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Sun Salutation: How to Do Surya Namaskar Steps and Poses

05 Jun 2023

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10 min read

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Surya Namaskar Steps

"Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a beautiful sequence of yoga asanas that connects us to the energy of the sun and awakens our inner light." - Sadhguru, Indian yogi and mystic.

The ancient and revered practice of India, Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation is a dynamic sequence of yoga postures that not only pays homage to the life-giving energy of the sun but also offers a holistic workout for the body, mind, and spirit.

As the morning rays caress the Earth, awakening the world from its slumber, Surya Namaskar invites you to connect with the cosmic energy surrounding us. It is a harmonious blend of movement, breath, and mindfulness, creating a sense of vitality and serenity within.

Whether your goal is to enhance your flexibility, build strength, find mental clarity, or simply bask in the rejuvenating embrace of the sun's energy, Surya Namaskar offers a gateway to self-discovery, healing, and transformation.

As you embark on this journey, you will not only witness the physical benefits of the Sun salutation, but also experience a deep sense of connection to yourself, the world around you, and the radiant source of life itself.

So, roll out your mat, find your centre, and prepare to embark on a captivating exploration of Surya Namaskar.

Surya Namaskar Steps & Poses

Step 1: Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

Step 2: Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

Step 3: Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose)

Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

Step 5: Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskara (Knees, Chest, and Chin Pose)

Step 7: Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Step 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Inverted V Pose)

Step 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose, opposite side)

Step 10: Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose, opposite side)

Let’s dive into the details of every pose, step-by-step

Step 1: Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

  • Stand at the front of your mat with your feet together.
  • Gently join your hands together, forming a serene prayer pose in front of your heart.
  • Take a moment to centre yourself and establish a steady breath.

Step 2: Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

  • Inhale deeply while lifting your arms up and back.
  • Keep your biceps close to your ears and gently arch your back, stretching your whole body.

Step 3: Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose)

  • Exhale and bend forward from the waist.
  • Keep your spine straight as you bring your hands to the floor beside your feet or place them on your shins.
  • If necessary, bend your knees slightly to maintain a straight back.

Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

  • Inhale and step your right leg back, placing the knee on the floor.
  • Keep your left knee bent and align your hands on the floor with your left foot.
  • Gently lift your chest, arching your back and looking up.

Step 5: Dandasana (Staff Pose)

  • As you exhale, step your left leg back, aligning your body in a straight line.
  • Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor, and your shoulders directly above your wrists.
  • Activate your core muscles and strive to keep your body aligned in a straight line, extending from the top of your head down to your heels.

Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskara (Knees, Chest, and Chin Pose)

  • Lower your knees to the floor while exhaling.
  • Keep your hips slightly lifted and your toes curled under.
  • Gently bring your chest and chin to the floor, maintaining a slight forward gaze.

Step 7: Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

  • Inhale and slide your body forward, keeping your hands aligned with your chest.
  • Straighten your arms, lifting your chest off the floor while keeping your lower body grounded.
  • Maintain a gentle backward bend in your spine and engage your core.

Step 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Inverted V Shape)

  • Exhale and lift your hips up, at a level where the body is at an inverted "V" shape.
  • Press your palms and heels into the floor, lengthening your spine.
  • Relax your head and neck, gazing towards your navel or between your thighs.

Step 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose, opposite side)

  • Take a deep breath in as you gracefully move your right foot forward, positioning it between your hands. Ensure that your knee aligns directly over your ankle, creating a balance in your stance.
  • Gently lift your chest and look up, maintaining a slight backward bend.

Step 10: Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose, opposite side)

  • As you exhale calmly, gracefully bring your left foot forward, allowing it to meet your right foot.
  • Keep your palms on the floor or place them on your shins, maintaining a straight spine.
  • You can bend your knees if needed.

After completing the tenth step, you can return to Hastauttanasana (Step 2) and then to Pranamasana (Step 1) to complete one round of Surya Namaskar. Repeat the sequence for the desired number of rounds. This means that there are twelve steps in one circuit of Sun salutation.

Complementing your Surya Namaskar Yoga with music can enhance your focus and give you an immersive experience.

General Guidelines for Practising Surya Namaskar Poses

1. Warm-up: It is beneficial to warm up your body with a few stretches or gentle exercises before starting Surya Namaskar.

2. Breath awareness: Coordinate your breath with each movement. As you ascend, take a soothing inhale, and as you descend, release a tranquil exhale.

3. Alignment: Pay attention to your body alignment in each pose to avoid strain or injury. Maintain a neutral spine whenever possible.

4. Gradual progression: Start with a few rounds initially and gradually increase the number of rounds as your body becomes more comfortable.

5. Practice consistency: Regular practice yields better results. Aim for daily practice or a few times a week to experience the benefits of Surya Namaskar.

6. Modifications: Feel free to modify the poses according to your flexibility and comfort level. You can use props like blocks or bolsters to assist you.

7. Listen to your body: Honor your body's limits and avoid any pain or discomfort. If you have any existing health conditions, consult a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine.

Connect with the Cosmos through Surya Namaskar

As you continue your exploration of Surya Namaskar, remember that mastery is a lifelong pursuit. Each practice holds the potential for growth and self-discovery. Embrace the journey, embrace yourself, and embrace the radiant power of the sun within.

Surya Namaskar is just the beginning of an incredible journey into the vast world of Yogic practices. With a maestro's guidance, you can be introduced to other potent Yogic practices that expand your horizons and deepen your understanding of yoga as a holistic path to well-being.

From invigorating vinyasa flows to gentle yin yoga, from the power of Kundalini to the serenity of restorative practices, the maestro will curate a diverse and comprehensive yoga journey tailored to your unique needs and aspirations. Explore online Yoga classes to reap the benefits of this ancient art from the comfort of your home.

May the sun's warmth and wisdom guide you, on and off the mat. May your Surya Namaskar practice illuminate your body, mind, and spirit.

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