surya namaskaras

There will be no life on the earth without the sun, and the Surya Namaskaras or the Sun Salutations, as they are popularly called, are an ancient method of showing gratitude or paying respect to the sun that is the source of all forms of life on the earth.

The ancient yogis say that the different parts of the body are governed by different devas or divine impulses of light. The Surya Namaskaras are a complete body workout. Doing 12 sets of this exercise translates into doing 288 powerful yoga asanas in a span of 12 to 15 minutes. The Surya Namaskaras also form an incredible link between the warming-up poses and the intense yoga asanas.

Practicing the Surya Namaskaras have a whole lot of benefits.

Why Is The Sun Salutation Good For You?

When you practice the Sun Salutation regularly, you notice some exceptional benefits all over your body. The intense and powerful asanas in the practice have an incredible impact on the stomach, liver, heart, intestines, chest, throat, and legs, which means the whole body from head to toe is benefited. The Sun Salutation also improves and enhances blood circulation throughout the body, and this ensures the proper functioning of the bowels, the stomach, and the nerve centers. When you practice this routine every day, the VataPitta, and Kapha are also balanced.

How Many Calories Do You Lose In A Single Set Of Surya Namaskaras?

A single round of Surya Namaskaras helps you burn up to 13.90 calories for someone who is of average weight. With this as a primary benchmark, you can decide how many sets to do. With practice, you should ideally be able to do 108. And as you strive to reach that number, you will automatically become fit and toned.

How Many Calories Are You Burning In Your 30 Minute Workout?

To give you the larger picture, take a look at how many calories you burn in 30 minutes of different workouts.

Weightlifting – 199 calories
Tennis – 232 calories
Basketball – 265 calories
Beach Volleyball – 265 calories
Football – 298 calories
Bicycling (14 – 15.9 mph) – 331 calories
Rock Climbing – 364 calories
Running (7.5mph) – 414 calories
Surya Namaskar – 417 calories

What Must You Know Before You Start Off With The Asanas?

The best time to practice the Sun Salutation is early in the morning when the sun is rising. You must make sure your stomach and bowels are empty.

However, some might ask if the Sun Salutation can be practiced in the evening as well. Yes, it can! Surya Namaskaras can be practiced at sunrise and sunset. But if you want to practice after sunset, it is no longer Sun Salutation, it becomes Moon Salutation or Chandra Namaskaras, and includes one more asana. This can be practiced when the moon is out and visible.

There is no restriction on a place to practice these asanas. However, it is always more enjoyable to practice these asanas outdoors, or in a fully ventilated room.

You must also learn to listen to your body. Do not overstretch as a beginner. It is always advisable to practice this asana under the supervision of a certified yoga instructor.

Ideally, you should practice at least 12 rounds of the Surya Namaskaras Every Day, which means six sets on the right leg, and six sets on the left leg. However, if you are a beginner, it is best you start with four sets, and then gradually increase the number of sets. Surya Namaskaras usually begin with a prayer in reverence to the Sun for being the source of energy.

These are 12 Mantras for the 12 sets that are typically practiced.

Om Mitraya Namah
Om Ravaye Namah
Om Suryaya Namah
Om Bhanave Namah
Om Khagaya Namah
Om Poosne Namah
Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namah
Om Marichaya Namah
Om Adityaya Namah
Om Savitre Namah
Om Arkaya Namah
Om Bhaskaraya Namah

This routine is a perfect workout. It connects your mind, body, and soul, and brings out the best in you. It enhances your habits and brings about perfect harmony in your life. Who knew? All it takes is 12 asanas.

Surya namaskara is a series of twelve physical postures. These alternating backward and forward bending postures flex and stretch the spinal column through their maximum range giving a profound stretch to the whole body.


Often, after a hard days work, we would just flop down on the couch * apparently * relaxing our bodies – but it is not so. The stagnant energies remain locked up and the organs remain de-oxygenated to a large extent.


Surya Namaskar has a deep effect in detoxifying the organs through copius oxygenation and has a deeper relaxing effect.


To list some of the benefits of Suryanamaskar:

Tones up the digestive system by the alternate stretching and compression of abdominal organs. It activates digestion and gets rid of constipation and dyspepsia.

Strengthens abdominal muscles.

Thoroughly ventilates the lungs, and oxygenates the blood.

Acts as detoxifying agent, by getting rid of enormous quantity of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.

Promotes sleep and calms anxiety.

Tones up the nervous system and improves memory.

Normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands – especially the thyroid gland.

Refreshes the skin. Prevents Skin disorders.

Improves muscle flexibility.

In women, stimulates the breasts to help firmness normally. Restores any lost elasticity, through stimulation of glands and the strengthening of pectoral muscles.

menstrual irregularity and assists in easy childbirth.


Prevents loss of hair and graying.

Helps reduce fat.

Reduces abnormal prominence of the Adam’s apple.

Eliminates unpleasant smells from the body.

