Monday, August 25, 2008

Yoga: Surya Namaskar

The Surya Namaskar , or the Sun Salutation is a sequence of 12 positions performed as one continuous exercise and done at the start of every asana. This prepares your body for the other asanas. Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing. Practised daily it will bring great flexibility to your spine and joints and trim your waist.

Position One: Stand straight. Bring your feet together and hold your arms by your sides. Take a deep breath and begin the Surya Namaskar. Exhale as you put your palms together at chest level. This first stance, called the Prayer Pose, centres your body. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed.

Position Two: Next, inhale as you stretch your arms up and arch back from the waist, pushing the hips out, legs straight. Keep your elbows straight, and align your arms with your ears. Keep your knees straight, but do not lock them. Relax your neck.

Position Three: Exhale as you stretch forward and down into the third position. Place your hands on the ground so that your fingers and toes form a straight line. Bend your knees if necessary, but keep your hips held high.

Position Four: Inhaling, bring the left (or right) leg back and place the knee on the floor. Arch back and look up, lifting your chin.

Position Five: Retaining the breath, bring the other leg back and support your weight on hands and toes. Keep your head and body in line and look at the floor between your hands.

Position Six: Exhaling, lower your knees, then your chest and then your forehead, keeping your hips up and your toes curled under.

Position Seven: Inhaling, lower your hips, point your toes and bend back. Keep legs together and shoulders down. Look up and back.

Position Eight: Exhaling, curl your toes under, raise your hips and pivot into an inverted "V" shape. Try to push your heels and head down and keep your shoulders back.

Position Nine: Inhaling, step forwards and place the left (or right) foot between your hands. Rest the other knee on the floor and look up.

Position Ten: Exhaling bring the other leg forward and bend down from the waist keeping your palm as in position three.

Position Eleven: Inhaling, stretch you arms forward, then up and back over your head and bend back slowly from the waist, as in position two.

Position Twelve: Exhaling, gently come back to an upright position and bring your arms down by your sides.

Benefits of Surya Namaskar

The complete round of 12 positions is highly beneficial to all the systems of the body, especially the endocrine, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems.

Ventilates and tones up your lungs and glands, oxygenates the blood; cures asthma, diabetes, kidney ailments, and bronchitis, and normalises the menstrual cycle.

Removes hypertension, palpitation and tones up the nervous system by stretching and bending the spinal column.

Improves memory and stimulates the activity of the endocrine glands, particularly thyroid.

Refreshes the skin by evacuating toxic products through the skin.

Tones up and strengthens the muscle structure of the whole body in general and that of the neck, shoulders, arms, wrist, back, thighs, calves, ankles and abdominal region, in particular. It removes excessive flesh from the hip and the abdominal region.

Increases resistance to disease and restores your vigour and vitality.
Thus the Surya Namaskar is a very important asana and a must for all.

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