Kareena Kapoor swears by it. As do Rani Mukherji and Sridevi. And a gazillion other celebrities!
The Surya Namaskar, a sequence of 12 yoga poses that flow into each other with rhythmic breathing, is touted as the one series that can keep you fit. Even if you don’t have the time for any other strenuous routine, upping your Surya Namaskar count can amp up your fitness level. This sequence provides you with all the benefits of yoga.
Why do it?
Each of the 12 poses is designed to have a specific benefit on the body. The sequence can boost cardiovascular health, improve blood circulation and digestion, tone arms, strengthen the spine and improve flexibility. It also boosts overall health, aids in weight loss and can keep you youthful. A regular routine can also help beat stress and detox your body.
When to do it. Surya Namaskar is best done early in the morning on an empty stomach. For apart from improving your health, Surya Namaskar is also an opportunity to express gratitude to the sun for sustaining life on this planet.
How to do it?
The Surya Namaskar comprises these 12 steps:
- Pranamasana (Prayer pose): Stand at the edge of the mat with your feet together, the weight equally balanced on both feet. Expand your chest and relax your shoulders.As you breathe in, lift both arms up from the sides. Exhale and bring palms together in front of your chest in the namaskar position.
- Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms pose): Breathe in and lift the arms up and back, keeping biceps close to the ears. The idea is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers.
- (Hand to Foot pose): Breath out and bend forward from the waist. The spine should be erect. Exhale and bring the hands down to the floor. Bend knees if needed to place your palms on the floor.
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose): Breathe in and push your right leg back as far as you can. Bring the right knee to the floor and look up. You can deepen this stretch by keeping the left foot between the palms.
- Dandasana(Stick pose): As you breathe in, push your left leg back. Bring your body in a straight line. Keep arms perpendicular to the floor to deepen the stretch.
- Ashtanga Namaskara(Salute with Eight Parts or Points): Gently bring your knees down to the floor and exhale. Push your hips back slightly. Slide forward and rest the chest and chin on the floor. Raise the posterior a little bit. Eight parts of the body – two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and chin – should touch the floor.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra pose): Slide forward and raise the chest up. Look up. You can keep the elbows bent, shoulders away from the ears. Make an effort to push the navel down as you exhale.
- Parvatasana (Mountain pose): Breathing out, lift the hips and the tail bone. Push the chest downwards in an “inverted V” pose. The heels should stay on the ground.
Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose). Breathe in and push your right leg back as far as you can. Bring the left knee to the floor and look up.Try and push the hips down towards the floor to deepen the stretch.
- Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot pose): Breathe in and bring the left foot forward. Keep palms on the floor and bend knees if needed. To deepen the stretch, gently straighten the knees and try and touch your nose to the knees.
- Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms pose): Breathe in and roll the spine up. Put your hands up and bend backwards a little. The hips should be pushed slightly outwards. Ensure that the biceps are beside your ears. You should stretch up rather than stretch backwards.
- Tadasana: As you exhale, straighten the body and bring arms down. Relax in this position and try and observe the sensations in your body. Feel your breath and try and relax.