Surya Namaskar means Sun Salutation and it is one of the most comprehensive of yoga asanas. It consists of a series of twelve separate asanas or postures (an advanced variation can be done with 16 or 18 steps) and it truly works every muscle in the body. Made more famous recently in India by Bollywood actors who use it to maintain their girlish figures, it has caught on as a healthy weight loss strategy.
I’m glad to have taken advantage of one of the benefits of living in India – learning yoga, which I have been doing for the past 3 months. Not that you can’t do the same elsewhere, such as in the U.S., where yoga’s popularity continues to soar. But the really cool benefit is that I can (afford to) have a personal yoga teacher who comes home three mornings a week to teach it. With this, I can get a personalized training session with individual attention paid where it is most needed – like all over, in my special case.
When I did my first surya namaskar, I thought I would die. And, I didn’t even do it correctly! Now, I have advanced to three “sets” – three surya namaskars where I repeat postures # 6,7,8 ten times each, for a total of 30 repeats. I still don’t do every posture correctly but there is undoubtedly a huge improvement in the state of my body. (And my mind). I can feel every darn muscle in my body str….etch….ing!
Here’s a great pictorial article of the 12 different postures – check it out so you can get an idea of what I am blabbering about. No doubt about it,I think it’s an amazing all-over body experience (that sometimes feels like an out-of-body experience!).
And to give you an idea of what muscles are worked during these various postures, here is a sampling of some of the postures (#6 which is not pictured below but is in the article above, is the toughest nut to crack!):
There are several ways to get the best out of doing Surya Namaskars:
1. You can repeat the entire set of asanas several times (Size Zero Kareena Kapoor purportedly does 100 of them every day!)
2. You can repeat some of the postures (like my torture, I mean, yoga teacher, makes me do with #s 6,7,8 – the hardest ones, if you please). Several times.
3. You can hold each position for several seconds – 30, 45, 60…the more you can hold, the better the results. Duh.
All of these variations can work wonders for you – not just physically, but mentally too. Trust me.
I just wish I had started learning yoga in my childhood. However, I have also discovered that it’s never too late to start – based on the difference that a mere 3 months (that’s only 36 hours in all; three classes a week) have made.
You can’t underestimate the tremendous all-over benefits that you gain!
And of all the yoga you can ever do, I can safely say, Surya Namaskar is the most and the best – a tortuous but magical series of yoga postures that work everything. The yin and the yang. Give it a try, won’t you?
Photos By http://theholisticcare.com [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons