Friday, 26 April 2013

Ways to do Surya Namaskar

Ways to do Surya Namaskar

                     Before beginning any sessions of Yoga asanas you have to do 'Surya Namaskar' or sun salutation. It is series of gentle flowing movements synchronized with the breath. This excellent warm up exercise consists of a sequence of positions that move the spine in various ways and promote flexibility in the limbs. It is of special benefit to beginners, to stiff people, and to the elderly, since it helps the body to gain flexibility. It also regulates the breath and focuses the mind. 

The right ways to Surya Namaskar include :-

Warming up

Stand straight in relax position.
Inhale silently and slowly through nose in two segments.
Hold the breath.
Tighten all the joints and muscles from toes to neck.
Exhale completely with force through mouth, air vibrations audible, in two segments.
Repeat the action for three to five times.
Effect on body: The entire body is charged with cosmic energy due to the contraction and expansion of the cells in the muscles. All the tissues of almost all the muscles are put on active mode.

The following exercises are useful in the practice of Aum Mitraya Namah (Pranam-asan), Aum Arkaya Namah (Pranam-asan) Aum Bhaskaraya Namah (Namaskar Mudra) These exercises help to expand the chest, to increase the intake of air in the chest, to supply more oxygen to the cells in the body.

• Stand erect with the head and body straight but relaxed. The feet are together, and knees are straight and the arms are relaxed at the sides. Inhale deeply and begin.

• Bring the hands up from the sides; place the palm flat against each other at the center of the chest. The elbows are pushed out of the sides.

• Inhale and raise the arms upwards. Inhaling and raising of hands should synchronize. By the time you have stretched your arm, you should complete inhaling. 

• Exhale slowly bending forward, touch the ground keeping the hands parallel to the feet and head touching knees. By the time your hands touch the ground, you should complete exhaling. Retain the breathe and remain in the same position for about 6 to 8 seconds. If you cannot touch the ground, then let your hands go only as far as they can. 

• Inhale and move the right leg back away from the body in a wide backward step. Keep the hands and feet firmly on the ground, with the left foot between the hands. Raise the head.

• Exhale and bring the left foot together with the right. Keep the arms straight, raise the hips and align the head with the arms.

• Inhale and slowly lower the hips to the floor, (hips should be slightly raised above the ground) and bend backward as much as possible.

• Exhale and lower the body to the floor until the feet, knees, hands, chest, and forehead are touching the ground.

• Inhale and slowly raise the head and bend backward as much as possible, bending the spine to the maximum.

• Then exhale slowly and keeping the arms straight, raise the hips and align the head with the arms, forming an upward arch.

• Slowly inhale and bend the left leg at the knee taking a wide forward step. Keeping the hands firmly rooted, place the left foot on the ground between the hands. Lift the head upwards.

• Exhale slowly and keeping hands firmly in place, bring the right leg forward, so that both feet are together to align them with the hands. Touch the head to the knees, if possible.

• Inhale slowly and raise the arms upward. Slowly bend backward, stretching the arms above the head.

• Return to the first position.


   Health benefits of surya namaskar

Surya Namaskar provides all of the key health benefits of yoga in a very succinct package. It is a holistic exercise that provides physical health benefits, but also mental or emotional as well as spiritual benefits. The obvious advantage of Surya Namaskar is the workout it provides for the muscles, but it also benefits joints, ligaments and the skeletal system by improving posture, flexibility and balance.

In addition to these physical benefits, Surya Namaskar practice stimulates and conditions virtually every system in the body. It is good for the heart and stimulates the cardiovascular system. It oxygenates the blood and helps strengthen the heart. Surya Namaskar is good for the digestive system and the nervous system. It stimulates the lymphatic system and supports respiratory system health, as well.

Practicing Surya Namaskar also benefits the Endocrine system and enables the various endocrinal glands to function properly. These include the thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands as well as the adrenal gland, testes and ovaries.

Like most forms of exercise, Surya Namaskar provides mental benefits to regular practitioners. You will feel wonderful after performing the Sun Salutation. It is relaxing and rejuvenating, and tension, stress and anxiety melt away as you perform Surya Namaskar.

Surya Namaskar is an excellent alternative to caffeine and other stimulants. If you suffer from insomnia or sleep disturbances, you will find practicing Surya Namaskar aids in helping you fall asleep without the need for depressants.

