How to Do the 12 Steps of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, is a series of 12 yoga poses that are performed in the morning to greet the rising sun and celebrate the start of a new day. The poses are designed to harmonize the body, breath, mind, and spirit, and to generate energy and vitality. Surya Namaskar can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age or fitness level, as long as they follow the proper breathing pattern and alignment for each pose. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do the 12 steps of Surya Namaskar, along with their corresponding mantras and benefits.
Pranamasana (Prayer Pose): Stand at the front of your mat with your feet together and your spine straight. Bring your palms together in front of your chest in a prayer position. Relax your shoulders and breathe normally. This pose helps to calm the mind and focus the intention. The mantra for this pose is Om Mitraya Namaha, which means "Salutations to the friend of all".
Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose): Inhale and lift your arms up over your head, keeping your palms together. Gently arch your back and look up at your thumbs. This pose stretches the chest and abdomen, improves digestion and respiration, and strengthens the arms and shoulders. The mantra for this pose is Om Ravaye Namaha, which means "Salutations to the shining one".
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): Exhale and bend forward from your hips, bringing your hands down to the floor beside your feet. Try to keep your knees straight and your head close to your legs. This pose stretches the hamstrings and calves, tones the abdominal organs, and relieves stress and anxiety. The mantra for this pose is Om Suryaya Namaha, which means "Salutations to the one who induces activity".
Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose): Inhale and step your right leg back as far as possible, keeping your left leg bent and your left foot flat on the floor. Place your hands on either side of your left foot and look up at the ceiling. This pose opens the hips and groin, strengthens the legs and spine, and stimulates the reproductive system. The mantra for this pose is Om Bhanave Namaha, which means "Salutations to the one who illumines".
Parvatasana (Mountain Pose): Exhale and step your left leg back to join your right leg, forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Lift your hips up and press your heels down, creating an inverted V shape with your body. Keep your arms and legs straight and your head between your arms. This pose strengthens the arms and legs, lengthens the spine, and improves blood circulation. The mantra for this pose is Om Khagaya Namaha, which means "Salutations to the one who moves in the sky".
Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight-Limbed Salutation): Inhale and lower your knees, chest, and chin to the floor, keeping your hips slightly raised and your elbows close to your body. Touch the floor with your two hands, two feet, two knees, chest, and chin, hence the name eight-limbed salutation. This pose develops humility and surrender, strengthens the arms and chest, and prepares the body for backbends. The mantra for this pose is Om Pushne Namaha, which means "Salutations to the giver of strength".
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Exhale and slide your chest forward, lifting it up off the floor. Keep your legs together and press the tops of your feet into the mat. Roll your shoulders back and lift your head up, looking straight ahead or slightly up. This pose expands the chest and lungs, stimulates the digestive system, and enhances spinal flexibility. The mantra for this pose aa16f39245