how to practice surya namaskarBy Dr. Sohail Ebady, M.D.

The sun symbolizes the spiritual consciousness. One of the ways of honoring the sun is through the Surya Namaskar. Do your Surya Namaskar gracefully if you strive to achieve a higher target of Surya Namaskar.

Although Sun Salutation could be practiced at any time of the day, it is a good idea to do it at the time of sunrise or sunset, facing the sun. The sun salutation, a great way to warming up the body, stretching and strengthening muscles and establishing your breathing rhythm, is a combination of Yoga poses and Pranayama. There are two ways of performing Surya Namaskar. A basic sun salutation (variation A) consists of 10 poses practiced in sequence. On the other hand, variation B consists of 12 steps.

12 steps of Surya Namaskar


1. Stand erect with legs together, the hands are joined together around the center of the chest and toes should be making contact with each other. Bring the palms together to Namaskara Mudra or Anjali mudra, the hand gesture that evokes greeting another being with the utmost respect and adoration for the Divine in all. Now raise the hands above the head while inhaling and bend the trunk backwards.

2. Exhale and bend forward around the waist till palms touch the ground in line with the toes. Your forehead could touch the knees, if possible. But don’t do the poses with a jerk or with force.

3. In this step breath in and draw the right leg backwards. Keep the left leg is perpendicular to the ground. All the body weight is on the left leg but the thigh and knee are a bit raised up inwardly. Look up. This is the third posture of the Surya Namaskar series and it’s called Ashva Sanchalanasana, a low lunge pose.

4. Now, you can exhale and take the left leg back into plank position, resting the body on palms and toes. Make sure that your spine and legs are within one straight line and support your weight on hands and feet.

5. Inhale and tuck in your toes while bending your knees and pushing back to the extended child’s position as you rest your forehead on your mat. Breathing into the abdomen as you extend it forward in to the breastbone, creating length through the upper body. Then relax in normal breathing.

6. Exhale without moving the position of hands and feet, drop the knees toward the mat. Bring the chest and your chin forward and down toward the floor and place the chest right between your hands. The hips should stay high.

7. Inhale and slowly lift your head, chest and abdomen while keeping your navel on the floor. Arch the back as far as you can until the elbows are straight. But never overdo the stretch or overstrain yourself.

8. Exhale, while bringing the hips and the tail bone up, push the head down, chest downwards in an ‘inverted V’ (/) posture.

9. Relax in Child’s Pose.

10. Inhale and draw your right leg in between the two hands. Keep the left leg is perpendicular to the ground. All the body weight is on the left leg but the thigh and knee are a bit raised up inwardly. Look up.

11. Exhale, while drawing the left foot forward next to the right foot and reach down with your upper

body to touch the forehead to the knees as in step 2.

12. Inhale coming back up to stand erect with legs and palms together to Namaskara Mudra.

This completes one round of Surya Namaskar. 3 – 12 rounds of the sequence is usually repeated.

Video description: How to do Surya Namaskar – Dr. Sohail Ebady with his students last 28 September to 25 October 2013.


• A good way to stay in shape

• Stretching and toning the muscles in your entire body

• An excellent cardiovascular workout

• Improves awareness and concentration as it’s designed to center you in your heart and focus your mind

• Strengthens the spine, stimulates and balances the systems of your body


– It should not be practiced if you are suffering from fever, acute inflammation, boils, rashes, high blood pressure (if it is uncontrolled even with a prescription), sciatica, severe back problems, slipped disc, coronary artery diseases, hernia, or intestinal tuberculosis.

– If you have back conditions (Disc prolapse, sciatica etc.) you should seek an advice from an experienced yoga instructor.

– This practice should be avoided during menstruation.

– Pregnancy, practiced with care until the beginning of the twelfth week. Following childbirth the sun salutation may be commenced approximately 7- 8 weeks after delivery.

About the author

Dr. Sohail Ebady, M.D. has been a yoga teacher for 21 years and hypnotherapist for 20 years. As he recognized the need for these seemingly separate sciences to be intertwined he created the Patanjali Institute to impart Yoga Teacher Training in combination with Hypnotherapy training to students who wish to become effective healers. Intensive courses are held near Chiang Mai/Thailand and in Candidasa Beach near Ubud/Bali. More infos you can find here: This combination of yoga teacher training and hypnotherapy in a single course is one-of-a-kind.


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