The Physical, Mental and Spiritual Benefits of Surya Namaskar: How to Practice it for Well-Being

A lady performing surya namaskar on a beach at sunrise

The Benefits of Surya Namaskar

If you’re looking for a simple, enjoyable way to start your day that provides a diverse range of health benefits, consider practicing Surya Namaskar. Surya Namaskar is the art of solar visualization and an integral part of yoga, which should be done in the morning.

It is a complete meditative technique in itself as it includes Asanas, Pranayama, and Mantras. In simple words, Surya Namaskar is a combination of 12 different postures, followed in a particular sequence with a specific breathing pattern, which will help vitalise you.

One circle of Surya Namaskar

A full round consists of performing two sets of this series. During the second set, practitioners move the opposite leg from the one involved in movement during the first set.

Posture 1: Pranamasana

Mantra: Om Hraam Mitraya Namah

  • Stand erect, ideally facing the morning sun.
  • Fold together both your hands in such a way that both the thumbs begin to touch your chest.
  • Expand your chest and pull in the belly gently.
  • Look straight ahead. The head, the neck and the body should remain in a straight line.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar | Pranamasana

Posture 2:  Ardhchankrasan (Backward bend – Inhale)

Mantra : Om Hreem Ravaye Namah

  • With your hands together raise your arms up in the air while you breathe in.
  • Bend over backwards forming an arch from the hands to your feet. Inhale and expand your chest at the same time. The flexibility of the spine is ensured in this posture.
  • Feel the stretch on entire front portion of body.

The key benefit here is the toning of muscles of abdomen, chest, forearms and upper arms.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar Posture 2 Ardhchankrasan

Posture 3: Padhastasan (forward bend – exhale)

Mantra : Om Hroom Suryaya Namah

  • Bring your hands down while you breathe out to touch the floor on either side of your feet. In this posture, it is imperative to keep your knees straight as you bend forward from the waist and your head as close as possible to the knee.
  • Engage the inner corset (TA).

This posture helps melt the excess fat around the stomach by aiding digestion and increases blood supply to facial muscles, eyes and brain.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar Posture 3 Padhastasan

Posture 4:  Ashwa Sanchalan (Backward bend – Inhale )

Mantra: Om Hraim Bhanave Namah

  • While breathing in, put your hands flush with the floor and lower your hips and stretch your left leg back, allowing it to balance on your toes, and your right leg bent in a crouching stance.
  • With your hands firmly on the ground and your arms straight as a die, raise your head upwards to face the sky.

This posture helps the flexibility of your spine and leg muscles, while boosting immunity from diseases.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar Posture 4 Ashwa Sanchalan

Posture 5:  Parvatasana (forward bend – exhale)

Mantra : Om Hroum Khagaye Namah

  • As you breathe out, let your hands stay firmly on the ground and push your right leg back parallel to the left. Make sure your feet firmly touch the ground and your hip raised high.
  • With your arms and knees straight lower your head to face your navel. Aim to press the heels down without straining so that your hamstrings get stretched.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar Posture 5 Parvatasana

Posture 6: Ashtang Namaskar

Mantra : Om Hraaha Pushne Namah

  • Hold your breath as you bring your hips down while keeping your hands and feet in the same position, and stretch your whole body near the floor.
  • With you facing down, bring your chest and knees to lightly brush the floor, and hold your hips just above it.
  • At this juncture, 8 points of your body are touching the floor – your palms, forehead, chest, knees and toes. Your arms and shoulders should bear the weight, while your hips remain up.
  • The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar Posture 6 Ashtang Namaskar

Posture 7: Bhujangasana : Backward bend – Inhale

Mantra: Om Hraam Hiranyagarbhaya Namah

  • This posture is a mere extension of Posture 6. Breathe in, straighten your arms and lift your chest upwards in an arching stance. Your head should be thrown back, facing the sky.
  • Your arms, at this point, carry the weight of your body, with your knees and toes resting on the floor.

This posture will enhance the elasticity of your lungs and strenghen your back muscles.

