read The 12 Steps of Surya Namaskar

The 12 Steps of Surya Namaskar

12 steps of Surya Namaskar

Surya Namaskar is also known as Sun Salutation. It has many health benefits. If you wish to learn how to do Surya Namaskar, then check out this step-by-step guide. 

Steps of Surya Namaskar With Names

Also read: Beginner’s guide to Surya Namaskar

Position 1: Pranamasana (Prayer pose)

Pranamasana (Prayer pose)

Steps to do Pranamasana

1. Walk to the front of your mat with your hands at either side of your body and your spine erect 

2. Keep your feet together and stand upright

3. Inhaling, lift your arms and take Namaskar mudra such that they join at the sternum, which is the front of the chest

4. Maintaining your breath, slowly start to relax your body. Begin from the top of your head and take awareness through the different parts of your body. Finally, take the awareness to the heart’s center and visualize a brilliant rising red sun radiating throughout your body and mind, healing and enlivening it

Being established in a state of calmness and concentration, this Surya Namaskar step prepares your body and mind for the practice to be performed.

Awareness

  • Physical: On the chest area
  • Spiritual: On Anahata or heart chakra

Mantra

  • “Aum Mitraya Namaha”: Salutations to the friend of all
  • Bija Mantra: “Om Hraam”

Position 2: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arm pose)

Hasta Uttanasana (Raised arm pose)

Steps to do Hasta Uttanasana

1. Inhaling, slowly raise your arms from the front of your body

2. Stretch both arms upwards, keeping the shoulder-width apart and close to your ears

3. Now, slowly start pushing your chest forward and open up your shoulders as your head, arms, and upper trunk gradually start to bend backward

4. Feel the activation of the abdominal muscles as you lift from the sternum

5. Make sure that you do not push your hips forward to deepen your bend. Only the upper part of the body needs to be in motion

6. Hold this Surya Namaskar pose for three seconds while retaining your breath

Awareness

  • Physical: On the stretch of the abdomen and expansion of your lungs
  • Spiritual: On Vishuddhi or throat chakra

Mantra 

  • “Om Ravaye Namaha”: Salutations to the radiant one
  • Bija Mantra: “Om Hreem”

Position 3: Padahastasana (Hands to leg pose)

Padahastasana (Hands to leg pose)

Steps to do Padahastasana

1. Exhaling, slowly start to bring your hands closer towards your legs on the floor

2. Engage the abdomen and bend forward, hinging from your hips. Keep the spine straight such that it forms a 90° angle with the legs

3. Hands will remain close to your ears; now, slowly place them on the floor, on either side of your feet

4. Beginners may choose to bend their knees as much as needed to place their hands on the floor. Others may opt to keep their legs straight, bringing their head closer towards the shin

5. Suspend the breath and hold for three seconds

6. Avoid bending forward fully if you suffer from any back condition.

Awareness

  • Physical: On the back and pelvic region
  • Spiritual: On the Swadhisthana or sacral chakra

Mantra

  • ‘’Om Suryaya Namaha’’: Salutations to the one who initiates all activity
  • Bija Mantra: “Om Hroom”

Position 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

Steps to do Ashwa Sanchalanasana

1. Having placed both the palms firmly on the floor while inhaling, extend your right leg back as far as possible. Grasp the floor with your toes.

2. At the same time, the left knee bends, and the left foot is pressing onto the floor 

3. Bend your right knee and keep it rested on the floor

4. Push your arms into the floor and let your torso, chest, and head lift. Arch your spine and keep your gaze upwards and balance your body.

5. The weight of your body is supported by both your palms, right knee, toes, and the left foot on the floor 

6.Retain your breath for three seconds

*Note: Anyone with knee or ankle problems should refrain from taking a full stretch in this pose.

Awareness

  • Physical: On the stretch from the thigh through the lower back and on the eyebrow center while balancing
  • Spiritual: On Ajna or third eye chakra

Mantra

  • ‘’Om Bhanave Namaha’’: Salutations to the one who illuminates
  • Bija mantra: “Om Hraim”

Position 5: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog pose)

 Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog pose)

Steps to do Adho Mukha Svanasana

1. Keep both your palms fixed firmly on the floor. Exhale and bring your left foot backward in line with your right foot. 

2. At the same time, raise your buttocks towards the sky and lower the head between your arms

3. Keep pushing your hips upwards and engage your abdomen, slightly pulling it inwards in an attempt to bring your thighs closer to it 

4. The legs and arms will straighten in the final position with the heels and palms pushing into the floor to form an inverted V. As a beginner, you may choose to either keep your knees bent and heels lifted off the floor.

5. Bring your gaze towards your legs or the navel button 

6. Sustain the posture for three seconds

*Note: People suffering from spinal or abdominal injuries, frozen shoulders, or arthritis should not practice the intense stretch.

Awareness

  • Physical: On the stretch in the back of your leg, shoulders, and back
  • Spiritual: On the Vishuddhi or sacral chakra

Mantra

  • ‘‘Om Khagaya Namaha’’: Salutations to the one who moves quickly in the sky
  • Bija mantra: “Om Hraum”

Position 6: Ashtanga Namaskarasana (Eight-limb salutation)

Ashtanga Namaskarasana (Eight-limb salutation)

Steps to do Ashtanga Namaskarasana

1. Keep the hands and feet in place 

2. Retaining the breath, lower your knees to the floor. Later, your chest and chin come downwards towards the floor. 

3. The hips will remain elevated in the sky. The head, chin, chest, knees, and toes touch the floor.

4. Hold this posture for three seconds

*Note: This step of Surya Namaskar is not advisable for people with serious back problems, high blood pressure, or heart conditions.

