Surya Namaskar/Sun Salutation:The Single Mantra to Fitness
Surya Namaskar,also known as Sun Saluation is an ancient form of exercise.Sun Salutation is a common sequence of Asanas or Postures.India has always been known for yoga since ancient times.Its origin lies in India where its large Hindu population worships Surya,the hindu solar diety.Surya Namaskar like most othere asanas is recommended to be performed on an empty stomach.A gap of 2 hours after eating and before performing the namaskar is recommended.It is generally practiced in the morning before breakfast or in the evening.Each set of Surya Namaskar should take you somewhere between 12-15 minutes to complete the 12 postures set.
Did you know that Kareena Kapoor got her size zero figure through Surya Namaskar.Kareena swears by this ancient form of exercise.Kareena is known to do a minimum of 50 Surya Namaskar in one session.
So is Surya Namaskar just a new age Bollywood fad or is there something more to it.Bollywood actresses seem to be smitten by yoga,be it Kareena Kapoor to Shilpa Shetty to Malaika Arora Khan,everyone does Yoga everyday and they always emphasise on the need to do Yoga to keep yourself healthy and youthful.
Surya Namaskar is a hit amongst Bollywood celebrities.So lets find out everything you need to know about Surya Namaskar and let all of us all adopt this single mantra to fit and healthy body and relaxed mind.
What is Surya Namaskar?
There are 8 different Asanas in the sequence of the 12 Asanas of Surya Namaskar.Some Asanas are repeated twice with the opposite side(left leg)in the cycle of Surya Namaskar.It is performed facing the direction of the rising(east)or setting(west)sun.
Generally people understand Surya Namaskar as an exercise:it strengthens your back,your muscles etc.Yes,it does that all and much more.Surya Namaskar is a set of complete workout for our physical system-a complete exercise routine without the need of any equipment.Apart from being a complete set of exercise Surya Namaskar is an important tool that empowers us humans to break free from the hectic cycle and stressful patterns of our lives.Literally,Surya Namaskar is a good way to keep the body in shape and the mind calm and healthy.It is one of the best ways to start your day fresh.If you don’t have time and find it difficult to take out the time for exercising or to go to any gym and are looking for a single mantra to stay fit,here’s the answer.Surya Namaskar is a set of 12 yoga asanas that provide a good cardiovascular workout.Each of the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar is designed to have specific benefit on the body.Surya Namaskar consists of alternating backward and forward bending postures.These alternating backward and forward bending postures flex and stretch the spinal column to its maximum capacity giving a profound stretch to the whole body.
Surya Namaskar means to bow down to the sun in the morning to express gratitude to the sun for sustaining life on this planet.The Sun is the source of life on this planet.In everything you eat,drink and breathe,there is an element of the sun.So it is very important for you to learn how to make it a part of your system and by doing Surya Namaskar you incorporate the sun in your system and truly benefit from the process.Each Surya Namaskar consists of 2 sets.These 12 yoga postures complete one set of Surya Namaskar ,6 postures first in the first set and to complete the second set,you need to repeat the same sequence of postures,only moving the left leg instead of the right leg.
For the next 10 days,start your day with a feeling of grace and gratitude towards the Sun.Do 10-12 rounds of Surya Namaskar followed by other yoga Asanas and then deeply in Yoga Nidra and calm and relax the body and the mind.Try and notice,the effects of Surya Namaskar through the day.You will be much more calm,full of energy with less stress levels,the benefits are countless.
Benefits of Surya Namaskar
-Surya Namaskar activates the digestive system as it incorporates stretching and contraction of abdominal organs.It activates digestion and helps you to get rid of constipation.
-Boosts your overall health.
-Keeps anxiety at bay.
-Helps to de-stress our whole system.
-Tones the arms and strengthens the spine.
-Strengthens abdominal muscles.
-It strengthens the joints in our body.
-Promotes regular menstrual cycle.
-Prevents hair loss.
-Improves the flexibility of the body.
-Maintains the spirit of youthfulness.
-Helps reduce fat eventually leading to weight loss.
-Tones up the nervous system and improves memory.
-Helps to detoxify our body.
-Gives youthful skin and cures skin disorders.
-Improves the functioning of the endocrine system,including thyroid,pituitary gland and ovaries.
