Surya Namaskar - An Ultimate Solution
Surya Namaskar comes from the Vedic age, the great sages and teachers of the past, handed the sequence down through the ages to their disciples.
It is not seen as a traditional form of hatha yoga because it was added much later. In modern yoga practice, it is often used as a preparation or warm-up for the series of asanas you intend to do.
Surya Namaskar can be considered a complete practice as it includes asana (postures), pranayama(breath), mantra chanting and meditation. It is a sequence of asanas that when performed by experienced practitioners, flows together from one asana to the next. The sequence is usually done 3 to 5 rounds, enough to warm the muscles and mind from wherever you are coming from in your day.
The optimal time to perform Surya Namaskar is at sunrise as for one reason is the name; in Sanskrit Surya is sun and Namaskar is salutation. So you are performing a sun salutation and therefore is traditional to do when the sun is coming up.
It is also beneficial to do at sunrise as this is the most tranquil time of the day when everything seems to be stirring from their slumber. If it is done in the open air facing the sun you will gain the most benefit from the practice, as you will rise in yourself from the dark hours and feel your energy surge through you, awakening your being for the coming day.
Surya Namaskar can be performed anytime as long as the stomach is empty and if you prefer to do at sunset, will help stimulate your digestive system.
Starting slow to gradually warm and stretch the muscles and then evolving into a fast flowing sequence by the 5th round.
The sequence is as followed:
Samasthiti, feet are together with all muscles of the body engaged to stop the swaying of your limbs. Standing tall and straight like a mountain, you may close your eyes and become aware of your body, and still your mind for the coming activity. Feel the earth’s energy rise up through your feet, all through your body to the crown.
- Urdhva Hastasana - raising your arms to the sky, feeling elevated from the ground.
- Uttanasna - bending forward with knees on shins
- Uttanasna b - concave back.
- Jumping back into Chaturanga Dandasana - keeping your elbows touching your sides. It resembles a plank position with bent arms.
- Urdha Mukha Svanasana - looking up and bending your back in to resemble an upward facing dog.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana - pushing sitting bones to the sky, using your inner thighs to lift yourself up, spine is straight. Resembling a downward facing dog. Staying for 5 breaths.
- Looking front and jump forward between your palms into Uttanasana b.
- Uttanasana - bending forward.
- Urdhva Hastasana, raising your arms up to the sky.
- Release your arms to Samasthiti.
This is one round of Surya Namaskar and can be completed with a single breath for each posture which will help in the flow of the sequence.