Suryanamaskar is one of the most famous sequence of asanas that comes to mind when someone says the word "Yoga", and is personally my favourite. I love Suryanamaskar because it can instantly make you feel like you've worked out for a good half an hour when really, all you've done is 12 rounds of this sequence!
Suryanamaskar has a number of benefits :
Full body stretch
For women : Regularises menstrual cycle
Regulates the breath and the mind, calming both the body and mind.
Energises the body.
Massages the internal organs.
Tones muscles, builds strength.
All of the above benefits can be expected when practiced regularly and with appropriate breathing.
I've mentioned above that Suryanamaskar can result in weight loss, and while that's true, it can also help in weight gain. Don't be put off by this! What I mean is, weight loss is something that's difficult for a lot of people and is often talked about. On the other hand, weight gain is equally difficult but is not as frequently discussed. I struggled with gaining weight for years before I started yoga, but currently I am at the ideal weight for my height. (I will talk about my weight gain journey in another upcoming post)
Since this sequence helps strengthen and tone your muscles, if you find yourself a few kilos underweight, then leave it to Suryanamaskar to bring you upto your ideal weight!
Suryanamaskar restores or brings the balance that both your mind and body need, which is why I love it so much.
The key to a good Suryanamaskar is the right breathing. The aim is to do as many Suryanamaskars as possible WITHOUT losing your breath or experiencing an increase in heart rate.
This makes Half a round of a Suryanamaskar. When we started we took the right leg back and returned with first bringing the left foot forward. To complete the other half, take the LEFT foot back and return with the right foot forward first. This completes 1 Round! You can do anywhere between 3-12 rounds on an everyday basis.
1. Pranam / Prayer Pose :
In this pose, you want to centre your hands held in prayer with your chest and exhale.
2. Hasta Uttanasana :
Breathing in, raise your hands straight above your head, gently arching the back to engage the hips and the hamstrings.
3. Padahastasana : Head to the knee pose
Breathe OUT, using the hips, bend forward with a flat back, to take your fingers to the ground. If you can't reach the ground with your legs straight, bend the knees slightly to do so.
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana :
Breathe IN, take the right leg back in alignment with the body, to rest the right knee of the mat. Slide your fingers back along the sides of the body to look up at the ceiling.
5. Parvottasna / Mountain Pose :
Breathe OUT, take the left foot back to meet the right foot and push into your palms to create the shape of a mountain.
6. Ashtanga Namaskara :
Breathe IN & OUT, from mountain come to plank, rest the knees on the ground first and then bring the chest and chin to the floor in between the hands. If you are unable to do this, simply lying flat on the stomach between the hands works too.
7. Bhujanagasna / Cobra Pose :
Breathe IN, push the body between the hands and rise to come to cobra pose. The goal here is not to straighten the elbows but provide a good back stretch, elbows pointing backward.
8. Parvottasana / Mountain Pose :
Now we move backwards in the sequence, breathing OUT, firm the base of the feet, lift the hips up to flow back into mountain.
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana :
Breathing IN, bring the left foot forward, between both hands, right knee rests on the mat.
10. Padahastasana : Head to the knee pose
Breathe OUT, keeping the left foot forward, take the right knee off the mat to straighten the left leg, bring the right leg forward between the hands, so that both feet are together.
11. Hasta Uttanasana :
Breathing IN, first raise the head up to look forward, then raise the hands forward and finally up above the head, all the while not rounding the back.
12. Pranamasana / Prayer Pose :
Breathe OUT, return to standing prayer pose.
Happy Sun Saluting!