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Obesity and Surya Namaskar

The dynamic series known as Surya Namaskara (Salutation to the Sun) is the best way to burn the calories and reduce weight. Surya Namaskara is full Yoga by itself. It tones up the whole body & has a unique influence on the endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive and nervous system, helping to correct metabolic imbalances that cause and perpetuate obesity. Being a dynamic practice, it is also an excellent exercise equated to cycling, jogging, or swimming. Practiced daily, it will not only help you in reducing weight but will bring flexibility to your spine and joints. It will rejuvenate you & bring in beauty and longevity. It is best done while the stomach is empty.

The Sun Salutation is a graceful sequence of twelve positions performed as one continuous exercise. Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing.


Position of Readiness:
Stand erect near the top of the mat with both the feet together, arms are at your sides, fingers together, legs straight and start.

1. Namaskarasana (Prayer Pose)
Bring the palms together in prayer position in the middle of your chest where heart is located; make sure your weight is evenly distributed.
Let the breathing be normal.

2. Hastottanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Breathe in deeply.
Extend both the hands forward & then above the head.
When both hands reach near both ears on the sides of the head, arch back from the waist, as far as you can go, pushing the hips out, legs straight.
By the time you have stretched your arm, you should go on inhaling the breath.
Do not bend the arms from the elbows.

Do not bend the head on the backward side before both the hands are positioned on the side of the head. This is because the centre of the body is situated in the head. If head bends towards the back earlier, the centre will go eccentric and there are chances of getting toppled over. Hence, understand the instructions carefully and bend the head only when it is in the centre of both the hands.

3. Hastapadasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
· With both the hands remain­ing in Namaskara position, stand straight
· Breathe out.
· Bend forward at the waist with your head & go on re­leasing the breath.
· Once you reach down, separate the hands, place them down on the floor on both the sides of the feet.
· By the time your hands touch the ground, you should complete exhaling.
· Knees should remain straight & try to touch the forehead with the knees. If you are not that flexible, then just do the best you can.

This type of position is not easily possible in the beginning. Do not get disheart­ened. Bend your knees if necessary. Make efforts but do not overstrain. Try to perform the pose as well as possible.

4. Ashwasanchalanasana (Lunge / Equestrian pose)
Lower your hips and move the right leg away from the body in a wide backward step.
Let the right knee touch the ground.
The toes of right leg should be touching the ground, heel should be on top.
Left knee should come near the chest, and should be between the two hands and pointing upward.
Now breathe in.
Look up and arch back by lifting your chin up.

5. Dandasana (Plank Pose)
Hold the breath in.
Bring the other leg back and put it alongside the right leg.
Both the knees should be straight, up & off the floor. Back also should be straight.
The weight of the whole body will be supported on both the hands and the toes of the feet.
The whole body should remain in one line parallel to the floor and look at ground between the hands as you are in push-up position.

6. Sashtanga Namaskara asana (Salute with Eight Parts)
Now exhale.
Put your knees, chest and forehead to the floor, keeping your hips slightly off the floor and your toes curled inward.
Both the hands should be on both sides of the chest and should be parallel to each other; the elbows should be pointing upward.

7. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Now keep the hips also down to the floor; the body position is absolutely straight & flat on the floor.

If your hands are not under the chest, adjust them & keep them directly under the chest, keep the elbows half bent & parallel to the ground.

Breathe in deeply.
Equally, share the weight of the body on both the hands and raise forehead, head and chest up to the navel by bending the head backward.
Do not straighten the arms. Elbows should be half bent and touching the body.
Keep the fingers and the thumbs of both the hands pointing outward; palms should be resting fully on the ground and your toes curled under.

8. Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Now exhale.
Share your weight on the palms of both the hands and on the toes of the feet, raise the knees, back, buttocks and chest into an inverted 'V' shape, forming an upward arch.
Keep the head in between both the arms, push the body little more backwards and up so that both the heels of the feet could touch the ground.

Hereafter numbers 9, 10, 11 and 12 Asanas are repetition of Asanas Nos. 4, 3, 2, and 1 respectively.

9. Ashvasanchalanasana (Lunge / Equestrian pose)
Remember the leg, which was drawn backward in the 4th position. Yes, that was the right leg. Allow right leg to remain straight backward.
Now taking a wide forward step bring the left leg in between both the hands. The right knee should touch the ground. Left knee should remain in between both the hands.
Look up and arch back.

10. Hastapadasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
Bring the right foot forward in line with the left foot and bend down from the waist. Knees should remain straight.
Both the hands should be on both the sides of the feet as in position 3.
Try to bring the forehead closer to knees without excess strain.

11.Hastottanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Now here without changing the position, first bring both hands to­gether in prayer position again, head lying in between the arms.
Come up while extending your arms forward, up, over your head then bend back slowly with feet together from the waist, as in position 2.
Initially assume stand­ing position with head and legs in a straight line and then bend with the hands and head behind ensuring that knees and elbows do not bend.

12. Namaskarasana (Prayer Pose)
Now exhale.
Return to the first position (standing position) with palms together in the middle of your chest in pose of Namaskara.
Then bring the arms down by the sides.

This constitutes one Surya Namaskara. One round of Surya Namaskara consists of two sequences, the first leading with the right leg (in position 4) and the second leading with the left leg. With each Surya Namaskara keep alternating your legs.

Keep your hands in one place from positions 3 to 10 and try to co-ordinate your movements with your breathing.
Start by practicing four rounds and gradually build up to twelve rounds.
Irrespective of the number of rounds you are performing, it is a must to do Shavasana after that.
People with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary heart diseases, hernia or back problem should check with the doctor & practice Surya Namaskara with guidance from qualified & experienced yoga experts.

Courtesy: Dr Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti

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