Surya Namaskar - How to do Sun Salutation with Steps

Surya Namaskar - How to do Sun Salutation with Steps
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
Last Updated: 21-07-2023

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Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation, is a popular yoga sequence that consists of a series of 12 postures or asanas. It is performed in a flowing manner, combining breath and movement, and is traditionally done facing the rising or setting sun as a form of worship and gratitude to the sun.

Here are the steps to perform Surya Namaskar:

Step 1: Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

  • Stand at the front of your yoga mat with your feet together and palms together in front of your chest in a prayer position.
  • Take a few deep breaths here, centering yourself and setting an intention for your practice.

Step 2: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

  • Inhale deeply as you raise your arms up overhead and arch your back slightly.
  • Keep your biceps close to your ears and look up towards your hands.

Step 3: Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

  • Exhale as you hinge at the hips, bending forward and bringing your hands down to touch the floor or your shins.
  • If needed, you can bend your knees slightly to ease into the stretch.

Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

  • Inhale as you step your right leg back into a lunge position.
  • Keep your left knee directly above your left ankle, and look up with your chest open.

Step 5: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

  • Exhale as you step your left leg back to meet the right, coming into a high plank position.
  • Lift your hips up and back, forming an inverted "V" shape with your body.

Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight-Limbed Pose)

  • Gently lower your knees to the floor while keeping your hips up, and exhale as you lower your chest and chin to the mat.
  • Your hands, chest, and chin should be touching the floor while your hips are slightly elevated.

Step 7: Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

  • Inhale as you slide forward and lower your hips to the mat.
  • Press your palms into the floor and lift your chest up, keeping your elbows close to your body.

Step 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

  • Exhale as you tuck your toes and lift your hips up and back into Downward Facing Dog again.

Step 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose) - other side

  • Inhale as you step your right foot forward between your hands, coming into a lunge position on the other side.
  • Look up with your chest open, keeping your left leg extended back.

Step 10: Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

  • Exhale and step your left foot forward to meet the right, returning to the forward bend position.

Step 11: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)

  • Inhale deeply as you come up to stand, sweeping your arms overhead and arching your back slightly.

Step 12: Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

  • Exhale as you bring your palms together in front of your chest, returning to the prayer position.

To complete one full round of Surya Namaskar, you would repeat the same steps, starting with the opposite leg in step 4 (Ashwa Sanchalanasana) to balance both sides of the body.

It is essential to focus on your breath throughout the sequence and move with awareness. Surya Namaskar can be practiced for a specific number of rounds (e.g., 3, 6, or 12 rounds) depending on your comfort level and energy. It is an excellent way to warm up the body and prepare for a yoga practice or the day ahead.

12 Benefits of Surya Namaskar

Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, offers a multitude of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. This dynamic sequence is not only an excellent way to start the day but also a comprehensive practice that contributes to overall well-being. Here are some of the key benefits of practicing Surya Namaskar:

1. Physical Strength and Flexibility

Surya Namaskar engages various muscle groups, promoting strength and flexibility in the body. The combination of forward bends, backbends, and stretches helps to tone the muscles, improve joint mobility, and increase overall physical agility.

2. Improved Circulation

The dynamic nature of Surya Namaskar encourages blood flow throughout the body. This increased circulation supplies fresh oxygen and nutrients to the cells, improving the overall health of organs and tissues.

3. Enhanced Digestion

The asanas in Surya Namaskar stimulate the abdominal region, aiding digestion and promoting regular bowel movements. This can be particularly beneficial for those with digestive issues.

4. Stress Reduction

The synchronized movements and focus on the breath in Surya Namaskar promote relaxation and stress reduction. It calms the mind and soothes the nervous system, helping to alleviate anxiety and mental tension.

5. Cardiovascular Health

The series involves dynamic postures and rhythmic breathing, making it an effective cardiovascular workout. Regular practice can help improve heart health, regulate blood pressure, and boost overall cardiovascular endurance.

6. Weight Management

Surya Namaskar is a comprehensive practice that burns calories and tones muscles, making it an effective component of weight management and fitness programs.

7. Improved Posture

As Surya Namaskar incorporates a variety of postures that enhance body awareness, it can contribute to improved posture and alignment over time.

8. Mental Clarity and Focus

The meditative aspect of Surya Namaskar enhances mental clarity, concentration, and focus. Practicing it regularly can promote a calm and centered state of mind.

9. Better Breath Control

The synchronized breathwork during the sequence helps in developing better breath control, which is beneficial not only in yoga but also in daily life situations.

10. Spiritual Connection

Surya Namaskar is often practiced facing the sun, symbolizing reverence for the divine light. This spiritual aspect fosters a sense of gratitude, connection, and mindfulness during the practice.

11. Detoxification

The dynamic movements and deep breathing facilitate the elimination of toxins from the body, aiding in detoxification and promoting overall health.

12. Balance and Coordination

The fluid and balanced movements of Surya Namaskar improve coordination and balance, enhancing proprioception and body awareness.

It is essential to approach Surya Namaskar with proper alignment and awareness to maximize its benefits and prevent injury. Practicing under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor is recommended, especially for beginners or those with specific health concerns. With consistent practice, Surya Namaskar can become a transformative and empowering part of one s holistic health journey.

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