12 Surya Namaskar Poses and Their Benefits

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Surya Namaskar

Surya Namaskar, otherwise known as sun salutation, is a sequence of twelve powerful yoga poses. It is a complete workout for your whole physical system, which is said to have an immensely positive effect on the body and brain. Apart from the health benefits, Surya Namaskar also serves as an opportunity to show our gratitude to the Sun. It is best when done in the early morning on an empty stomach. Each round of sun salutation contains 2 sets, and each set is comprised of 12 yoga poses. When done in the right way, these poses can totally change your life. Doing Surya Namaskar at sunrise may revitalize your body and freshen up your mind; in the afternoon, it gives you instant energy and, in the dusk, relaxes your mind and body. Practicing it regularly may improve the size of solar plexus and enhances your creativity and intuitive abilities too.

The steps of Surya Namaskar poses and their benefits are as follows:

1. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

Pranamasana
  • Stand erect on the yoga mat, keep your feet together, and balance your weight on both the feet.
  • Expand your chest and loosen up your shoulders.
  • As you inhale, lift the arms up and as you breathe out, bring your palms before the chest in prayer position.

Benefits

  • It usually relaxes your body and mind.
  • It keeps you calm by reducing stress and anxiety.

 2. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

Hasta Uttanasana
  • Breathe in and slowly raise the hands up and back.
  • Keep the biceps close to your ears, bend the trunk and head backward to form a slight curvy position. 
  • The goal is to stretch the whole body.

Benefits

  • It warms up the body, strengthens the spine, reduces backache, and stretches shoulders. 
  • It also improves digestion.
  • It stretches and tones the abdominal muscles.

3. Hastapadasana (Hand to Foot Pose)

Hastapadasana
  • While breathing out, bend forward from the waist and keep the spine erect.
  • Bring your hands down to the floor beside the feet. 
  • Your head should be in contact with the knees. 

Benefits

  • It strengthens the muscles of your back, revitalizes the nervous system, and maintains proper blood circulation.
  • It tones the abdominal organs, and the spine becomes flexible.
  • It eases menstrual problems in women.

4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

Ashwa Sanchalanasana
  • As you inhale, push your left leg back, as back as possible.
  • Bring your right leg forward and place them between your hands.
  • Arch back and lift your chin to look up.

Benefits

  • It strengthens the knee and ankles.
  • It opens up the groin and hips, also tones the kidney and liver.
  • It stretches the chest muscles and thereby enhances lung capacity.
  • It stretches the spine and therefore improves the flexibility of the back.

 5. Kumbhakasana (Plank Pose)

Kumbhakasana
  • Breathe in, bring the right leg back, and make sure that the whole body is in a straight line like a pushup position. 
  • Bear your body weight on your hands and toes.

Benefits

  • It strengthens the muscles of the arms, wrists, and shoulders.
  • It tones and stretches the core muscles.
  • It aids in building stamina.

6. Ashtanga Namaskara (The Salute with Eight Parts)

Ashtanga Namaskara
  • Bend your knees to the floor and exhale.
  • Lower your chin and chest to the floor.
  • The eight body parts chest, chin, knees, hands, and feet should touch the floor.

Benefits

  • It strengthens the chest and its muscles.
  • It strengthens the muscles of the hands and legs and increases the flexibility of the back and spine. 

7. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Bhujangasana
  • Slide forward and lift your chest up to form cobra pose. 
  • Keep your elbows bent and shoulders away from the ears.
  • Look up. As you inhale, gently push your chest forward; as you exhale, make a gentle effort to push your navel down.

Benefits

  • It improves blood circulation throughout the body.
  • It relieves back pain and gives good flexibility to the spine.
  • It tones the abdomen and firms the buttocks.

8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Breathe out, raise the hips and the tail bone up and back, chest facing downwards in an inverted ‘V’ position.
  • Keep your head down and shoulder back; try to push your heels on the ground.

Benefits

  • It increases blood circulation to the head.
  • It improves digestive health and energizes the body.
  • It strengthens the shoulder, abdomen, arms, legs, and spine.
  • It relieves headaches, back pain, and insomnia.

9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

Ashwa Sanchalanasana
  • Inhale and bring the left foot forward in between the two hands.
  • Bring the right knee to the floor, simultaneously press the hips down and look up.

Benefits

  • It strengthens the knee and ankles.
  • It opens up the groin and hips, also tones the kidney and liver.
  • It stretches the chest muscles and thereby enhances lung capacity.
  • It stretches the spine and therefore improves the flexibility of the back.

10. Hastapadasana (Hand to Foot Pose)

Hastapadasana
  • Breathe out and bring the right foot front and bend forward.
  • Place your palms on the floor and straighten your knees.
  • Keep breathing, and try to touch your knees by the nose.

Benefits

  • It strengthens the muscles of your back, revitalizes the nervous system, and maintains proper blood circulation.
  • It tones the abdominal organs, and the spine becomes flexible.
  • It eases menstrual problems in women.

11. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

Hasta Uttanasana
  • Breathe in and roll the spines up. 
  • Raise your hands up and slightly bend backward, pushing your hips a little bit outward.  
  • Ensure that your biceps are beside your ears. 

Benefits

  • It warms up the body, strengthens the spine, reduces backache, and stretches shoulders. 
  • It also improves digestion.
  • It stretches and tones the abdominal muscles.

12. Pranamasana (Prayer pose)

Pranamasana
  • As you breathe out, straighten your body, then bring your arms in front of your chest to prayer position. 
  • Relax in this pose and observe the sensations of your body. 

Benefits

  • It usually relaxes your body and mind.
  • It keeps you calm by reducing stress and anxiety.

Benefits of Surya Namaskar

  1. Doing Surya Namaskar in the fast pace serves as an excellent cardiovascular workout (1).
  2. It also helps to reduce excess weight and increases flexibility (2). 
  3. Moreover, it helps to strengthen your whole body and tones the muscles (3).
  4. It makes you stay healthier and younger.
  5. It improves blood circulation throughout the body.
  6. It reduces anxiety and stress.
  7. It promotes regular menstrual cycle in women who have irregular periods.
  8. It helps us by providing better physical and mental health.
  9. Doing it in the right way with proper instructions will give a lot of benefits.

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