Asanas Yoga

Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) for Beginners | How to Do and Benefits

Are you the one excited about sunlight peeping into your curtains? Are you a morning person with an energy drink and exercise routine? Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutation could fascinate you!

Sun Salutation is one of the most popular yoga exercises for a calm mind and active body. All the poses of Sun Salutation help to enhance the focus, strength, posture, and mobility. It is a series of 12 postures that are designed to salute the sun, the giver of energy to sustain life on earth. 12 Postures – Head Spinning? Lol, you ‘ll find it easier when you know it is very simple in real.

Sun Salutation are generally performed early in the morning for an energetic start to a new day. They are done in sets of 12. But if you are a beginner start with a set of 2 or 3 repetitions, and increase the sets as you gain confidence and practice.

Breathing is very important in every form of yoga and it applies to Sun Salutation as well. You have to synchronize the breath with the movements of the body in each pose of the series.

Here is how you can start Sun Salutation Step by Step:

Step by Step Guide to Perform Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) for Beginners. Sun Salutation Health Benefits and Practice
12 Steps of Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)

Step 1 – The series starts with Tadasana or Mountain pose. Stand straight. Make sure the bases of your big toes are touching each other, and the heels are slightly apart. Your weight should be distributed evenly between both feet. Rhythmically take slow and steady breaths. Join your palms and stand in the Anjali mudra.

Step 2 – Proceed to Urdhva Hastasana or the Upward salute. Finding the names difficult? Don’t worry the flow is smooth! Stretch your arms overhead while you inhale. Ensure that your arms are straight and reach to the heavens to salute the Sun for his life-giving energy. Arch your back and lift your gaze to come into a slight backbend position.

Step 3 – Slowly change into Uttanasana or Standing forward Bend position as you exhale. Exhaling will help you hollow your belly while you bend forward to bow down to Mother Earth. Bend forward from the hips and try to touch the ground with your palms or fingertips. Ensure that your legs are engaged and do not bend while you bend forwards.

Step 4 – Now inhale and shift to Ashwa Sanchalanasana or the low lunge. Lift your head, ground your palms and take the right leg back. The left foot stays at the front and is bent.

Step 5 – Hold your breath and change into the Dandasana or the plank pose. Your palms will remain grounded as in the earlier pose. Lift your left leg and send it back to be parallel to the right leg as you come into the plank position. During the plank pose be mindful of your posture and maintain proper alignment of hands, shoulders and tail bone.

Step 6 – Exhale as you shift to Ashtanga Namaskara or the Knees-chest-chin pose. Drop your knees to the floor slowly, tug your elbows and drop your chest and chin to the floor. Keep your gaze forward. Your toes, knees, chest, chin, and hands are the only parts touching the ground during this position.

Step 7 – Now inhale and come into the Bhujangasana or the cobra pose. Slide the entire body to the ground and lift your chest as you straighten your hands. In the cobra pose, your head, chest, and abdomen are in lifted position as you bend backward, and your feet and legs are pressed into the mat.

Step 8 – Exhale and change into Adho Mukha Svanasana or the downward-facing Dog pose. In this pose tuck your toes and palms into the ground as you lift your hips. Engage the core and thighs as you press your chest towards the thighs.

Step 9 – Inhale and come back to the Ashwa Sanchalanasana or the low lunge. This time remember to take your left foot back while your right foot is bent and is grounded at the front. Tuck in the toes into the mat and lift the back leg to make the pose more challenging.

Step 10 – Exhale and shift to Hasta padasana or the Standing forward bend position. Lift your left leg and bring it forward to meet your right leg and straighten both of them as you bend from the hip joints to touch the ground with your fingers.

Step 11 – Inhale and return to the Hasta Uttanasana or the Upward Salute pose. Spread your hands overhead and join the palms to salute the Sun as you slightly arch backward.

Step 12 – Exhale and come back to the Pranamasana with your body straight and palms joined at the chest.


Voila!!! You have completed one set of the Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation.


FAQs About Sun Salutation

Now that you have learned the procedure of Sun Salutation, let us find answers to some of the frequently appearing doubts on your mind!

How long to hold each pose of the Sun Salutation series?

The poses of Surya Namaskar follow rhythmic breathing. You inhale or exhale as you change into each pose. Hold each pose for as long as you can hold breath. You can start with a minimum and build up as you increase your stamina and learn to control your breath.

Holding each pose for a longer time will help you to build strength and increase muscle while holding a pose for short breaths and performing the series at a faster pace will give you a good cardio workout.

Do not worry about the time initially. Hold the breath for as long as you are comfortable. You will eventually learn to control your breath and perform better with regular practice.

Can I eat before performing Sun Salutation?

It is better to perform Sun Salutation on an empty stomach. As we have already discussed earlier, Surya Namaskar is performed early in the morning for a great start to the day. Practicing Sun Salutation on an empty stomach will help you enjoy the full benefits of this great routine.

What are the benefits of Sun Salutation ?

Sun Salutation is a series of 12 yoga poses. Each pose has benefits of its own. However, some benefits of Sun Salutation routine are

  • Increases energy
  • Strengthens the muscles
  • Improves flexibility
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Helps in weight loss
  • Calms the mind
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Increases the stamina

How many sets of Sun Salutation should I practice in a day?

You have to practice at least 12 sets of the Sun salutation routine to enjoy optimum benefits. Once you gain the confidence you can increase the sets to 24, 48 or 108.

However, if you are a beginner, start with a minimum of 3 sets and increase the sets as you go.

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