Last week we learnt the basics of Suryanamaskar. The number of times can repeat the Suryanamaskaras varies according to one's fitness level. If one wants to improve flexibility, quick Suryanamaskaras should be performed during the morning hours, while slow ones should be performed in the evening hours when the body is more supple and one can hold each posture for longer; the evening hours are also more relaxed, and practising Suryanamaskaras during this time can get rid of the aches and pains of the day.
If one wants to lose weight, then it's preferable to perform more Suryanamaskaras (48) in the evening, along with other exercises. If one wants to stay fit and feel energetic throughout the day, then he or she should perform a few slow Suryanamaskaras in the morning.
It's important to learn the practice under the guidance of an expert since practitioners who suffer from neck or back pain must skip certain postures or try easier variations of those postures to balance the movements of the body.
Slow Suryanamaskaras stimulate the chakras and both the nadis, and fast Suryanamaskaras stimulate the Pingala Nadi. Each asana stimulates the natural flow of prana, up and down the body, and blockages are removed.
Yogic technique, especially for Suryanamaskaras, is an antidote to stress and powerful therapy for mental and physical diseases. I truly enjoy practising 108 postures every week. When I practice it during the morning hours, I feel fresh and energetic the whole day. Let's see how each asana in the Suryanamaskaras helps us to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Step 1: Pranamasana (Prayer pose) induces a state of introversion, relaxation, and calmness and activates the anahata chakra. This pose and the last pose of the series mark the beginning and end of the transit of the sun from dawn to dusk. It represents the peace, tranquillity, and beauty of sunrise and sunset.
Step 2: Hasta utthanasana stretches the body upwards and backwards. The muscles of the back and neck are relaxed, and the front of the chest and abdomen are stretched. This movement, along with deep inhalation, massages the abdomen and improves digestion. The upward stretch gives traction to the spine and helps the spongy disc to tone the spinal nerves. This also increases metabolism since it targets the vishuddhi chakra, the thyroid gland, and prana lifted upwards.
Step 3: Pada Hasta asana massages the abdominal organs, especially the liver, kidneys, gall bladder, pancreas, adrenal glands, uterus, and ovaries. It corrects menstrual irregularities and provides a good flow of energy to the spine and calf muscles and the hamstrings, relieving varicose veins, toning the whole body, and ensuring pressure is exerted on all the major endocrine glands with strong emphasis on the swadhistana chakra. Prana is channelled to the lower regions of the body through exhalation.
Step 4: Ashwa sanchal asana gives a backward bend to the spine and relaxes the back muscles. The abdominal muscles are also stretched, the pelvis is pushed down and forwards as one leg is placed forward while the other is stretched back. Concentration on the ajna chakra is locked with the mooladhara chakra. If your sinuses are blocked, you will feel an immediate sense of relief as each side is stretched.
Step 5: Parvatasana physically strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms, shoulders, and legs, and the back muscles relax. The manipura chakra is stimulated. The meeting of prana and apana may take place.
Exhalation is necessary.
Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskar develops the chest and strengthens the arms, shoulders and legs. The back muscles are relaxed. The manipura chakra is stimulated, and one can feel the spinal cord being squeezed from top to bottom. The breath must be held during this step.
Step 7: Bhujang asana dynamically stretches the chest and abdomen and relieves many ailments such as asthma, constipation, indigestion, and kidney and liver problems. During inhalation, prana tends to move upwards, and awareness is placed primarily on the swadhistana chakra. The rest of the asanas are the same in reverse order.
Prema Nagesh (The writer is a yoga instructor and therapist based in Muscat) Visit http://yogatherapy4all.blogspot.com/