Tips for Surya Namaskar – When Where How – Do’s and Don’ts of Sun Salutation

Tips-for-surya-namaskar-plank-pose-sun-salutation-for-weight-loss--reduce-belly

Do you want to know which direction to face to do Surya Namaskar?

Should you eat before Sun Salutation?

How many times a day should you do Sun Salutation?

Is Sun Salutation better than walking? 

What to do before and after you practise Surya Namaskar?

Tips for Surya Namaskar – No one ever told you: 

The tips for Sun Salutation will make your practice complete and meaningful.  

Originally Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar in Yoga started as a way to give thanks for the sun and the spiritual light within each one of us.  Each year on June 21st during Summer Solstice Sun travels longest with the maximum time of daylight in the year. Thus, Yogis believe it is powerful to practise Sun Salutation on this special day. This date is also practised as the World Yoga Day.

Our YouTube Video on Steps to do Surya Namaskar has more than 7 lakh views and our followers have been requesting for Dos and Donts of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). Thus, I have brought to you 15 Tips on Do’s and Don’ts of Surya Namaskar – the correct way – extremely important to help you experience a seamless Sun Salutation practice.

Tips for Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) – Correct Way of Breathing, Poses, Movement and Attitude

Tip 1. Folded hands have a Deep Significance during Surya Namaskar

Folded hands at the beginning and end of every set of Surya Namaskar with the thumbs touching your heart – have a deep significance. As you do Surya Namaskar you honour the sun through the dynamic sequence of its 12 poses also known as Sun Salutation. Remember, when you fold your hands or Namaste – mean the “divine in me bows to the divine in you”.

Read our full article on the meaning of Namaste

Meaning of Namaste, Definition and its Roots in Vedic Literature

As per ancient Yogis – the “outer sun” is a replica of our “inner sun” and is linked to our spiritual heart. The heart is considered as the seat of wisdom – even though a common man may associate it with emotions and not the brain. However, in Yoga, the brain is symbolic of the moon. It is because the brain is the same as the moon, therefore, reflects the light emitted by the sun – not having any light of its own. Thus your thumbs touch your heart before and after each round of Surya Namaskar. 

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

Don’t do Surya Namaskar unless you understand how each body movement, breath and action has a deep-rooted meaning behind it. It will enable you to extract a whole range of benefits from it. 

Tip 2. Breathing Mindfully and How

Breathing in the correct manner is one of the most important things to do – to Practise Surya Namaskar. Some people think that Yoga is an exercise and breathing is not so important. They are un-informed.  

Remember, Surya Namskar is all about sending fresh Praan (Life Force) to each and every body part. Without proper breath – the entire purpose of the practice is lost. Therefore, don’t do Surya Namaskar until you understand when to inhale and when to exhale. 

There are 12 asanas or poses that complete one set of Sun Salutation.

Always remember to watch your breath closely while practising each of the 12 poses. As you transit from one posture to another – it is aided by inhalation or exhalation. Remember to breathe through your nose – NOT your mouth. Breathing through the nose (nasal breathing) brings in calm, filters the air as well as warms the incoming air and slows down your breath.

In case you are breathing too fast, or experience laboured breath – slow down or rest immediately. If it becomes uncomfortable at any point – stop and relax in Shavasan (Corpse Pose).

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

Each body is made differently – thus responds differently when you start any new exercise or regimen. It’s like learning to drive a car. Your attention, hands, feet, arms, breath, all have to be coordinated for you to attain the real benefits of Sun Salutation.

Surya Namaskar 12 Step by Step Video with Explanation

Tip 3. To-Do Sun Salutation with a Spirit of Devotion

One of the most important Do’s of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is the spirit of devotion.

Adopt the gratitude of humble adoration of the Light as it is in sync with the sequence of 12 Yoga Asanas or Poses to complete one set of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). Whenever you do Surya Namaskar draw your attention inwards to your heart. Mindfully do each movement with the aim to reach precision with regular practice.

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

Mindful practise comes handy especially towards the end of the Sun Salutation rounds when due to fatigue you could become sloppy.

Tip 4. Practise each of the 12 poses separately

Don’t do Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation in case you are a beginner without preparing for each of the 12 poses. 

A lot of you think you can start doing Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) from day 1 of your practice. It is not true at all.  If you start Surya Namaskar before practising each of the 12 poses – you will end up getting frustrated and will soon leave the practice. You should prepare yourself beforehand.  

