How To Do Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) – Benefits & 12 Steps Guide For Beginners

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salution is one of the most talked about asanas in yoga practice. In Hindu mythology, the Sun or Surya, is a symbol of good health and eternal life. Surya Namaskar means worshipping or offering Pranaam” for its life giving energy and keeping us alive. It is also called the “Sarvang Sunder Vyayam” or “the best all round exercise” due to the variety of bends and stretches involved.

What is Surya Namaskar?

This pose is combination of 8 different yoga poses consist of 12 steps performed sequentially, first from the right leg and then from the left leg. You perform total 24 count of steps to complete one full cycle of Surya Namaskar. It takes roughly 30-40 seconds to complete one cycle from one leg, after one cycle give your body rest of 1-2 min to align and then start with another leg. These poses are very basic and can be performed by the person of any age and gender.

How Surya Namaskar is beneficial in modern lifestyle?

Modern lifestyle is full of sedentary jobs, sitting for long periods, staring at your computer screen which result in frequent headaches, back & neck pain and weak eye sight. Surya Namaskar helps to increase blood circulation, decrease stress, relax your muscles, improve joint flexibility and aid the digestive system. It is a stand-alone full-body workout which can be practiced without going out or even leaving your workplace in less time and which takes care of the physical as well as mental health and improve efficieny.

How To Do Surya Namaskar Sequence?

Generally we start this pose from right leg, however, there is no such rule. It is recommended to perform at sunrise that is when the Sun’s rays are most rejuvenating, divine, and energetic to the body and mind. You can also do it during evening after coming from office to unwind and relax.

Steps to do Sun Salutation

  • Pranam Asana (Prayer pose)
  • Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
  • Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
  • Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

Read more – How to do Ashwa Sanchalanasana?

  • Dandasana/Phalakasana (Plank Pose)
  • Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight Points Salute)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog Pose)
  • Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose) – repeat
  • Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose) – repeat
  • Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose) – repeat
  • Pranam Asana (Prayer pose) – repeat

Above mentioned 12 steps complete one cycle of Sun Salutatio from one leg. You can do as many cycles as you can keeping in mind the body strength.

There is a very beautiful infographic on Fitsri explaining all the above steps beautifully.

Surya Namaskar step by step - all 12 steps

Surya Namaskar step by step – all 12 steps image credit:

Surya Namaskar Benefits

  • Surya Namaskar improves the flexibility of the spine and joints
  • Helps to shed excess fat
  • Increases the scalp’s blood flow and prevent hair issues such as premature greying, thinning, and loss.
  • During Surya Namaskar you do a variety of bends and stretches that tones the various parts of the body especially flab.
  • Improves blood circulation.
  • Improves Digestive System
  • Surya Namaskar is said to help in maintaining better menstrual cycle.
  • The asana improves the neurological system’s function and makes you relax which further helps to bring sugar level down.
  • Improves health of lungs and further improves breathing process.
  • It calms the mind, enhances sleep patterns and cure insomnia.
  • It increases cardiac activity
  • It promotes good sleep.
  • It improves memory.

Surya Namaskar FAQ

A 10-minute regime of Surya Namaskar burns 139 calories.

Yes, there are few variations of this pose developed over the time by different people such as Moon Salutation.

Since sun salutation builds heat in the body, the sequence is absolutely capable of fat-burning. 60 minutes sessions of sun salutation daily can lose 3.5 kg of weight in one month.

Samarth Ramdas

First hour of sunrise facing the east. At this time, UV radiation of the sun is less harmful and mind is calm. However, sun salutation can be practiced in the evening too. Ideally, the best place to practice sun salutation is outdoor under an open sky, on a terrace or park or at home with an EAST facing window.

Ideally, the sun salutation is practiced in the morning after cleaning up the bowels. But if you’re practicing Surya namaskar other times of the day, make sure there is at least of 4 hours gap in between your last meal and the practice.


It’s best practice to not eat or drink water just before and after sun salutation as it may make you feel heavy during practice. Wait for a minimum of 30 minutes to cool down the body after completing rounds and then eat.

Gautam Trehan

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