The Yog Circle | Posture 7 Bhujangasana

Posture 8: Parvatasana forward bend – exhale

Mantra : Om Hreem Marichye Namah

  • Bring your body back to Posture 5 by raising your hips and lowering your chest and head.
  • Keep your arms and knees straight while you do so, and place your feet flush with the floor.
  • Then lower you head to face your navel.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar Posture 8 Parvatasana

Posture 9:  Ashwa Sanchalan: Backward bend – Inhale

Mantra : Om Hroom Adityaya Namah

  • As you breathe in, return to a similar position as Posture 4, only this time you will be crouching on the left knee and stretching back your right leg.
  • Place your hands firmly on the ground and with the weight of your body on your arms move your chest forward and arch your head up to face the sky.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar Posture 9 Ashwa Sanchalan

Posture 10: Hastapadasan: forward bend – exhale.

Mantra: Om Hraim Savitre Namah

  • From here, flow back to Posture 3 while keeping your hands flush with the floor and bringing your right foot side by side with your left one.
  • As you straighten your knee, raise your back to arch in a standing position with your head as close as possible to the knee and your hands on either side of your feet.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar Posture 10 Hastapadasan

Posture 11: Ardhchandrasan: Backward bend – Inhale 

Mantra : Om Hroum Arkaya Namah

  • Take a deep breath and raise your arms up in the air as you straighten your back and gradually bend over backwards, akin to Posture 2.
  • Your knees should stay straight all the while.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar Posture 11 Ardhchandrasan

Posture 12: Pranamasana

Mantra: Om Hraaha Bhaskaraya Namah

  • Bring yourself to Posture 1 from here with your hands folded before your chest in prayer.
  • Your spine should stay erect, your knees straight and your eyes shut in meditation.

With Posture 12 you complete one full circle of Suryanamaskar. From here you can flow back to Posture 2 to continue the routine. However, always follow up your Suryanamaskar regime with Shavasana.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar Posture 12 Pranamasana


In this posture, you lay down on the floor with your legs and arms apart, your palms facing the sky, and eyes deep shut. Breathe in and out heavily and try to focus your thoughts on something happy. Stay on this way for a few minutes and you will feel a sense of calm run down your body like a drug.

Surya Namaskar is an exercise in itself, but it is also sometimes used as a warm up for other, more strenuous workouts. You can also perform Surya Namaskar at the end of other exercise routines as a way to relax and wind down. One of the best things about Surya Namaskar is how flexible and versatile a form of exercise it is for individuals at all fitness levels.

Incorporating Pranayamas and Mantras with Surya Namaskar


Synchronization of breathing with physical postures is an important aspect of the practice. The secret of correct and deep breathing is not so much in the method of inhalation as in the exhalation. It is necessary to exhale slowly through the nose and to press in the stomach. It is achieved almost automatically while doing the Namaskar.


Mantras are an integral part of performing the Surya Namaskar. Chanting mantras with awareness brings about a sense of well being and calmness, and a connection with higher forces. Mantras are combinations of sounds which are designed to produce a specific effect on the mind and its functioning.

Mantras are formulated from letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, each letter having its own particular vibrational frequency and corresponding effect on the consciousness.

The energy hidden behind the structure of the mantra is of significance. It produces a tremendous impact, often in a highly subtle manner, when uttered in the prescribed manner and sequence

Surya namaskar mantra has three parts:

  • Aum, Om
  • Beej Akshar
  • Names of Surya god
1. Aum, or Om

Om is the pranava mantra, that which pervades life, or runs through prana, ie breath.

Aum is said to be the primordial sound that was present at the creation of the universe. It is said to be the original sound that contains all other sounds, all words, all languages and all mantras.

2. Beej akshar

The beeja mantras are evocative sounds that have no literal meaning in themselves, but set up very powerful vibrations of energy within the mind and body.

‘Beej’ means a seed. When you see a seed, you don’t get an idea of its capability, but given proper circumstances, the seed develops into a full grown tree with leaves, flowers and fruits. Thus a seed contains a complete plan to produce a tree. Likewise the beej akshar contain tremendous potential to strengthen the body and the mind.

Each chakra is associated with a beej mantra and has an emotional quality.

