The very name of this yoga implies that this is a tribute to the Sun. This however does not mean that this yoga can be done only in the morning or at sunrise. Interestingly we can surya namaskar anytime and anywhere. Surya namaskar does not need any setup or props.
This is a 12 step excercise which streches, strengthens and works on the abs. Surya namaskar is for the overall goodness of health and mind.
The 12 steps of Sun salutation or Surya namaskar needs to be done in a sequence as follows:
1) Prayer pose: This is the pose to prepare you for the yoga. Stand with your feet together, your body weight distributed evenly. Relax your shoulders and inhale deeply as you raise your arms from the sides. As you exhale rotate your arms forward bringing the palms of the hands together in thw the prayer position to rest in front of you.
2) Raised arm pose: Inhale and while doing so raise your arms once more and bend back, keeping the biceps close to the ears . Here the stress is on streching the body from the tips of the fingers to the heel.
3) Hand to feet pose: As you exhale bring the bent body forward bending waist down and touching the ground near the feet. If one feels that straight legs are painful one can bend the knees a little but if possible the hands should not move since the following pose require the hands to be next to the feet
4) Equestrian pose: Breathing in strech out the right leg as far as possible and then bring the knee to the ground / floor and look up. Exhale
5) Stick position: Inhale deep and stretch out the left leg. Take the knee off the floor and keep your suspended in a straight line with only the arms and the toes supporting the body. Your arms should be perpendicular (90 degree angle) or placed straight up on the floor
6) Eight points salute: Exhale and slowly bring your knees to the floor. Take your hips back slowly, slide forward and rest your chest and chin on the floor. 8 parts of the body should be touching the floor — hands, chin, chest, knees and feet.
7) Cobra pose: Slide forward and raise the chest up into the cobra position. In this pose the elbows can be kept bent. The effort should be towards pushing the cheat out and the navel down
8) Mountain pose: Inhale and push the hips out and tailbone out while pushing the chest down. Exhale
9) Equestrian pose: Inhale and pull the right leg in between hands, left leg knees touching the floor and the hips pushed down
10) Hand to foot pose: Now bring the left leg forward without moving the hands. Gently straighten the knees and try to touch the nose to the knees
11) Raised arm pose: Straighten the spine and take the arms up and stretch back
12) Tadasana : Now straighten the body and bring down the hands and relax.
A fast paced surya namaskar can be quite tiring in a good way. For those who hate gyming or going outdoors for workout this is the best way to workout indoors!