What are the 12 Steps (poses) of Surya Namaskar?  

Pose 1: Payer Pose – Pranamasana 

Pose 2: Raised Arms Pose – Hastauttanasana

Pose 3: Standing Forward Bend –Pada-Hastasana

Pose 4: Equestrian pose – Ashwa Sanchalanasana

Pose 5: Staff Pose – Dandasana

Pose 6: Eight Limbed Pose – Ashtangasana

Pose 7: Cobra Pose – Bhujansasana

Pose 8: Mountain Pose- Parvatasana

Pose 9: Equestrian pose – Ashwa Sanchalanasana

Pose 10: Standing Forward Bend –Pada-Hastasana

Pose 11: Raised Arms Pose – Hastauttanasana

Pose 12: Payer Pose – Pranamasana 

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

When you do Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar – work on each pose separately or individually. This will enable you to build stamina and also easily put all of the poses together as one set of Sun Surya Namaskar. Most importantly, it helps you becomes flexible and builds your belly, arms, legs and core muscles.  

Tip 5. How to avoid falling on the floor after the Plank Staff Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana

Before you start doing Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) to understand the techniques on how to do it easily is extremely important. 

Beginners stumble mostly during two parts while practising Sun Salutation. For those of you who have insufficient strength in their legs, arms or lower belly may fall on a heap on the floor while doing the four-limbed Staff Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana.

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Staff Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana

The easy solution for beginners is practising the Four-Limbed Staff Pose -Chaturanga Dandasana by holding yourself in this position for 10-30 seconds. 

How to do Four-limbed staff pose – Chaturanga Dandasana – in simple steps:

plank-pose-sun-salutation-for-weight-loss--reduce-belly-fat-arms-fat-yoga-101

As you start practising the Four-Limbed Staff Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana. it makes your shoulder blades flat and firm and builds muscles in your back stronger. It draws lower belly inwards towards your spine as you feel your tailbone pointing towards your feet.

Step 1: Once you bring yourself in the Staff Pose, project your body forward while you gently rock forward on your toes as shown in the image above. 

Step 2: Make sure you are looking straight and your neck is not bent towards your body. 

Step 3: While doing the above – always keep your upper arms parallel to the floor and form a 90° degree angle with your elbows. During the entire pose, your elbows should be pointing backwards and should be close to your ribs. 

Pay attention – so that your chest and shoulders do not go lower than your elbows. See pic above. 

Step 4: The Staff Pose is actually a transition between two poses while doing Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar. The idea is to to do it on its own and hold in for 10-30 seconds to strengthen your core and upper body. 

Step 5: After holding the pose for whatever time you are comfortable (10-30 seconds) ring your knees down while keeping your core engaged. Move your chest and chin towards the floor or mat. At the same time keep your chest wide open and shoulder not touching the floor. 

Tips for Surya Namaskar:
What are the benefits of the Four-Limbed Staff Pose:

Doing the above will strengthen your wrists, arms, core and legs. It also helps you to balance your body weight on your arms. Remember, the technique should be right to avoid any injuries in the shoulders. 

Tip 6. Tricks to follow while Stepping foot Forward after Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Question: Will I be able to do Sun Salutation if I don’t have abs or have less flexibility? 

Don’t worry if your foot doesn’t step forward in the Equestrian Pose (Ashwa Sanchalasana). You normally will do it after the downward-facing dog pose while practising Sun Salutation.

dos-and-donts-of-surya-namaskar-sun-salutation
Downward facing dog pose

Most of the beginners face this issue when they start Sun Salutation. The trick to overcoming this is simple:

You will notice beginners are unable to take a full step forward lightly and smoothly. Instead, the foot bumps and wriggles as it moves forward. The reason behind this is a weak belly, weak knee joint, and tightness in the groin area.

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Image Source: Yoga Teacher Central

An easy short term solution is to by bending your knees to the floor as soon as you finish the downward dog pose. It will help you to step your knee forward between the hands. You could also release your hand on the side of the knee and hold your ankle physically bringing your leg forward. Once the foot has stepped forward you can straighten the back knee into a lunge.

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

Don’t worry – with regular practise your body will become more flexible and your joints will open up – helping you to bring your knees forward easily. 

tip 7. meal before Sun salutation

Question: Can I eat before Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)? 

