Surya Namaskaram

Surya Namaskara (pronounced SOOR-yah nah-mahs-KAHrah) known in English as Sun Salutation (lit. “salute to the sun”), is a common sequence of Hatha yoga asanas.

The physical base of the practice links together twelve asanas in a dynamically performed series. These asanas are ordered so that they alternately stretch the spine backwards and forwards. When performed in the usual way, each asana is moved into with alternate inhalation and exhalation (except for the sixth asana where the breath is held in external suspension). A full round of Surya namaskara is considered to be two sets of the twelve poses with a change in the second set to moving the opposite leg first through the series.

Some proponents of the use of Surya namaskara as part of the modern yoga tradition prefer to perform it at sunrise, which the orthodox consider to be the most ‘spiritually favorable’ time of the day.

Surya Namaskara improves the breathing capacity and fills one with the feeling of endurance and exhilaration.

Benefits of Surya Namaskara:

  1. The to and fro movements of Surya Namaskara renders flexibility to the spine and the large muscle groups of the body
  2. It reduces the abdominal fat
  3. It helps all the body systems
    1. heart and circulatory system
    2. lungs
    3. nervous system
    4. digestive systems
    5. and endocrine organs


The asanas of Surya Namaskaram –

Sculpture depicting 12 asanas of the Surya Namaskar at Terminal T3 at IGIA Airport, New Delhi, India, created by Nikhil Bhandari


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