Lends grace and ease of movements to the body.

Revives and maintains the spirit of youthfulness.

Broadens chest and beautifies arms.

Makes the spine and waist flexible.

Produces health, strength, efficiency and longevity.


Who should not do Surya Namaskar?

Pregnant women should not practice this after third month of pregnancy.

Patients of Hernia and high blood pressure are warned against this practice.

People suffering from back conditions should seek proper advice before commencing Surya Namaskar.

Women should avoid Surya Namaskar during menses.


How to do?

As mentioned Surya Namaskar is a flowing series of 12 yoga postures. These are described below.


If, however, you still have difficulty in understanding, you can always Download the Video (for a token charge to compensate for costly bandwidth) and make sure you are doing it correctly.



Synchronizing the breath with the movements of the body is very important. The basic breathing principle is to inhale during backward bending postures and exhale during forward bending postures.



  1. Pranamasana (Salutation posture)


Stand erect with feet together. Join the palms together in front of the chest. Concentrate on standing straight, steady and in a prayerful attitude. This posture helps to induce a state of introversion, relaxation and calmness. It activates the anahata chakra. Exhale fully.




  1. Hastauttanasana (Raised arm posture)


Inhaling stretch both arms above the head, palms facing upward. Arch the back and stretch the whole body. This posture stretches the chest and the abdomen and lifts the Prana (energy) upward to the upper parts of the body propelled by inhalation.




  1. Padahastasana (Hand to foot posture)


Exhaling bend the body forward and down, keeping the spine straight. Avoid collapsing the chest or “over-rounding” the upper back. Keep the legs straight and perpendicular to the ground. The knees may be allowed to bend a little if needed. This posture massages the abdominal organs, especially the liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenals, uterus and ovaries. The power of digestion increases and female disorders such as prolapse and menstrual irregularities are relieved. A healthy flow of blood is sent to the spinal nerves as they are stretched and toned. The hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh and calf muscles are stretched and toned. Inversion increases blood flow to the brain. The Prana is channeled to the lower regions of the body propelled by exhalation.



  1. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian posture)


On your next inhalation, extend the left leg back and drop the knee to the ground. The right knee is bent and kept between the hands and the right foot placed flat on the ground. Lift the spine and open the chest. Concentrate at the eyebrow center.




  1. Parvatasana (Mountain posture)


On the exhalation bring the right leg back to join with the left leg. Simultaneously raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms, so that the body forms a triangle with the floor. Try to place the heels flat on the ground. Focus awareness at the neck area. This posture strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs, stretches the calf muscles and Achilles’ tendons and makes the spine straight and taut. It relieves varicose veins and tones spinal nerves. Maintaining the posture take a deep inhalation.




  1. Ashtanga Namaskara (Salutation with eight limbs)


Exhaling gently drop both knees to the ground and slowly slide the body down at an angle as you bring the chest and chin to the ground. All eight limbs – toes, knees, chest, hands and chin – touch the floor. The buttocks are kept up. Hold the breath. This posture develops the chest and strengthens arms. It sends additional blood to this area helping to rejuvenate the nerves.




  1. Bhujangasana (Cobra posture)


On the inhalation, lower the hips while pushing the chest forward and upward with the hands, until the spine is fully arched and the head is facing up. The knees and lower abdomen remain above the floor. Focus the awareness at the base of spine and feel the tension from the forward pull. This pose gives dynamic expansion to the organs of the chest and abdomen, relieving many ailments such as asthma, constipation, indigestion, kidney and liver problems. It is very helpful in relieving tension in the back muscles and spinal nerves.


  1. Parvatasana (Mountain posture)


Exhale and get back to posture 5.


  1. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian posture)


Inhale and swing the right leg forward between the hands. The left leg remains back. Resume posture 4.



  1. Padahastasana (Hand to foot posture)


Exhaling, bring the left foot forward. Join both legs and resume posture 3.




  1. Hastauttanasana (Raised arm posture)


Inhale, raise the trunk up and bend backward. Resume posture 2.


  1. Pranamasana (Salutation posture)


Straighten the body and bring the hands in front of the chest. Resume posture 1.



The above constitutes one half of a round of Surya namaskara. To complete the other half the same movements are repeated except that the right leg is brought back in posture 4 and the left foot is brought forward in posture 9. So one full round consists of the exercises done twice. Practice up to 6 rounds in the morning and 6 rounds in the evening.


When the exercises are done a little quickly, the gain is more physical while if they are done slowly with breath awareness the gain is more mental and spiritual.


If for any reason, the above directions seem confusing, it is best to see the Surya Namaskar in visual flow. It will help you do the practice correctly without the risk of doing harm to your body.


If for any reason, the above directions seem confusing, it is best to see the Surya Namaskar in visual flow. It will help you do the practice correctly without the risk of doing harm to your body.



Incorporate the Surya Namaskar into your daily routine and make a positive difference to your life.