This exercise is called soorya namaskar because it is practiced
in the early morning facing the sun. The sun is considered
to be the deity for health and long life. In ancient days,
this exercise was a daily routine in the daily spiritual practices.
One should practice this at least twelve times by repeating
twelve names of the Lord Sun. This exercise is a combined
process of yoga asanas and breathing. It reduces abdominal
fat, brings flexibility to the spine and limbs, and increases
the breathing capacity; it is easier to practice asanas after
doing soorya namaskar.
Before students practice the more complicated and difficult
postures, the spine should acquire some flexibility. For a
stiff person, the sun exercise is a boon to bring back lost
There are twelve spinal positions, each stretching various
ligaments and giving different movements to the vertebral
column. The vertebral column is bent forward and backward
alternately with deep breathing. Whenever the body is bend
forward, the contradiction of the abdomen and diaphragm throws
out the breath. When the body bends backward, the chest expands
and deep breath is corrected; moreover; it mildly exercises
the legs and arms, thus increasing the circulation.
There are twelve positions making one full round of soorya
namaskar. Repeat twelve times daily.
Position 1: Face the sun.
Fold the hands. Legs together, stand erect.
Position 2 : Inhale and raise the arms. Bend
Position 3 : Exhale and bend forward till
the hands are in line with the feet. Touch the knees with
your head. In the beginning, the knees may be slightly bent
until the head can touch them. After some practice, the knees
should be straightened.
Position 4: Inhale and
move the right leg away from the body in a big backward step.
Keep the hands and left foot firmly on the ground, bending
the head backward. The left knee should be between the hands.
Position 5 : Inhale and hold the breath.
Move the left leg from the body and, keeping both feet together
and the knees off the floor, rest on the hands (arms straight)
and keep the body in a straight line from head to foot.
Position 6 : Exhale and lower the body to
the floor. In this position, known as sastanga namaskar or
eight-curved prostration, only eight portions of the body
come in contact with the floor: two feet, two knees, two hands,
chest and forehead. The abdominal region is raised and, if
possible, the nose is also kept off the floor, the forehead
only touching it.
Position 7 : Inhale and bend backward as
much as possible, bending the spine to the maximum.
Position 8: Exhale and
lift the body. Keep the feet and heels flat on the floor.
Position 9 : Inhale and bring the right foot
along the level of the hands; left foot and knee should touch
the ground. Look up, bending the spine slightly. (Same as
Position 10 : Exhale and bring the left leg
forward. Keep the knees straight and bring the head down to
the knees as in the third position.
Position 11 : Raise the arms overhead and
bend backward inhaling, as in position 2.