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Surya Namaskar is the Salutations to Lord Sun, i.e., Salute to to Sun. It originated from the Hindu Solar Deity in the tradition of worshipping Surya (Sun). It is a common sequence of Hatha Yogasanas. This sequence of movements and postures can be practiced on varying levels of awareness, ranging from practice style to comple sadhana which comprises of Asanas, Pranayama, Mantras and Meditation.

The basic Surya Namaskar consists of a dynamic series of twelve yogic postures. This series are ordered in a way that they alternatively stretch the spine backward and forward. When performed in the usual way, each asana is moved into with alternate inhalation and exhalation (except for the sixth asana where the breath is held in external suspension). A full round of Surya namaskara is considered to be two sets of the twelve poses with a change in the second set to moving the opposite leg first through the series.

Some people prefer to perform it at sunrise or sunset, but it can also be practiced at convenient time of the day. Of course, this exercise is good no matter what time you may use it, but it is best done while the stomach is empty, before eating. It is a yogic exercise which consists of ten particular postures, one following another, in a fixed, cyclic order to ensure improvement and good health in one's digestion, agility, rejuvenation, beauty and longevity. It will also help one lose weight and trim the waist. There is no equipment to buy, or membership to a gym or fitness club that must be purchased. You just need a little space in your apartment or home. If, however, you begin to feel short-breathed or dizzy, then take a break. Also, pregnant women should not practice it, but can continue it during their period because it can help digestion and the flow of energy and outflow of waste needed at this time.

The practice of Surya Namaskar is a sort of training to your body mind and soul. It works with equal force on these three aspects. It gives us physical and mental health with sharp intellect. Only 35 to 40% of your muscles are used in daily activities. Rest of the muscles remains inactive. Surya Namaskar is a physical exercise where almost 95% to 97% of your muscles are switched on to active mode. They remain active, hours ahead during the day, till you recharge them the next morning.

If one is suffering from a dis-ease then there is imbalance of Vata, Kapha and Pitta in the body. Daily practice in Surya Namaskar maintains steady state of these three, keeping the body in perfect health. While performing Surya Namaskar the breathing exercise (Pranayam) gives more oxygen to your lungs. The rhythm of breathing becomes heavy with vitality. Each breath becomes deep and clear. It carries more oxygen to the parts of your body.

While performing Surya Namaskar think nothing, but about the Sun God. Concentrate yourself on the meaning of the Surya Mantra, the steps in the Surya Namaskar, their sequence, the proper activities of the different parts of the body, the parts of the body where you feel stress, stretch and strain etc. This will shut your mind off from thinking. Thoughtless state of mind contains no mental stress and strain at all. It is a real rest to your mind. Freedom from mental and emotional anxiety is the sound rest to your body too. After the practice of Surya Namaskar is over you better lay down in Shawasan / Yoga Nidra for some time.


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