Wednesday, July 15, 2009

HEALTHY LIVING : Know it all about Surya Namaskar

Significance in Hinduism
As the name implies, Surya Namaskara is Salutation to the Sun. The Sun or the Surya is the chief solar deity in Hinduism and is believed to be the king of all planets responsible for controlling all their movements. According to the Vedas, praising the Sun God enhances good health and prosperity. The sun is praised in the simplest way by folding one's hands in namaskara at the time of sunrise chanting the mantra 'Om Suryaye Namah'. While a variety of different procedures of salutation to the Sun God has been explained in the religious books of the Hindu society, physical prostration to Sun, showing complete surrender of oneself to God, is the main aspect of these procedures.

Practicing Surya Namaskar
The best time to practice Surya Namaskar is either at sunrise or sunset facing towards the sun. The image below comes handy to remember the sequence of asanas comprising the Surya Namaskar.

It is very important that breathing be synchronised with each posture of the Surya Namaskar. Starting with exhale in the Prayer Pose, each asana is moved into with alternate inhalation and exhalation. The asanas are ordered so that they alternately stretch the spine backward and forward. A full round of Surya namaskara is considered to be two sets of the twelve poses, the first with moving the right leg first in each pose and the second set with moving the left leg first through the series. This video on YouTube demonstrates precisely the practice of Surya Namaskar, however, without the mantras.

The following mantras are chanted in sequence with the 12 chakras.

Chakra -------------------- Mantra/Salutation

Anahata -------------------- om mitrāya namaḥ

Vishuddhi ------------------ om ravaye namaḥ

Muladhar -------------------om sūryāya namaḥ

Ajna------------------------ om bhānave namaḥ

Vishuddhi ------------------om khagāya namaḥ

Swadhisthana ---------------om puṣṇe namaḥ

Muladhara ------------------om hiraṇya garbhāya namaḥ

Vishuddhi------------------- om marīcaye namaḥ

Ajna------------------------ om ādityāya namaḥ

Muladhar------------------- om savitre namaḥ

Vishuddhi------------------- om arkāya namaḥ

Anahata ---------------------om bhāskarāya namaḥ

Watch this video to learn how to chant the mantras with correct pronunciation.

Benefits of the Surya Namaskar Poses

Pose 1 (and 12) – Improves balance, exercises shoudler, back and neck muscles and stimulates respiratory system.

Pose 2 (and 11) – improves digestion, promotes flexibility in back and hips, tones the spine.

Pose 3 (and 10) – Improves blood circulation, stretches back and leg muscles, stimulates lymphatic system.

Pose 4 (and 9) – Exercises spine, strengthens hand and wrist muscles.

Pose 5 (and 8) – relieves neck and shoulder tension, strengthens the heart

Pose 6 – increases flexibility in neck and shoulders, exercises back muscles

Pose 7 – Improves circulation to abdominal organs, improves digestion, stimulates nerves in spine

Benefits Of Surya Namaskar

  • Surya Namaskar benefits joints, ligaments and the skeletal system by improving posture, flexibility and balance.
  • Stimulates the cardio vascular system.
  • Oxygenates the blood and helps strengthen the heart.
  • Surya Namaskar also beenfits the endocrine system and enables the various endocrinal glands to function properly.
  • It relaxes and rejunevates, and alleviates tension, stress and anxiety.
  • Patients of insomnia will gain from regular practice of Surya Namaskar as it eliminates the need of depressants to fall asleep.

Things To Remember

  • Allow a gap of atleast 2 hours after your meal before practicing Surya Namaskar .
  • Do not practice surya namaskar on the floor, use a mat.
  • As with any Yoga practice session, follow Surya Namaskar by Shavasana for rest.
  • Synchronization of breathing with each asana is essential.
  • Add Surya Namaskar at the beginning of your daily yoga routine.


  1. could you please give the chart in a bigger readable size .. thanks!

  2. Surya namaskar by patanjali and other yogis say it should be practised when sun rises . For some this time is not suitable for exercise. Though it's just the 12 poses with the breathing in/out matters the most for the body and mind. Surya namaskar practised day/ evening for about more than 9 sets approx . 45 min is very useful for our body as it brings flexibility to our body, reduces stress and keeps you away from obese problems ( as it keep your hunger under control) . It's natural way to keep ourselves away from joint pains / arthritis when practised on a long run.