Awareness 

  • Physical: On the arch in the lower back and abdominal region
  • Spiritual: On the Manipura chakra or solar plexus

Mantra

  • ‘Om Pushne Namaha”: Salutations to the nourisher and giver of strength
  • Bija mantra: “Om Hrah”

Position 7: Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

Steps to do Bhujangasana

1. Keep the hands and feet in the same place

2. Inhaling, slide your chest forward, lowering your hips to the ground 

3. Pull your elbows into the midline and straighten your arms a little as you raise your head to look up and arch your back 

4. Roll your shoulders backward and keep pushing the chest upward and forward

5. Keep your knees, toes, and heels together 

6. Stay in this posture for three seconds, retaining the breath

*Note: People having peptic ulcer, hernia, and hyperthyroidism should avoid this.

Awareness

  • Physical: On the spine
  • Spiritual: On the Swadhisthana or sacral chakra

Mantra

  • ‘‘Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namaha”: Salutations to the Golden cosmic self
  • Bija mantra: “Om Hraam”

Position 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog pose)

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog pose)

Steps to do Adho Mukha Svanasana

1. Coming up from Bhujangasana, turn your toes out such that they grip the floor firmly

2. Keeping your arms on the floor, exhale and push into them  

3. Lift your buttocks again into Adho Mukha Svanasana, as done above in position 5

4. The arms will straighten out with the heels coming closer to the floor and hips, pushing towards the sky. Keep your gaze towards your navel button or the toes.

5. Sustain the posture for three seconds

Awareness

  • Physical: On the stretch in the back of your leg, shoulders, and back
  • Spiritual: On the Vishuddhi or sacral chakra

Mantra

  • ‘‘Om Marichaye Namaha’’: Salutations to the Lord of Dawn
  • Bija mantra: “Om Hreem”

Position 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

Steps to do Ashwa Sanchalanasana

1. Again, without any movement of your palms, slowly inhale as you bring your right leg forward

2. Place the foot inside your hands in a way that the right leg is adjacent to the right palm

3. Arch your spine and look up

4. Hold this posture, retaining your breath for three seconds

Awareness

  • Physical: On the stretch from the thigh through the lower back, and on the eyebrow center while balancing
  • Spiritual: On Ajna or third eye chakra

Mantra

  • ‘’Om Adityaya Namaha’’: Salutations to the son of Aditi, the cosmic Mother
  • Bija mantra: “Om Hroom”

Position 10: Hastapadasana (Hands to leg pose)

Hastapadasana (Hands to leg pose)

Steps to do Hastapadasana

1. Without changing the position of your hands, exhale and bring your left foot forward 

2. Straighten your legs; hands will continue resting on the floor. Try bringing your stomach closer to your thighs.

3. For variations, refer to position 3

4. Hold this posture for three seconds as you suspend your breath

Awareness

  • Physical: On the back and pelvic region
  • Spiritual: On the Swadhisthana or sacral chakra

Mantra

  • ‘Om Savitre Namaha’’: Salutations to the stimulating power of The Sun
  • Bija Mantra: “Om Hraim”

Position 11: Hasta Uttanasana (raised arms pose)

Hasta Uttanasana (raised arms pose)

Steps to do Hasta Uttanasana

1. Bring your arms in line with your ears and stretch forward, elongating the spine 

2. Inhaling, raise your torso upwards and backward. Use your abdominal muscles to lift.

3. Keep raising the arms above the head until the entire upper body is in a reverse stretch like in position 2

4. Bend the arms, head, and torso backward. Hold this posture for three seconds. Retain your breath.

Awareness

  • Physical: On the stretch of the abdomen and expansion of your lungs
  • Spiritual: On Vishuddhi or throat chakra

Mantra

  • ‘‘Om Arkaya Namaha’’: Salutations to the one who is worthy of praise
  • Bija mantra: “Om Hraum”

Position 12: Pranamasana (prayer pose)

Pranamasana (prayer pose)

Steps to do Pranamasana

1. Exhaling, bring your torso back to its normal position. Relax your head and neck.

2. Your hands will come down to form the Namaskar mudra

3. Assume the final pose and relax as demonstrated in position 1

Awareness

  • Physical: On the chest area
  • Spiritual: On Anahata or heart chakra

Mantra

  • Om Bhaskaraya Namaha’’: Salutations to the one who leads us to enlightenment
  • Bija mantra: “Om Hrah”

These 12 poses of Surya Namaskar are practiced twice to complete one round. Positions 1- 12 constitute half a cycle and are repeated with the left leg. Remember to rest in Savasana after the practice of Surya Namaskar to relax the muscles and allow the heartbeat to return to normal.

Also read: Useful Tips for Yoga Beginners

You are now all set for the day! Practice this activity daily to reap the benefits of Surya Namaskar.

References
1. Yogendra H. Yoga for all. Rupa Publication. 2018
2. Swami Saraswati S. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha. Yoga Publications Trust. 1969.

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