With regular practice, Surya Namaskar is an excellent way to manage stress and alleviate depression. You will expend a tremendous amount of energy as you move through the two sets of poses. Surya Namaskar teaches you to concentrate, and learning to achieve the poses is incredibly gratifying.
 Mantras and Energy Chakra to Focus on:
  1. Parnamasana (Prayer pose) 
    1.   Exhale
    2. Om Mitraya Namah
    3. Anahata Chakra
  2. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
    1. Inhale
    2. Om Ravaye Namah
    3. Vishudh Chakra
  3. Hasta Paadasna (Standing and bend forward)
    1. Exhale
    2. Om Suryaya Namah
    3. Swadhisthan Chakra
  4. Ashwa Sanchalan Asana (Stretching one leg backward while in above bend pose)
    1. Inhale
    2. Om Bhanave Namah
    3. Aagya Chakra
  5. Parvta asana (Hill like shape on two legs and to hands )
    1. Exhale
    2. Om Khagaya Namah
    3. Vishudh Chakra
  6. Ashtanga Aasana (A parnam pose)
    1. Stop the breath outside
    2. Om Pusne Namah
    3. Manipur
  7. Bhujang asana (Pose like snake)
    1. Inhale
    2. Om Hirnaya Gharbhaya Namah
    3. Swadhisthan Chakra
  8. Parvta Asana
    1. Exhale
    2. Om Marichye Namah
    3. Vishudh Chakra
  9. Ashwa Sanchalan Asana 
    1. Inhale
    2. Om Adityaya Namah
    3. Aagya Chakra
  10. Hasta Paadasna 
    1. Exhale
    2. Om Savitre Namah
    3. Swadhisthan Chakra
  11. Hasta Uttanasana
    1. Inhale
    2. Om Arkaya Namah
    3. Vishudh Chakra
  12. Pranamasana
    1. Exhale
    2. Om Bhaskaraya Namah
    3. Anahat Chakra
Concluding the Surya Namaskar

        In Yoga, all the asana must be concluded with Shavasana (Corpse position) and so does Surya Namaskar. After performing the desired number of Surya Namaskar, lay down on your back with your legs and hands stretched out and straight. Close your eyes and slowly inhale and exhale deeply. Relax your body and mind for approx 20 min.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Yoga Pranayama

Pranayama - The Gift of Nature

 "Pranayama is control of Breath". "Prana" is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and "ayama" means control. So Pranayama is "Control of Breath". One can control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and achieve healthy body and mind.
       Patanjali in his text of Yoga Sutras mentioned pranayama as means of attaining higher states of awareness, he mentions the holding of breath as important practice of reaching Samadhi. Hatha Yoga also talks about 8 types of pranayama which will make the body and mind healthy.


Types of Pranayama

  1. Bhastrika Pranayama

The word ‘Bhastrika’ is a Sanskrit word which means leather bellow, which was used in the olden times to blow furnaces, where air is forcibly drawn in and out. This pranayama increases the fire in the body. In this type of pranayama, the diaphragm movement is used for the internal fire creating physical, Pranic and psychic heat. Bhastrika constitutes as a very powerful pranayam. Basically, a combination of Kapalbhati and Ujjaye Pranayam makes one Bhastrika. One who starts practice of Kapalbhati or Ujjaye finds it very easy to do the Bhastrika.

Steps in Bhastrika Pranayama

1). Firstly, sit in Padmasana, Siddhasana or Sukhasana with tends on knees and eyes closed. These postures lock the body into a stable position and permit freedom of abdominal movement. Also these postures are firm and strong which is a strong requirement for this pranayama in which rapid breathing is required.

2) Secondly, breathe in vigorously but deeply through both the nostrils and then breath out or exhale forcefully through both the nostrils. One such vigorous, forceful inhalation and exhalation with out any strain constitute one cycle of Bhastrika. It should be remembered that the inhalation should be with the same and uniform force and vigour. Please ensure that both nostrils are clear and blowing freely. The intensity or frequency of breathing should be very mild, without any undue force. It should be like an amplified form of normal breathing.

2. Ujjayi Breath

The Ujjayi technique is a very soothing technique which can be applied to sectional breathing or used while holding Yoga postures. This type of breathing helps to increase the lung capacity (and more oxygen is absorbed into the bloodstream), energy levels, and also achieves a state of calmness and mental clarity. In this technique, partially close the back of your throat, which cover the windpipe, so that as you inhale and exhale through your nose, the air passes through a narrower air passage in your throat, creating the sound made by your breathing while you are in a state of deep sleep. This sound can be likened to the whispering of the letters “hhhhh” expressed on inhalation and exhalation.

3. Bhramri

Bhramri is known as the bee breath. Bhramri helps to clear and strengthen the respiratory system and improve vocal resonance. It has a calming effect on the body that uplifts the spirit, and clears and invigorates the mind. In this pranayama, keep your lips gently closed throughout, inhale deeply, then hum as you exhale, extending the exhalation as long as possible. Use your abdominal muscles to control the evenness of your breath on exhalation. Repeat this once more. If you wish to stimulate your lung cells to further invigorate the vocal resonance and your body, tap your chest with your fists or fingertips as you hum on the out breath.

4. Sitali and Sitkari

Sitali and Sitkari are the two breathing techniques which have a cooling effect on the body. This technique is very useful during the hot months of the year. They also calm the nervous system. Sitali, particularly, can alleviate nausea and the symptoms of asthma.
    In Sitali on inhalation, curl your tongue so that the sides fold up, forming a tube, with your tongue protruding from you lips. Raise your chin as you inhale through your tongue (like a straw), feeling the cool air over the tongue. On exhalation, slightly lower your chin, place the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth, close your lips, and exhale through your nose.
   In Sitkari part your jaw slightly, so that your upper and lower teeth are a small distance apart. Your tongue rests at the base of your mouth, and the corners of your mouth are opened out as if in a wide smile. Inhale and exhale through your teeth, with the air passing over your tongue. The air should feel cool as it moves over the surface of your tongue during inhalation.

