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Surya Namaskar (Salutation to the Sun)
It is considered as the best exercise for human body. Surya Namaskar consists of important Yogasanas and Pranayama. The Pranayama and thus its advantages are skillfully incorporated in Surya Namaskar. The Mantras (Bija Mantras), which are chanted before practicing are also very useful.

In all this Surya Namaskar is an appreciated exercise among people of all ages from kids to old age people. Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is the best way to burn the calories and reduce weight. It is often recommended for obesity.

In all one Namaskar includes 10 different positions, they are :

Position 1:

Inhale and maintain the position as shown in figure in standing position with hands joined together near chest, feet together and toes touching each other.
Position 2:

Exhale and bend forward in the waist till palms touch the ground in line with the toes. Don't bend knees while performing. At first you may find it difficult to attain the ideal position but try to bend as much as possible without bending in knees.

Dos
  • While exhaling bend forward in the waist
  • Palms touching the ground, fingers pointing forward, thumbs at 90 degree angle
  • Legs straight
  • Try to touch the forehead to the knees
  • Relax the neck
Donts
  • Do not bend the knees.
  • Do not keep the neck tense.
Position 3:

Inhale and take the left leg back with left toes on the floor, press the waist downwards and raise the neck, stretch the chest forward and push shoulders backwards. Keep the right leg and both the hands in the same position. Keep the right leg folded.

Do’s
  • Take the left leg backwards and touch the knee to the floor, keeping the toes erect.
  • The knee of the right leg will be bent
  • The knee of the left leg should touch the ground
  • Drop the waist/ hips towards the floor
  • Gaze is upwards, both arms are straight
Don’ts
  • Do not bend the neck forward.
  • Do not bend the elbows.
Position 4:

Hold the breath and raise the knee of left leg. Take the right leg backwards and keep it close to the left leg. Straighten both the legs and both hands. Keep the neck straight and site fixed. Keep both the toes erect. Take care that the neck, spine, thighs and the feet are in a straight line.

Do’s
  • Take the right leg back and place it beside the left leg, keeping the toes erect
  • Keep the body in one straight line plank position
  • Keep the arms straight
  • Gaze forward
Don’ts
  • Do not bend the arms
  • Do not look towards the floor
  • Do not drop the hips/waist towards the floor
  • Do not stick the buttocks into the air
  • Do not bend the knees
Position 5:

Exhaling bend both the hands in elbows and touch forehead on the ground, touch the knees on the ground, keep both the elbows close to chest. The forehead, chest, both the palms, both the toes, knees should touch the ground and rest of the body not touching the floor. Since only eight parts rest on the ground , it is called 'Ashtanga' position.

Do’s
  • Bring the body towards the floor placing the 8 parts on the floor: Toes, knees, chest, palms, and forehead
  • Keep the hands close to the body, next to the shoulders
  • Keep the elbows pointed to the sky and close in to the body
Don’ts
  • Do not touch the thighs, hips, waist or abdomen to the floor
  • Do not touch the chin to the floor
  • Do not let the elbows fall away from the body
Position 6:

Inhale and straighten the elbows, stretch the shoulders upwards, press the waist downwards but dont bend the arms. Keep the knees and toes on the floor. Push the neck backwards and site upwards.

Do’s
  • Push the upper body upwards so that the arms are straight
  • Keep the fingers pointed forwards, palms on the ground, thumbs at 90 degree angle
  • Open the chest, pull the shoulders downwards
  • Drop the head and neck backwards and gaze upwards towards the sky
  • Keep the heels, legs and knees together
  • Keep the toes erect
Don’ts
  • Do not let the legs or heels be apart
  • Do not bend the elbows
  • Do not hunch the shoulders towards the ears
Position 7:

Hold the breath, bend the neck downwards and press the chin in the throat, push the body backwards and touch the heels on the ground, raise the waist upwards, do not move the palms on the floor.

Do’s
  • Push the body upward so the buttocks and waist are raised into the air, leaving the body in an Inverted V position
  • Take the head and chin towards the chest
  • Try to touch the heels to the floor
Don’ts
  • Do not bend the legs in the knees
  • Do not bend the arms
Position 8:

Hold the breath as in position 7, bring the right leg in the front and place it in between the hands like in position 3 but instead of left leg in the front here take right leg and place left leg in the back with left knee and toes on the ground.

Do’s
  • Take the right leg forward and place it between the hands
  • The knee of the right leg will be bent
  • The knee of the left leg should touch the ground
  • Drop the waist/ hips towards the floor
  • Gaze is upwards, both arms are straight
Don’ts
  • Do not bend the neck forward.
  • Do not bend the elbows.
Position 9:

Exhale and bring the left leg forwards as in the position 2 and place it in between both the arms.

Do’s
  • Take the left leg forward and place it beside the right
  • Palms touching the ground, fingers pointing forward, thumbs at 90 degree angle
  • Legs straight
  • Try to touch the forehead to the knees
  • Relax the neck
Don’ts
  • Do not bend the knees.
  • Do not keep the neck tense.
Position 10:

Inhaling start getting up and attain the position as in position 1.

Therapeutic advantages:

Surya namaskar is a combination of yogasana and pranayama. It has several; advantages
  • It is a complete exercise for the whole body. Those who practice regularly get abundant energy and stamina for the whole body
  • It helps provide strength to the back and also thighs and leg muscles
  • It helps increase circulation of blood to the brain and also helps cure arthritic pain, weight loss and tones up the digestive system.
  • Helps provide concentration and eliminate mental depression and anxiety. It is believed that the all powerful sun god would bestow good health, happiness and enlightenment on those who offer prayers to him.
 
 
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