The 12 Steps of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)

Surya namaskar or ‘the sun salutation’ dates its origin back to the 20th century. This modern yoga asana is performed in 12 poses or steps.
Besides being a great cardiovascular workout, Surya Namaskar is also known to have an immensely positive impact on the body and mind.

Surya namaskar can be practiced by people of any age group and the best time to perform this yoga asana is at sunrise, however it can be perform in the evening as well.

Here are the 12 steps of surya namaskar.

1. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

Pranamasana | HealthInsta

Stand at the edge of your mat, keep your feet together and balance your weight equally on both the feet. Expand your chest and relax your shoulders. As you breathe in, lift both arms up from the sides, and as you exhale, bring your palms together in front of the chest in prayer position.

2. Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

Hastauttanasana | HealthInsta

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.

3. Hastapadasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)

Hastapadasana | HealthInsta

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.

4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

Ashwa Sanchalanasana | HealthInsta

Bend your knees slightly, so that the palms can rest on the floor beside your feet. Take a deep breath, bring your right knee towards the right side of your chest and stretch your left leg backward. Raise your head and look forward.

5. Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana | HealthInsta

Inhale and bring your right leg back as well. Now both your hands will be right under your shoulders. Ensure that your body is parallel to the ground.

6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight Limb Pose)

Ashtanga Namaskara | HealthInsta

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 posterior a little bit. The two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and chin (eight parts of the body) should touch the floor.

7. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Bhujangasana | HealthInsta

Slide forward and raise the chest up into the Cobra pose. You may keep your elbows bent in this pose with the shoulders away from the ears. Look up at the ceiling.

8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Svanasana | HealthInsta

Keep your palms and feet where they are. Exhale and gently lift your hips, so that the body forms an inverted ‘V’. Straighten your elbows and knees. Look toward your navel.

9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

Ashwa Sanchalanasana | HealthInsta

After performing Adho Mukha Svanasana, go back to Ashwa Sanchalanasana by bringing your right foot forward. Keep your left leg stretched behind you and look forward.

10. Hastapadasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)

Hastapadasana | HealthInsta

Breathing out, bring the left foot forward. Keep the palms on the floor. You may bend the knees, if necessary.

11. Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

Hastauttanasana | HealthInsta

Breathing in, roll the spine up. Raise the hands up and bend backward a little bit, pushing the hips slightly outward.

12. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

Pranamasana | HealthInsta

This is the last step. Breathe out and stand straight in a relaxed manner. Lower the arms and hold your palms in front of your chest. This marks the end of the first set of Surya Namaskar.

To reap the maximum benefits of surya namaskar, perform 12 sets of these 12 asanas every day, that is six rounds on the right leg and six rounds on the left leg.

Precautions

People suffering from high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis and during the onset of menstruation, surya namaskar should not be practiced.

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