-If children practice Surya Namaskar it has been observed that it increases their physical stamina,concentration and memory.
Who should not do Surya Namaskar??
-Pregnant women should not practice Surya Namaskar after the second month of pregnancy.They should seek proper medical advice from a doctorbefore starting it.
-Women should avoid doing Surya Namaskar during their periods.
-Patients with high blood pressure levels.
-Patients with hernia.
-Patients suffering with slip disc problem should seek proper advice before starting Surya Namaskar.
How to do Surya Namaskar??
As mentioned above,Surya Namaskar is a series of 12 yoga postures.Down below I am going to walk you through each and every step of Surya Namaskar in detail.
1.Pranamasana or The Prayer Pose:Stand at the edge of the yoga mat,keep your feet together and balance your weight equally on both your feet.Expand your chest and relaxyour shoulders.As you breathe in,lift both arms up from the sides and as you exhale,bring your palms together infront of the chest as in prayer position.
2.Hastauttanasana or The Raised Arms Pose:Breathing in,lift the arms up and back,keeping the biceps close to the ears.In this pose,the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers.To get maximum benefits,you may pull the pelvis forward and ensure reaching up with your fingers rather than going backwards.
3.Hasta Padasanas or The Hand to Foot Pose:Breathing out,bend forward from the waist,keeping the spine erect.As you exhale completely,bring the hands down to the floor,beside the feet.You may bend the knees,if necessary,to bring the palms down to the floor.Now make a gentle effort to straighten the knees.
4.Ashwa Sanchalanasana or The Equestrian Pose:Breathing in,push your right leg back,as far back as you can.Bring the right knee to the floor and look up.Ensure that the left foot is exactly in between the palms.
- Dandasana or The Stick Pose:As you breathe in,take the left leg back and bring the whole body in a straight line.Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor.
6.Ashtanga Namaskar or Salute with Eight Points Or Parts:Gently bring your knees down to the floor and exhale.Take the hips back slightly,slide forward,rest your chest and chin on the floor.Raise your posture a little bit.The two hands,two feet,two knees,chest and chin(eight parts of the body touch the floor).
7.Bhujang Asana or The Cobra Pose:Slide forward and raise the chest up into the Cobra posture.You may keep your elbows bent in this pose,the shoulders away from the ears,look up.As you inhale,make a gentle effort to push the chest forward:as you exhale,make a gentle effort to push the navel down.Tuck the toes under.Ensure you’re stretching just as much as you can,do not force yourself.
8.Parvatasana or The Mountain Pose:Breathing out,lift the hips and the tail bone up,chest downwards in an ‘inverved V’ posture.If possible try and keep the heels on the ground and make a gentle effort to lift the tailbone up,going deeper into the stretch.
9.Ashwa Sanchalanasana or The Equestrian Pose:Breathing in,bring down the right foot forward in between the two hands,left knee down to the floor,press the hips down and look up.Place the right foot exactly between the two hands and the right calf perpendicular to the floor.In this position,make a gentle effort to push the hips down toward the floor,to depen the stretch.
10.Hasta Padasana or the Hand to Foot Pose:Breathing out,bring the left foot forward.Keep the palms on the floor.You may bend the knees if possible.
11.Hastauttanasana orThe Raised Arms Pose:Breathing in,roll up the spine,hands go up and bend backwards a little bit,pushing the hips slightly outward.Ensure that your biceps are beside your ears.The idea is to stretch up more rather than stretching backwards.
12.Pranamasana or The Salutation Pose:As you exhale,first straighten the body,and then come back to standing position with palms joined infront of your chest.Relax in this position,observe the sensations in your body.
If you still have any problem in understanding the Surya Namaskar procedure,you can refer to this video HERE for a better view.
Surya Namaskar is an excellent way to keep your body in shape and to de-stress and de-toxify your whole body.It is a complete exercise for the body and the mind.I have started doing Surya Namaskar and I must say the results are astonishing.It has helped me to loose that little bit of extra weight that I had put on,it has increased my stamina,for sure,it has helped to increase my concentration levels,I feel full of energy the whole day,I have noticed less hairfall ever since I started doing Surya Namaskar and the list is endless.If you want to stay fit and healthy without working out that much and without going to the gym,Surya Namaskar is the answer.Start doing Surya Namaskar and see your life changing for the better.