in a short span of time.
Doing one minute of Sun Salutation helps you burn 3.79 calories. The completion of one full set of Surya Namaskar yoga takes 3 mins and 40 secs. So, you can burn 13.91 calories by doing one Surya Namaskar and losing calories varies with persons as it depends on weight and other factors.
By calculating the weight you have to lose, you can come to a conclusion about the time of workout you need. If you decide to lose a pound in a week you have to burn about 500 calories daily as one pound is equal to 3,500 calories.
A 12 round of Surya Namaskar burns 156 calories. Which needs a heavy work out in a gym. How ever you should not over work out your body and having the advise of a certified trainer is good.
Frequently Asked Questions about Surya Namaskar Yoga
Can we do Surya Namaskar in the evening?
Surya Namaskar Yoga means Sun salutation.The morning is the best time to do Surya Namaskar.But doing it in the evening is perfectly alright when you have no time in the morning. The morning time is highly preferred when you go for the meditative bent of mind which you can attain in the early morning ambience.Many leading yoga gurus all over world allow the people to do Surya Namaskar in the evening.The only condition is you should do the sun salutation with the empty stomach. Five or six hours after your lunch is the mostly preferable time. Surya Namaskar yoga has lot of physical benefits which you will get even when you do it in the evening. So doing Surya Namaskar in the evening is perfectly Ok.
2) How many times we can do Surya Namaskar Yoga in a day?
Surya Namaskar Yoga steps and poses look very simple but in practice it really burns calories and helps in weight loss. You have to do Surya Namaskar with the help of a certified teacher.The teacher would prescribe the number of cycles you have to do according to your body weight and conditions.You can do 288 yoga poses in 12 to 15 minutes. When compared to the hard gym exercises the calories you burn is more in Surya namaskar yoga. So you definitely should not do the Surya namaskar yoga as you like and you should follow the proper guidance of a certified professional.
3) What type of yoga is Surya Namaskar Yoga?
Surya Namaskar is a warm up yoga to do further asanas. The yoga guru can develop his own personalized warm up practice which suits his asanas.Actually Surya Namaskar Yoga itself is a complete yoga practice. By focusing on your breathe and your physical movements, Surya Namaskar unifies your body mind and spirit. The Hatha yoga practice is followed by many people all over the world and the famous 12 steps of Surya Namaskar yoga belongs to Hatha yoga tradition. The Astanga Vinyasa Yoga tradition is the other one where there are two types. In the first one, Surya Namaskar is done in 9 steps and in the second one it is done in 17 steps.
4) What is yoga Sun Salutation?
The sun salutations is a series of poses with which you do your yoga practice. It is actually a warm up yoga before you do your other regular asanas. The Hatha yoga tradition is mostly followed where the sun salutations are 12 in number.The 12 steps of sun salutations include the movement of body parts along with breathing. You do inhale of your breath while extending and you do inhale while bending. The series of steps coordinate your body, mind and spirit and it is really a good warm up exercise before you do your regular other asanas.
5) How do you do a sun salutation?
The sun salutations or Surya Namaskar Yoga is the 12 steps by which you do your morning yoga. Though some other methods are in use, the 12 steps based on the Hatha yoga is widely practised. The sun salutation is usually done during the early morning Sunrise. By standing on a mat, you should stand facing the sun and do your salutations. You should feel well composed and should feel your breathing and the physical movements. Doing absentmindedly is not a good practice as the main aim of Surya Namaskar Yoga is the unification of your body, mind and spirit. The sun salutation itself is a complete exercise though serious practioners of yoga do it as a warm up exercise.
6) Why Surya Namaskar Yoga is called a Sun Salutation?
Yoga is a part of Hindu Vedic culture which is more than 4000 years old. For thousands of year years Indians worship the sun as the creator of all the things. They call the sun as the eye of the world.In Vedas many hymns are there which praise the Sun. The Sanskrit word yoga means Union. The yogic practices try to unite your body and mind with the universal spirit. Surya means sun and Namaz means to bow in respect. So Surya namaskar yoga is called as Sun Salutation.
7) How many calories are burned in Surya Namaskar Yoga?
The burning of calories differs from person to person. For an average weighing person the burning of calories is 13.90 calories when he does one round off Surya Namaskar. In one round of Surya Namaskar, you do 12 yoga poses. One set consists of two rounds of Surya Namaskar poses, one for stretching your right side of the body and the other for stretching your left side. In 12 minutes you can do 12 sets.With 2 rounds in each set it and 12 yoga poses, the total is 288 yoga poses in 12 minutes. When you calculate the calories, you could burn 417 calories in 30 minutes which is much better than some heavy workouts you do in the gym.
8 ) What are the steps for surya namaskar Yoga?
Following are the 12 steps we do in Surya Namaskar Yoga.
