Do you wonder what Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is all about? This article will tell you not only about what sun salutation is but also how to go about it.

Sun Salutation Poses

The ‘Sun Salutation’ pose of the ‘Surya Namaskar’ is a series of poses that you will be adopting when practicing yoga. The origin of this pose can be traced back to the Veda’s - Hindu religious scriptures that defined a series of poses that were meant to praise the sun for its profitable effect on one’s health. The surya namaskar is a collection of a series of twelve poses that are designed to exercise the spine by having the person bend it back and forward. The ideal way to perform the poses also includes alternating the breathing between inhaling and exhaling. There are some other stipulations that need to be followed while performing the sun salutation, and one of them is that it should be done on an empty stomach. This  means that the exercises should be performed prior to eating or at least two hours after eating. The salutation has certain medical advantages, some of which include oxygenating the lungs, improving the digestive system and improving muscle flexibility. The ideology behind the poses is that it indicates ones complete surrender to God.

Sun Salutation Sequence
As mentioned earlier, there are twelve postures that are adopted, in a set sequence, to complete the poses meant for sun salutations.

  • Stand with your feet together and hands in the prayer position. Take a few deep breaths and then exhale. This is known as ‘pranamasana’ or the prayer pose.
  • As you inhale, stretch your hands above your head while holding the palms still together in the prayer position while and arching your back. This pose is known as ‘hasta uttanasana’ or the raised hands pose.
  • For the next pose you need to bend forward as you exhale. Keep bending over till you are able to place your hands next to your feet. Bend your knees if you feel the need to do so. This pose is known 'hastapaadasana' or the standing forward bend pose.
  • The fourth pose is the ‘aekpaadprasarnaasana’ or the equestrian pose. What you need to do here is to inhale and stretch your right leg back while you keep the leg and the spine in one straight line.
  • Once you are in the equestrian pose, exhale and bring the left foot back to place it next to the right foot. At this point you should be inhaling as you support you weight on your hands and feet while keeping your back straight and in line with your legs. This pose is called ‘dandasana’ or the four-limbed staffs pose.
  • ‘Ashtanga namaskara’ or the salute with eight limbs is the next pose where you will lower you body as you exhale. This pose is similar to the pose you are in during the downward motion when doing pushups. Once in the pose, you will need to hold your breath and inhale as you transition to the next pose.
  • In the next pose, ‘bhujangasana’ or the cobra pose, you will raise your torso up, bending yourself back at the waist without raising your legs and inhaling all the way up.
  • ‘Adho mukha svanasana’ or the downward facing dog pose is the next pose. Here you will exhale as you lift your hips up and push back. At the end of this motion you should have your hips raised and your head down at a lower position.
  • After the ‘adho mukha svanasana’ comes the ‘ashwa sanchalanasana’. This is where you return to the equestrian pose as you inhale.
  • The next pose will be the ‘uttanasana’ where you return your body to the pose of standing, while you bend forward at the waist and exhale.
  • ‘Hasta uttanasana’ is the pose where you return your arms to the position where they are held together and raised above your head as you inhale.
  • The final pose is the return to the prayer pose or ‘pranamasana’. While returning to this pose you will need to exhale.
Once you have completed the first set of the twelve poses you need to repeat them with the left leg being stretched back first during the equestrian pose.

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