Out of one of the most important do’s and don’ts of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is never to eat or drink before practising it. Always do sun Salutation on an empty stomach or eat at least 3-4 hours before you do the 12 Poses. 

If you do need to drink water – drink 15-20 minutes before you start.

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

You could keep a bottle of water next to you – just in case you want a sip or two in between the Surya Namskar. But never have more than a small sip or two to moist your lips or throat. Never drink cold water – drink normal water at room temperature.  

Tip 8. Quality is More important than quantity

One of the biggest questions on do’s and don’ts of Sun Salutation asked by all Yogis is:

Question: How many times a week should I do Surya namaskar?

Quality of practising Sun Salutation starts with being committed to regular practice. Even though it’s best to practise daily – but it is good to do Surya Namaskar 4 times a week. The idea is not to skip for more than 1-2 days in a row. Because if you take a break of more than a couple of days – you may have to start all over again.

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

Make Surya Namaskar a long-lasting lifestyle – rather than a workout session you often do for a few weeks or months and then forget about it. 

Tip 9. direction while practising Sun salutation

Question: What Direction to face while doing Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)? 

As per Yogic Tradition – it is best to perform sun salutation sitting in the open with your face towards the east or the rising sun. The rising sun symbolises the dawn of consciousness and jnana.

In India to sit outdoors is possible as it is pleasant early in the morning. However, if you are in a colder country in the month of November it won’t be feasible to practise outdoors. Thus, it’s okay if you have to practise Surya Namaskar indoors as long as there is fresh air.

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

When you are looking for do’s and don’ts of Surya Namaskar (Sun salutation) – remember, the direction of your face should be the foremost thought in your mind every time you stand on your Yoga mat. 

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Face east to do Sun Salutation

Tip 10. Best Time to do Surya Namaskar Morning or Evening

Question: Can I do Surya Namaskar in the evening? 

As per ancient Yogic tradition in India – Yogis recommend practising Yoga during sunrise. But, with different lifestyles and weather conditions – it may not always be possible.

The best time to do Surya Namaskar is ideally at or just before sunrise (approx 6.00 AM). However, in case you live in cold countries – do Sun Salutation indoors as long as you are not very tired already.

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

If you happen to do Surya Namaskar in the evening – face the west instead of the east.

TIp 11. Sun Salutation Sufficient ENOUGH

Question: Is Surya Namaskar sufficient enough? 

Sun Salutation alone is not sufficient enough.

Always do a combination of Surya Namaskar and other yoga poses.  With the rising number of people practising Surya Namaskar – it is also used as a preliminary warm-up of a cleansing session of the mind and body. Thus, start with Prayanama (Breathing exercises of Yoga) followed by Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation before you do other Instense Yoga Poses or another exercise regimen you may follow. Then only you can experience a complete experience of a balanced mind, body and soul.   

Learn how to do Pranayama by our Yoga Guru and International Certified Yoga Trainer Denzil Oconnell: 

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

An average person starts with 10-12 rounds of Surya Namaskar after completing Pranayama or Breathing Exercises and doing hip or groin openers. If you have a busy day with lots of chores to attend to – a quick 10 minutes Sun Salutation can be followed by a 5 minutes relaxation in Savasana (Corpse Pose).

TIP 12. Rounds of Surya Namaskar 

Question: How many rounds of Surya Namaskar should I do in a day? 

Number of times to practise Sun Salutation is one of the important do’s and don’ts of Surya Namaskar.

To begin practising Sun Salutation you could start with 4-5 rounds and slowly take it up to 12-15 rounds. Remember traditionally people are advised to do 108 rounds. But it takes several months to reach that stage. Thus it’s best to start with a conservative number of 3-5 rounds.

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

Always remember – the correct way to do sun Salutation is slowly and steadily. Don’t rush through the 12 Poses. 

You may read or watch videos on youtube showing it being done with high speed. Don’t follow them! 

Yoga is an ancient Indian practise and to avail its benefits if you do it at ease and a comfortable pace – you will gain more benefits than you can ever imagine. 

Tip 13. Smile and Enjoy the Process

Question: Can Surya Namaskar help release stress and boost Immunity? 