Thus chanting the beej mantra aids:

  • In the efficient functioning of the glands related to the respective chakras
  • Enhances the emotional and spiritual qualities related to the chakras

The beej mantras associated with Surya Namaskar are :

Hraam, Hreem, Hroom, Hraim, Hroum, Hrah

  • h = represents Akash, or the Mahapran. The Heart is the source of its pronunciation. It empowers the heart to perform all its functions in a better manner.
  • r = It represents the element ‘Fire’, hence it is called Agni-Beej. The centre of the forehead is the source of its pronunciation. The palate and the brain are gently buffeted by the vibration. The result is good taste and better intellect.
  • Swar (Vowel) is a sound pronounced with minimum friction in the vocal cord.
  • When long Eee is uttered the minute vibrations work upon the palate, the vocal cord and the nasal area making the passage clear of mucus, soft and strong. This improves the functioning of the Anahat and Swadishthan chakra.
  • When long Ooo is uttered, the minute vibrations work upon the stomach, small intestine, pancreas making the digestive system strong. This improves the functioning of the Manipur chakra.
  • When the combined vowel is uttered, as in Hraim, the minute vibrations work upon kidney and urinary passage making the organs strong.
  • Ah in Hrah creates strong vibrations in your upper chest and throat, helpsing to overcome coughs, cold and bronchitis.
  • When this combined vowel, as in Hroum, is uttered, the minute vibrations work upon the excretory system making the organs strong and sensitive. This energizes the Mooladhar and Swadishthan chakras.

The 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 not only physical health benefits, but also mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.

Physical Health Benefits of Surya Namaskar

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, practicing Surya Namaskar stimulates and conditions virtually every system in the body.

How it helps the cardiovascular system:

  1. It oxygenates the blood and helps strengthen the heart.
  2. It also helps the body to get rid of various toxic substances produced as a result of metabolic processes.

Surya Namaskar’s benefits for the digestive system and the nervous system include stimulation of the lymphatic system and its support for the health of the respiratory system.

How it helps the endocrine system:

  • It enables the various endocrinal glands to function properly, which include the thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands.
  • It also helps the adrenal gland, testes and ovaries.
  • It helps regulate irregular menstrual cycles in women.
  • Regular practice also reduces the fear of pregnancy and can ensure easy childbirth.

Surya Namaskar also helps the body to reduce fat, keeping the body in shape and staying healthy.

Mental Health Benefits of Surya Namaskar

  • Surya Namaskar helps in relaxation of the mind and can help people cope up with insomnia and other sleep related disorders.
  • It greatly improves sleep quality.
  • Increased production of serotonin will help you feel good about yourself and the world.
  • It makes the person capable of combating anxiety, stress and depression.

Surya Namaskar and Spirituality

Surya Namaskar provides health benefits for individuals regardless of their level of interest in its spiritual benefits or their religious inclinations. Whether you consider it of spiritual benefit or not, learning the poses and practicing them regularly is incredibly gratifying and humbling.

Over time, practicing Surya Namaskar will help you achieve a sense of well-being and purpose. It is a spiritually uplifting exercise and promotes a keen awareness of the interconnectedness of your body, mind and breath.


Those with a heart condition, arthritis or slip-disk, need their doctor’s consent before starting the routine. Falling for Surya Namaskar’s surging popularity and jumpstarting a schedule is most definitely not the best thing to do for a fitness novice. If you have been gravely out of form in a way that you haven’t stretched your muscles in ages, first give your body some time to open up, which you can do with some flexibility and stamina-building exercises before embarking on the more arduous ‘Surya Namaskar’.

Once your body has registered a certain fitness level, you can begin with a set of three Surya Namaskars in the first instance. Then, increase it to five, then ten and more depending on your stamina.

Focus on getting each posture right rather than clocking up numbers, for the very essence of Surya Namaskar, this integral yogic ritual, lies in perfecting every move.


Surya Namaskar, a transformative practice, offers a host of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Whether you approach it for its spiritual depth or its physical advantages, regular practice can lead to a profound sense of well-being and purpose.

The Yog Circle | Surya Namaskar


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