Surya Namaskar: Here are the 12 poses to perform a sun salutation with ease

Yoga is known to have several health benefits. It is a great way to achieve peace and a fit body. Surya Namaskar is a type of yoga that is done for a healthy mind and body. It should ideally be done first thing in the morning. Have a look at the poses of Surya Namaskar below.

Updated on Oct 27, 2021 01:22 PM IST  |  952.3K
Surya Namaskar: Here are the 12 poses to perform a sun salutation with ease
Surya Namaskar: Here are the 12 poses to perform a sun salutation with ease
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It is a known fact that yoga has several health benefits. Yoga not only helps you achieve a calm mind and a peaceful state of mind but also helps you to attain flexibility and an active lifestyle. Surya Namaskar is performed to the sun as an offering of gratitude and love. Surya Namaskar or sun salutation is practised early morning before sunrise.


It has many health benefits. Some health benefits of Surya Namaskar include mental strength, calmness of the mind, inner peace, better digestive system, decrease stress, weight loss, strong muscles and joints and better sleep patterns. It is also beneficial for women as it regularises their menstrual cycle. Surya Namaskar also helps in improving balance in the nervous system, reducing blood sugar levels and stimulating the Manipura chakra.


surya namaskar


Surya Namaskar consists of 12 poses for each side right and left. It is recommended that the Surya Namaskar should be started from the right side. One complete cycle is done when both sides are covered and the whole routine comes to 24 counts. 


Have a look at the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar below.


Surya Namaskar Step 1 - Prayer Pose (Pranamasana)


To do the first pose of Surya Namaskar asana, stand in an upright position on a yoga mat and place your feet close to each other. Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders. Inhale and take a deep breath, raise your arms from the sides, and as you exhale bring your hands together in front of your chest and join them in a prayer position. 




Surya Namaskar Step 2 - Raised Arm Pose (Hasta Uttanasana)


To do this pose, simply join your palms together and take a deep breath. Lift your arms up while bending backwards. Stretch back to lengthen the spine. Keep the arms close to your ears while simultaneously stretching the whole body up.



  • Bend forward in the waist while exhaling.
  • Touch the palms to the ground, point the fingers forward and keep thumbs at a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep legs straight.
  • Touch the forehead to the knees.



  • Do not bend the knees.
  • Avoid keeping the neck tense




Surya Namaskar Step 3 - Hand to Foot Pose (Padahastasana)


Exhale deeply and bend forward. Touch your toes with your fingers. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. Try to touch the floor with your fingers, pressing into your heels softly. Inhale while coming back up.



  • Place the left leg backwards and try to touch the knee to the floor while keeping the toes erect. 
  • Bend the right knee.
  • The left knee should touch the ground.
  • Push the waist and hips towards the floor. 
  • Look upwards while keeping both arms are straight.



  • Do not bend the neck forward. 
  • Do not bend the elbows. 




Surya Namaskar Step 4 - Equestrian Pose (Ashwa Sanchalanasana)


To do this pose, simply bend your knees a little and rest your palms on the floor in line with your feet. Inhale and bring your right knee to the right side of your chest while stretching the left leg back. Try to balance your body and raise your head while facing forward.



  • Take the right leg back and place it beside the left leg while keeping the toes erect.
  • Keep the body in one straight line.
  • Look forward.



  • Avoid bending the arms.
  • Do not look towards the ground.
  • Do not bend the knees.


Ashwa Sanchalanasana


Surya Namaskar Step 5 - Santolanasana 


Take a deep breath in and bring your right leg back. Keep your hands under your shoulders and keep your body parallel to the ground. Breathe slowly and try to balance.



  • Take the body towards the floor placing the toes, knees, chest, palms, and forehead on the floor.
  • Keep the hands close to the body.
  • Keep the elbows pointed upwards.



  • Do not touch the thighs, hips, waist or abdomen to the ground.
  • Avoid touching the chin to the floor.
  • Do not let the elbows go away from the body.



Surya Namaskar Step 6 - Salute the 8 parts of points (Ashtanga Namaskar Asana)


Exhale and bring your knees down to the floor. Rest your chin on the floor and raise your hips slightly from the ground. Both your hands, knees, chin and chest should touch the floor while your posterior should be suspended in the air. Breathe and hold the position for a few minutes.



  • Push the upper body upwards to keep the arms straight.
  • Keep the fingers pointed forward while placing the palms on the ground and thumbs at a 90-degree angle.
  • Pull the shoulders downwards.
  • Drop the head and neck backwards and look upwards.
  • Keep the heels, legs and knees together. 
  • Keep the toes erect. 



  • Do not bend the elbows. 
  • Do not hunch the shoulders towards the ears. 


Surya Namaskar Step 7 - Corba Pose (Bhujangasana)


To do this pose, slide forward gently and place your legs and abdomen on the ground. Place your palms near to your chest while taking a deep breath in. Apply the pressure on the hand and slowly raise the upper body. Keep your shoulders away from your ears, feet tucked in, and look forward. Keep your pelvic on the ground. This is the cobra pose. 



  • Push the body upwards so the hips and waist are raised into the air and the body is in an Inverted ‘V’ position.
  • Take the head and chin towards the chest.
  • Touch the heels to the floor. 



  • Do not bend the knees.
  • Do not bend the arms.




Surya Namaskar Step 8 - Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) 


Lie down. Your back should be facing the ceiling. Exhale and lift your hips to form an inverted ‘V’. Straighten your elbows and knees while keeping your heels on the ground. Take a few deep breaths and stretch deeply with every breath. 



Place the right leg forward and place it between the hands. 

Bend the right knee.

Touch the ground with the left knee.

