Surya Namaskar – the Basics of Yoga | Yoga Sequence for Energy Flow.

Surya Namaskar is a short, graceful yoga sequence of asanas connected with breathing. “Surya” – is Sun, “Namaskar” – is greeting, in Sanskrit. This classical sequence is specifically designed to salute the sun, and it is ideal to start your day with, also can be used to warm up before your yoga practice at any other time of the day.

When you find photos of yoga instructors performing strong arm balances, crazy backbends, splits and so on, you should understand that their daily practice does not consist of those postures. Daily practice consists of classical poses repeated daily(!), its persistence in doing the same over and over again.

Surya Namaskar sequence warms up the entire body, it works on the major muscles and joints. This short sequence will leave you energised with a smile on your face.

Below you will find classic Hatha Surya Namaskar, each of 12 postures is explained in detail. Even if some postures look familiar to you, I recommend going through the explanation of the alignment below, and try it out as you read the article.

1. The Prayer Pose alignment(Pranamasana):

Alignment:

Feet together

Weight distributed evenly between both feet, and the front and back of each foot

Chin is parallel to the floor

Shoulders away from the ears

Tailbone tucked in

2. The Upward Salute Pose alignment(Urdva Hastasana):

Breath: IN

Alignment:

Breathe in lift your hands up

Point your gaze up, to your fingers

Keep your tailbone tucked in

Shoulders down

3. The Standing Forward Bend Bend(Uttanasana):

Breath: OUT

Alignment:

Breathe out, bring your palms to the ground

Try to straighten your knees

Relax your neck, jaw, shoulders

Start moving your hips forward, to align them with your feet

4. The Equestrian pose(Ashwa Sanchalanasana):

Breath: IN

Alignment:

Breathe out and step back with your right foot

Breathe in as you open your chest

Keep your knee under your ankle(make sure your kee is not going beyond your toes

Open your chest

Keep your shoulders down

Make sure left knee is not falling to your right side

Open your thigh through the front of your groin

You should feel a small backbend

Stretch your fingers down, trying to reach the floor

5. The Downward Facing Dog(Adho Mukha Svanasana):

Breath: OUT(5 breaths here, on Exhalation transition into the next pose)

Alignment:

Exhale and lift your hips up

Push the floor away with your palms

Lift through your tailbone

Keep your back straight

Push your heels to the floor

6. The Low Plank(Chaturanga):

Breath: OUT

Alignment:

Lower down keeping your elbows bent

Try to keep your elbows at 90 degree

Look down, the neck is in line with your spine

Elbows stay next to your ribs

Keep your core engaged

Body is in a straight line, hips are low

7. The Upward Facing Dog(Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana):

Breath: IN

Alignment:

Bring your hips down

Keep your pelvis off the floor

Open your chest

Look up

Keep your shoulders down, away from your ears

Legs are engaged

8. The Downward Facing Dog(Adho Mukha Svanasana):

Breath: OUT

Alignment:

Exhale and lift your hips up

Push the floor away with your palms

Lift through your tailbone

Keep your back straight

Push your heels to the floor

9. The Equestrian pose(Ashwa Sanchalanasana):

Breath: IN

Alignment:

Step forward with your left foot

Breathe in as you open your chest

Keep your knee under your ankle(make sure your kee is not going beyond your toes

Open your chest

Keep your shoulders down

Make sure left knee is not falling to your right side

Open your thigh through the front of your groin

You should feel a small backbend

Stretch your fingers down, trying to reach the floor

10. The Standing Forward Bend(Uttanasana):

Breath: OUT

Alignment:

Breathe out, bring your palms to the ground

Try to straighten your knees

Relax your neck, jaw, shoulders

Start moving your hips forward, to align them with your feet

11. The Upward Salute Pose alignment(Urdva Hastasana):

Breath: IN

Alignment:

Breathe in lift your hands up

Point your gaze up, to your fingers

Keep your tailbone tucked in

Shoulders down

12. The Prayer Pose alignment(Pranamasana):

Breath: OUT

Alignment:

Feet together

Weight distributed evenly between both feet, and the front and back of each foot

Chin is parallel to the floor

Shoulders away from the ears

Tailbone tucked in

Repeat the same sequence with the other leg. When you have done both legs, it is 1 circle of Surya Namaskar completed. In the morning 4-5 circles is enough to wake you up and get you energised and ready for the day.

Try to slowly include this sequence into your daily life. As you start getting used to it, you can add modifications to adjust postures and sequence to your level, and make it longer, more intense, or slow but deep.

Namaste lovely Yogi