One of the big do’s and don’ts of Surya Namaskar is to do the rounds by calming your mind before you start by simple breathing techniques. In case you are stressed, feeling fatigued or are restless – sit quietly on a mat or on the floor – and practise Yoga Breathing Pranayama.

It will take hardly 5-10 minutes and will slow down your breathing and give you a fresh life source (Praan) to your brain.  

You can follow as per Video Below – Step by Step Video on Pranayama by Our Yoga Guru and International Certified Yoga trainer Denzil Oconnell: 

Yoga is not about becoming uncomfortable – even though the picture of an Asana or Pose may look impossible to start with. However, with regular practise everything is possible. Each baby step will lead you closer to attaining the posture. Smile and enjoy every small success. Your goal is not to become an expert in every posture. Doing Yoga is your ultimate goal.

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

Thus, you may achieve a pose only partially in the beginning. It is more about enjoying the process with a smile on your face. The moment you stop enjoying it – you stop benefiting from the pose.

Before you start – always remember an advise compulsory to do each posture: Smile and enjoy!

Surya Namaskar is the King Of Yoga Poses

Tip 14. Corpse Pose is a must 

Question: What to do immediately after I finish Sun Salutation? 

One of the most ignored and overlooked do’s and don’ts of Surya Namaskar is the Corpse Pose.

No matter what time you practise – don’t finish your practise unless you do Corpse Pose to end Sun Salutation. Don’t forget to rest and calm down before you start another Yoga Pose. 

A short 4-5 minute Corpse pose is a must-do for mental, physical and spiritual relaxation.

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

Corpse pose cools down your body and also helps absorb the fresh breath and oxygen going in each part of your body. Corpse pose also relaxes and calms down the entire system helping you go into a meditative state.

Corpse Pose in Yoga (Savasana or Shavasana) Steps and Benefits

 

Learn how to do the Corpse Pose (Shavasana) here

Tip 15. Taking bath after Surya Namaskar

Question: Can I take a bath after Sun Salutation (Surya namaskar)? 

The last of the do’s and don’ts of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is never to take a bath right after you finish doing Surya Namaskar. 

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

Avoid taking a bath at least 20 minutes after you complete Sun Salutation.  

Lastly, if you have any queries about the do’s and don’ts of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) – feel free to leave your questions in the comment section below or write to us separately on [email protected] Our International Certified Yoga Guru will reply to help your practice easier and meaningful. 

Tip 16. Surya Namaskar or Walking

Question: Is Surya Namaskar better than walking?

Answer: Walking and Surya Namaskar cannot be compared. Both have their own importance and needs.

Walking helps your posture, balance and maintains blood pressure, boosts heart and lung function, strengthens joints in legs and hips, and tones your legs.

However, Sun Salutation is a complete body workout, boosts immunity, stretches and tones each and every body part, improves blood circulation system, helps in hair growth and cleanses the skin. It can be called an ancient system of cardio also helps in losing weight at all the right places.

If done for 5-7 minutes is an excellent method to warm up your body with its various stretches through the 12 asanas incorporated in one set.

Both Sun Salutation and walking can be combined or could be done separately – depending on personal choice. 

Option 1:

If you want to be indoors due to extreme temperatures and are travelling, hence, cannot go walking – the best option is Sun Salutation. If you do Surya Namaskar only – make sure you do at least 10-15 rounds daily. Since the cardio in Surya Namaskar is more powerful than walking, 10-15 rounds of Sun Salutations are enough. 

Option 2:

For those who want to combine walking and practising Sun Salutation – best is to start with walking and then follow it up with Sn Salutation. Walking will warm up your body and Sun Salutation will help stretch and open up every joint and tone up the muscles. Moreover, Sun Salutation is always followed by lying flat on the mat in a Corpse Pose (Savasana) to calm the blood circulation and help you go in a meditative state. 

Option 3:  

If you want to practise Sun Salutation on a separate day or time to walking – it is perfectly okay to do so. You could alternate the days between walking and Surya Namaskar. Moreover, you could do the Yoga practise in the morning and walk or run in the evening.  

Tips for Surya Namaskar:

Only remember, do not give a gap of more than a few days because you may have to start all over again. Once you start Surya Namaskar regularly – you will soon get addicted to it and your body, mind and soul will start asking for it on a daily basis.

Do let us know which of the Tips for Surya namaskar do you think was most beneficial for your practice? 

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