Step 1: Prayer pose – Pranamasana.
Step 2: Raised arms pose – Hastauttanasana.
Step 3: Hand to foot pose – Hasta Padasana.
Step 4: Equestrian pose- Ashwa Sanchalanasana.
Step 5: Stick pose- Dandasana.
Step 6: Salute with eight parts or points – Ashtanga Namaskara.
Step 7: Cobra pose – Bhujangasana.
Step 8: Mountain pose – Parvatasana
Step 9: Equestrian pose- Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Step 10: Hand to foot pose – Hasta Padasana
Step 11: Raised Arms Pose- Hastauttanasana
Step 12: Standing Mountain pose – Tadasana
9) Why do you do 108 Sun Salutations?
The significance of the number 108 is not exactly revealed. It is still under various interpretations.In Hindu Vedic tradition it is a sacred number. The malai or the garland we use in prayers consists of 108 beads and the extra one bead represents the guru around which all beads rotate. There are 108 sacred sites in India and the number of Upanishad is also 108. There are 108 marma points in our body and the one more curious interpretation is the Sun and the Moon is at an average distance of 108 times their respective diameters from the Earth.
10) What is the Moon salutation?
The Moon Salutation is the reverence to the Moon as we do for the Sun in Surya Namaskar. The Sun Salutation is a warm up practice which boosts your energy but the Moon salutation is a relaxing practice. It releases energy. You do the movements quicker in Sun Salutations but you do it slowly in Moon salutations. The Moon salutation which is considered as the female equivalent of Sun salutation came into practice only in the late 20th century. The 14 poses in Moon Namaskar represents the 14 lunar phases while the 12 steps in Surya Namaskar represent the 12 Zodiac signs.
11) Can I do Surya Namaskar during my periods?
Doing Surya Namaskar during periods is not strictly prohibited.It depends on the health conditions of the individuals. When you do Surya Namaskar 95% of the body muscles are used and it is a good cardiovascular exercise. But no risk is attached in anyway when you do it in your periods. During your periods it helps to relieve you from mood swings and some form of discomfort.But if you feel weakness or discomfort when you do Surya Namaskar it is better to stop it at once. Reducing the number of cycles of Surya Namaskar on the first day of your period and gradually increasing it in the coming days is prescribed as a safe practice.
12) How many times we have to do Surya Namaskar in a day?
Doing Surya Namaskar as and when you want to do and as many times you prefer is not good. Doing Surya Namaskar looks very simple but in practice 95 percentage of your body muscles are used and more calories are burnt. Doing 30 minutes of Surya Namaskar burns more calories than the heavy exercises you do in the gym. The minimum of 12 sets of Surya Namaskar is prescribed to start with. With the regular practice you can gradually increase the number of sets you do and with the proper advice from a certified yoga teacher. So don’t do more number of Sun Salutations than what is prescribed for you.
13) What is Surya Kriya?
Surya Kriya is different from Surya Namaskar. Surya means Sun and Kriya means the inner energy process. Surya Kriya is a very ancient part of yoga practice and it is a complete process which brings health, wellness and inner well being. So Surya Kriya activates the solar plexus and rice the Solar heat in your system. More than flexing the muscles it deals with the energy system of your body and brings balance in your right and left energy channels which ultimately brings out the stillness of your mind. It develops your mental ability and focus and it boosts your energy and vitality. The mental state you gain through Surya Kriya is good for deep meditation.
14) What is Surya Sakthi?
Shakti means power and Surya Sakthi is an active form of Surya Namaskar. In practicing Surya Sakthi you align your system with the Sun and the practice consists of 18 postures. The practice mainly focuses on the physical fitness. While you practice it regularly it cultivates your body and mind to be at the peak of your physical fitness. If you do the hundred and eight cycles of Surya Shakti you will attain the maximum of your physical fitness. Practicing Surya Sakthi improves your immunity, strengthens your muscles, reduces the risk of heart attack, alleviate joint pains and helps in getting deep sleep.
15 ) What is the difference between Tadasana and Samasthithi?
Both the poses look alike while you do Surya Namaskar. But the difference can be interpreted from the meaning of the words. Tadasana means ‘mountain pose’ and Samasthithi means ‘equal standing’. In Tadasana you should stand tall and stand like a mountain. The priority is to stand erect. In Samasthithi, standing with equal balance to your right, left, front and back is emphasized. So, both are not same and you should do the practice with the definite difference.
Surya Namaskar Yoga- The Conclusion
As you have gone through the various paragraphs about Surya Namaskar Yoga Steps with poses and images along with the benefits of the Surya Namaskar Yoga benefits, You might have learned the process of performing Surya namaskar Yoga. It is highly effective and beneficial for all age groups including kids, adults and elderly people. Wish you a very happy and stunning mornings with Surya Namaskar.
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