The workout-relaxation relationship lies at the heart of the great ancient asana ‘Surya Namaskar’. It is said that the Surya namaskar series was born as Hanuman’s gurudakshina to Surya. Historically, the gratitude and namaskar (respectful greetings) Hanuman offered to surya as his leaving fee became today’s popular asana known as surya namaskar.

Sun is the source of energy and light for the world. Even man, woman and child should adopt this practice for the sake of their physical and spiritual health. Surya Namaskar is a combination of various asanas that is performed for body flexibility and arousal of mental knacks that may help in meditation and relaxation. It is one of the most versatile asanas to salute the Sun from whom we owe our existence.

The ancient practice of surya namaskar is highly recommended because of the science behind it. According to ancient Indian sages, different energies govern different parts of our body. The solar plexus is located behind the navel and it is connected to the Sun. The size of this solar plexus can be enhanced by practicing this asana regularly. It will, in turn, enhance creativity, confidence, decision-making power, endurance, leadership skills and intuitive abilities. Each movement of the body is synchronised with a breath exhaling at the folds and inhaling as you stretch out the body.

This asana can be performed any time of the day as long as it is on an empty stomach. Ideally, the best time is sunrise because when you do it in the morning, it refreshes your mind and revitalises the body. If you perform it in the afternoon, it gives a spark to your energy levels. At the dusk, when it is done, it relaxes you. It can be done at a slow, medium or fast pace. Slow pace helps you to make your body flexible, medium pace helps in toning the muscles and fast pace helps in weight-loss by acting as an excellent cardiovascular exercise and increasing the metabolic rate of the body.

It involves a sequence of 12 poses – balanced standing pose – lifting the arm upward backward – bending down forward to touch the earth – a lunge – V-shaped asana (known as downward facing dog) – upward facing lifting the chest – return to downward dog – another lunge – again touching the earth in a forward bend – lifting up the arms – returning to the initial standing pose.

Surya namaskar is the core of yoga. This asana is immensely beneficial for losing weight, gaining radiant skin and healthy hair growth. The list is long. Learn why you should do it daily and correctly.

·         It can help fight depression and other negative tendencies. While practicing this asana, toxic impurities release through perspiration and absorb vital energy from the atmosphere. It generates positive and optimistic thoughts making you a good human being and a responsible citizen.

·         The wonderful asana aids in weight-loss. This intensive exercise works on every part of the body. You can watch the pounds start to disappear with its bends and stretches. It tones the muscles and helps you achieve perfect shape of your body.

·         It helps your skin to glow with radiance, retain its firmness and prevent it from wrinkles and fine lines. It works as a natural anti-aging activity that keeps you stress-free and fatigue-free. It happens because of the improvement in blood circulation to all parts of the body and healthy bowel movement due to the regular practice of this asana.

·         This asana increases the supply of nutrients to the scalp and hair in the form of good blood circulation. It leads to prevention of baldness.

·         Surya namaskar helps in stretching 90 percent of the muscle groups and loosens the body after performing the physical asana.

·         People who practice this asana daily, may keep their mind calm, improve concentration and memory power and build endurance.

·         It enlivens the heart and cures or prevents blood pressure and palpitation by improving the quality of blood circulation.

·         Discomforts from menopause may vanish.

·         Relief in menstrual disorders such as consequent pain.

·         Develops and improves chest and helps in keeping it firm, hard and elastic.

·         Reduces redundant fat especially on chin, neck, abdomen, thighs, hips and calves.  

·         Strengthens neck, back, chest, abdomen, arms, wrists, shoulders, fingers, thighs, ankles, knees, calves and intestines.

·         Reduces bow-legged-ness and improves knock-knees while walking.

·         Normalises the function of most of the vital organs.

·         Improves disease-resisting power by strengthening immunity.

·         Induces and maintains the spirit of youth.

·         May cure constipation.

·         May cure kidney problems by strengthening back.

·         If nursing mothers do it regularly, it may improve the quality and quantity of milk.

·         It helps in optimum utilisation of lungs and respiratory system. The impure air from lungs releases out and the brain gets fresh oxygen making a person full of vigour.

·         Corrects hormonal imbalance by harmonising the different endocrine glands.

·         Removes stiffness of muscles by offering intense stretching to the whole body.

·         It is an exercise that gives internal spiritual balance to keep all kinds of stress at bay by balancing Vata, Pitta and Kapha. So, it can also be called a workout for your soul.

·         Helps posture related problems and improves the internal balance of your body. You can get rid of a bad posture.

·         Strengthens digestive system including stomach, pancreas, intestines, liver etc.

·         It invigorates nervous system – cures forgetfulness and other forms of mental disorders.

This is the best possible exercise for those who seek happy and healthy life. The mantra lies in correct concentration between the alignment and breath in different yoga poses. It is essential to learn and practice this asana under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, consult your doctor before starting practicing it.

Be mindful to all your movements while practicing ‘Surya Namaskar’.