5. Anuloma Viloma

Anuloma means with the natural order and Viloma means going against the order. This technique helps to balance and harmonize the functioning of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It has a soothing effect on the nervous system and calms the mind. Because exhalations are longer than inhalation, it encourages the removal of state air and toxin


He who practices Pranayama will have good appetite, cheerfulness, handsome figure, good strength, courage, and enthusiasm, a high standard of health, vigor and vitality and good concentration of mind. Pranayama is quite suitable for the Westerners also. A Yogi measures the span of his life not by the number of years but by the number of his breaths. You can take in a certain amount of energy or Prana from the atmospheric air along with each breath. Vital capacity is the capacity shown by the largest quantity of air a man can inhale after the deepest possible exhalation. A man takes fifteen breaths in a minute. The total number of breaths comes to 21,600 times per day.
Other benefits are as follows:-
  1. It makes the life meaningful and social. 
  2.  It keeps the man balanced in all the conditions and situations.
  3. It helps in understanding the real nature of man and its relationships with the community.
  4. It manages psycho physical diseases.
  5. It put chain on the senses.

Effects of Pranayama

Physical Effects
  • Preservation of the body’s health
  • Purification of the blood
  • Improvement in the absorption of oxygen
  • Strengthening the lungs and heart
  • Regulation of blood pressure
  • Regulation of the nervous system
  • Supporting the healing process and healing therapies
  • Increasing resistance to infection
Mental Effects
  • Elimination of stress, nervousness and depression
  • Quietening of thoughts and emotions
  • Inner balance
  • Release of energy blockages
Spiritual Effects
  • Deepening of meditation
  • Awakening and purification of the Chakras (energy centres)
  • Expansion of consciousness

The Most Visible and Comprehensible Benefits of Pranayama

Prevents aging

   Many anti-aging creams and pills available in the market at platinum price, Pranayama practice is the free medicine available to avert aging. It is evident that longevity depends upon your breathing rate. If it is faster, you have fewer years to live. Pranayama helps you reduce the breathing rate to a great extent and gives you extra life full of joy and inner happiness. Ask those who practice Pranayama regularly and have a look at their skin. Study has revealed that Pranayama regular practice keeps your skin wrinkle free and glowing.

Cardiovascular health

    With regular practice, you tend to inhale more and more oxygen and circulate it freely all over the body. All the body cells get rejuvenated and the blood circulation improves amazingly. The pumping action of heart gets stabilized and blood pressure gets controlled. There are thousands of people who have stopped all anti-hypertensive tablets after they started practicing Pranayama.

Breathing Rate is stabilized and reduced

   The way we breathe decides how our health is. It is said that as the meditation helps the person to calm down, Pranayama helps one control their respiration in a positive way and slow down the heart rate so that cardiac outflow is stabilized and no undue stress is laid on heart muscles.

Enhances mental acuity

   The study reveals that there has been marked improvement in a personal concentration power after he practices Pranayama. The changes are visible right from the first week and the person feels less distracted during work. The improvement in cognitive abilities and with memory power is additional plus. If instead of sending students to improve memory classes, parents insist on doing Pranayama once a day, it will be rewarding for sure!

Negative mental qualities diminish in course of time

    We all go through varied stress and strains. But as is aptly said, make stress work for you, Pranayama helps us achieve this. We can slowly but surely gain control over our anger, anguish, fears, phobias, anticipatory anxieties, greed, etc.
Enhances immunity

    All body parts get more oxygen and toxins are flushed out of the system with daily practice of Pranayama. The enhanced bodily resistance power due to rejuvenation of cells helps us conquer many diseases. No wonder Pranayama experts were striving for a mass attempt to perform Pranayama when we were hit by severe epidemic of swine flu. Digging well upon facing utter scarcity of water is never good than to be in a position to face anything. Immunity booster life force is instilled with every type of Pranayama, be it Kapalbhati or Anulom-Vilom.

Improves digestive system

    Pranayama does mild to moderate massage to entire gastrointestinal tract. The people suffering from any kind of gastric or intestinal disorder get benefited with Pranayama. People with constipation and hyperacidity never feel the need to take laxative or antacid once they start practicing Pranayama daily.

Brain Observation During Practice

The previous pranayama brain studies simply compare people who do and who do not practice pranayama. However, it is also interesting to observe brain activity while practicing pranayama. One study measured brain activity using an EEG. When practicers began their pranayama exercises, the EEG revealed an increase in both alpha and beta activity. What this means is that pranayama increases two kinds of brain activity, and what is so interesting about this is that these two types of brain activity are generally related to increased awareness and increased relaxation.
                Pranayama causes both types of activity to increase, which means that pranayama helps one become more alert, while simultaneously becoming more relaxed. Yogis see this as the ideal state of the mind.


In yoga communities, pranayama is believed to be an important component of overall health and well- being. It's only with the advent of technologies that can directly observe brain activity that scientists have been able to prove that pranayama has the physical effect that yogis have always claimed that it has.