Drop the waist and hips towards the ground. 

Look upwards and keep both arms are straight.



Do not bend the neck forward. 

Do not bend the elbows. 

Adho Mukha Svanasana


Surya Namaskar Step 9 - Equestrian Pose (Ashwa Sanchalanasana) 


To this asana, simply bring your right foot forward. Keep your left leg stretched behind placing your feet on the mat and now slowly look forward. Gently push the hips towards the floor to deepen the stretch.



Take the left leg forward and place it beside the right leg.

Place the palms on the ground and point the fingers forward and thumbs at a 90-degree angle.

Keep legs straight. 

Relax the neck.



Do not bend the knees. 

Do not keep the neck tense. 


Surya Namaskar Step 10 - Standing Forward Bend (Padahastasana) 


Inhale and bring your left foot forward, close to your right foot. Bend your torso while keeping the position of your hands the same as before. Now slowly take a deep breath out and touch the ground with your fingers.


Surya Namaskar Step 11 - Raised Arms Pose (Hasta Uttanasana)


Take a deep breath in while lifting your upper body, join the palms and raise your hands upwards. Bend backwards to stretch your spine.



Ensure that your biceps are beside your ears. 

Stretch upwards. 



Do not bend your spine.

Do not stretch backwards.




Surya Namaskar Step 12 - Mountain Pose (Pranam Asana)


We now come back to the very first pose of Surya Namaskar. To do this pose, exhale and stand straight. Relax your body. Lower the arms in front of your chest and join them together. 




What are some common mistakes that people make during performing Surya Namaskar?


It is very easy for people who are new to Surya Namaskar to make some mistakes. Some common mistakes include:


Not breathing properly during the sun salutation:


It is very important to synchronise your body postures with your breathing. Not breathing properly can prevent you from achieving the desired result from this Yoga routine. 


Surya namaskar


Not performing the Hasta Uttanasana:


The Hasta Uttanasana is an important asana that you should never skip. Skipping this pose can lead to neck pain and break the cyclic balance of breathing and movement. 


Putting pressure on the lower spine during the Chaturanga Dandasana:


During this asana, some people tend to place pressure on their lower spine. Doing this can lead the lower body to sink toward the floor and it can result in back pains.

Getting confused between the Cobra Pose and the Upward Facing Dog Pose:


It is a common mistake by beginners to get confused between the Cobra Pose and the Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana). 


Skipping the warm-up:


Warm-up is very important before performing the Surya Namaskar. Skipping the warm-up can lead to muscle injuries. So before practising Sun Salutation, start with some light stretches and joint rotation.


Not completing the cycle:


It is very important to complete all the 12 poses and return back to the Pranamasana to achieve the full benefits of Surya Namaskar. 


Surya namaskar


What are some benefits of Surya Namaskar?


Surya Namaskar is immensely beneficial for the mind as well as the body. Here are some benefits of this routine:


Weight management


Performing the Surya Namaskar can be immensely effective in losing weight. It can help you lose those extra calories by stretching the abdominal muscles and by regulating the hormonal secretions in the thyroid gland. It can also help in losing fat in areas such as the thighs, abdomen, hips, neck and chin area.


Boosts cognitive skills


Sun salutations help in improving concentration and in achieving a calm state of mind. It can help revitalise the nervous systems which consist of the brain and spinal cord.


Balances dosha


Performing the Surya Namaskar can help in balancing the 3 doshas namely Pita, Kapha and Vata. The weather, food, day-to-day activities, stress management at work and hours of sleep can all affect the dosha. 


Why is Surya Namaskar performed in the morning?


It is recommended that one should perform sun salutations during sunrise. This is because Surya Namaskar can help you to internalise the sun as part of your body system. The Surya Namaskar’s design with the 12 postures can help the 12 sun cycles become in sync with your physical cycles.


Surya namaskar


Who should refrain from performing the Surya Namaskar?


  • People who are suffering from heart ailments should consult a doctor before doing this yoga routine.


  • People who are suffering from Arthritis that leads to knee stiffness should avoid doing the Surya Namaskar. 


  • People suffering from hernia must refrain from practising Sun Salutation.


  • Women who are pregnant are suggested to not do the Surya Namaskar as it puts pressure on the back as well as the abdominal regions.


What is the ‘Chair Surya Namaskar’?


This type of Surya Namaskar is designed for those people who are unable to perform the poses of the Surya Namaskar due to weak joints, weak bones, old age, etc. To do this simply, begin by sitting on a chair in a position so that the back of the chair is on your left side and keep your hands in the prayer position. Inhale and lift the arms up over the head and gently lean back against the back of the chair.


Next, exhale and slowly drape the trunk over the legs, sliding the hands along the shins.


Inhale and slide the hands back up and come back to a seated position, drawing the right knee in towards the chest. Lean back into the chair and open through the chest. Exhale and draw the head towards the knee while dropping the shoulders.


Release the right leg. Repeat the same steps on the other side. After both sides are complete, reach your arms over hand and lean against the back of the chair, perform another forward bend, come back and perform one last backbend, and return to an upright position with the hands in prayer position.

Also Read: Here are some easy ways to effectively and quickly get rid of pimples

Check out the benefits of Surya Namaskar
  • It helps with blood circulation
  • Aids weight loss
  • Promotes regular menstrual cycle
  • Great for hair and skin
  • Improves digestion

The best time to do Surya Namaskar
Surya Namaskar can be perform any time of the day. However, it is best to do in the morning at sunrise.

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Top Comments
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3 months ago
Faulty description. For example how can you lean back so that your back touches the back of chair when you initially sat down with with back of chair on your left. Also, pose numbers aren't in sync with description and do's