The popularity of Sun Salutations has taken a firm grasp on Western culture. If you haven’t started practicing daily Sun Salutations by now, you better get yourself a Yoga mat ASAP! The sequence of poses that are included in Surya Namaskars offer many great benefits to the people that practice. This series of postures is proven to bring vitality to the practitioner! In-fact, Sun Sals are referred to as a “concentrated Yoga potion” in the book The Complete Yoga Book by James Hewitt, meaning that many great benefits of Yoga can be attained just by practicing this series of postures. So, if you wanna try them out for yourself, here, I offer a quick guide:
Side note: begin by doing two cycles everyday, traditionally it is advocated to do twelve cycles each day — but you can work yourself up to that in due time (I myself am starting with two cycles each day, this new year, and adding two more each month, so by June I’ll be up to the desired twelve!).
Starting posture: Mountain Pose. Stand up straight, palms together to the right of your heart with feet firmly rooted on the ground. Make all four corners of the feet, and all of the toes, charge at the ground with energy. Let that energy flow all the way up, past the crown of the head
Position two: slight back bend. Bring hands up over the head and reach them up and back, with a slight backward bend.
Position three: forward bend. Bring hands forward to reach down, or touch the floor. If possible* keep the legs straight, lift up the thighs up, and bring the face to the knees. *If your body doesn’t want to take it that far then listen to it and bend your knees as your body requests.
Position four: hands on the floor and one leg back. Moving out of the forward-bend bring one leg back, grip the floor with the fingers and toes, and lift the head up.
Position five: Wheelbarrow Pose, aka Plank. Bring the other leg back to meet the first. Support the entire body on just the hands and toes. The body should be in a straight line from the crown of the head to the heels, while the arms are pushing the ground away.
Position six: Eight Parts Posture/Sastangganamasker. Tightening the abs while lowering the chest to the floor. Then let the knees and forehead touch the ground, but keep the butt raised and elbows high.
Position seven: Cobra Pose/Bhujangasana. Bringing the pelvis to the ground, let the tops of the feet carry the weight as the arms straighten. The shoulder should be down and the fingers and the palms should be pushing the ground away.
Position eight: downward dog. While pushing the ground away in Cobra Pose, use the core muscles to lift the hips high — stomach should be pulling back in towards the spine. The head comes loose between the arms and the legs are straight. If the heels can touch the ground then great — if not, that’s okay too.
Position nine: keep the hands on the floor and one leg forward. Lifting the head and chest forward bring one foot between the hands.
Position ten: forward bend. Bring the other foot to meet the first between the hands and lift the hips into a forward bend.
Position eleven: stand up straight and slight back bend. Bring the hands up, stand up straight, then continue to reach the hands up and back, into a slight backward bend.
Final position: Mountain Pose. Lower the arms and stand up straight, palms together to the right of the heart and feet firmly rooted on the ground.
This completes a cycle of Surya Namaskars.
This series of postures is simple to do yet super beneficial. It is designed to tone the entire body, and bring youthful suppleness to the spine. It is recommended for anyone and everyone that wants to maintain a healthy and fit body well into old age!