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SURYA NAMESKAR

In the system of Surya Nameskar, there are several postures along with rhythmic breathing and prayer
full of contemplation of the divine power that Sun represents. Surya Nameskar is sometimes also know
as Sun Salutation. Surya Nameskar is considered to be the most important among all Yoga and
considered to be the base of all Yoga. Surya Nameskar is done facing the rising Sun, bathing our whole
body in the life-giving rays of the Sun. Surya Nameskar consists of 12 postures or stages.
Before undergoing the 12 postures one may chant the prayer to the Sun God as follows:
"Om Suryam Sundaralokanathamamritam Vedantasaram Sivam,
Jnanam Brahmamayam Suresamamalam Lokaikachittam Svayam,
Indradityanaradhipam Suragurum Trailokyachudamanim,
BrahmaVishnuSivasvarupahridayam Vande Sada Bhaskaram."
Meaning thereby, I always adore Surya, the Sun, the beautiful Lord of the world, the immortal, the
quintessence of the Vedanta, the auspicious, the absolute knowledge, of the form of Brahman, the Lord
of the Gods, ever-pure, the one true consciousness of the world itself, the Lord of Indra, the Gods and
men, the preceptor of the Gods, the crest-jewel of three worlds, the very heart of the forms of Brahma,
Vishnu and Siva, the giver of light.
Now with the actual Surya Nameskar
1. Stand upright. Put both palms of the hands together as in saying "Nameskar" in front of the
chest.
2. Inhaling all the way, swing your arms up above your head(open hands), bending the trunk from
the base gradually up the vertebrae as far back as possible. Stretch as much as possible.
3. Now without bending your knees, touch your toes with your fingers. Try to bury the face
between the knees and try to make your hands and head parallel to the legs.
4. Throw the right leg back, while inhaling, flex the left leg at the knee and let the thigh be in close
contact with the torso. Look upright. Inhale during the process.
5. Throw the left leg back, straighten the back and with palms holding ground, straighten them
too. Look upright. Exhale during the process.
6. Now after a breath, along with a out breath, flex at the elbows. Dip the whole body and touch
the ground with your forehead, chest, palms, knees and toes. Keep the tail part of body at
highest possible position giving a pelvic tilt. No other parts of body should touch the ground
except the ones said above.
7. Now swing the head up and backwards, straighten the arms and inhale bending the spine
backwards as much as possible.
8. Now as you breath out, swing the hip up and back assuming the inverted V position. The feet
and palm should be resting on the floor.
9. Bring the right leg forward, foot flat on the floor between the hands(as in step 4 but with
different leg)

10. Bring the left leg forward, knees should not be bent now and finger should touch the feet with
the head down(as in step3)
11. Now stretch your body and swing your arms upright as much as possible(as in step 2)
12. Stand upright and now close the palms of both hands, now reassuming the first step.
One may train oneself in doing Surya Nameskar three to four times at initial stages and in long-run it is
advised to do the Surya Nameskar at least 12 times. After doing Surya Nameskar 12 times one should lie
down flat on their back touching ground from head to feet. This ashan where one lays down is known as
Savaasana(corpse asana).
It is mentioned in scriptures that Surya Nameskar should be done first and foremost before doing any
other forms of Yoga since this Yoga stretches all parts of the body and spine and increases the
awareness of the sadhak.
Sun God represents the visible form of the invisible all mighty Lord and is worshipped as such all over
different religions.

PRANAYAMA (The breathing exercises in Yoga)


Prana means the vitality of life which expresses itself through the various centers of the body. In simple
Prana means energy. Pranayama means the regulation and control of prana(the vital energy) in three
stages; inhalation, retention and exhalation of breath.
While practicing pranayama heat is generated inside the body and specific pranayama has specific effect
on the body. Also during pranayama large amount of oxygen is taken inside our mind and body, and in
turn larger amount of carbon dioxide is expelled from the body. One of the biggest disease cancer is
caused due to lack of oxygen in the body and yogis have devised pranayama exercises that can even
cure cancer. We all know that like blood is food for the body likewise oxygen is food for our brain, and
with continuous practice of pranayama one can achieve state where dormant centers of brains can be
activated and full functioning of our brain can be achieved.
Pranayama not only has positive effects rather pranayama starts as a curative effect on the body.
Various diseases have been recorded to have been cured using the pranayama techniques. Pranayama
has its effect not only on the breathing mechanism but also on other organs of the body. The heart,
kidney, stomach, liver all are in tuned in a balance since pranayama leads to higher oxidation with
greater speed and helps expel impurities faster than normal. Pranayama increases appetite, tones up
the instestines and improves peristalsis, removing constipation.
Prana(life force) has a very close relation to the mind. As prana of the subtle pranic body (pranamaya
kosha) is intrinsically linked to the other koshas; anamaya kosha(food body/physical body),manomaya
kosha(mental body), etc., and they are influenced by prana.
While practicing pranayama mind becomes thoughtless and tranquility can be achieved and hence
pranayama makes a solid foundation for advance form of meditations. Sometimes we see yogis doing
extraordinary physical activities like sleeping on sharp nails, walking on fire, breaking concrete with
mere hands and so on, these are all achieved by having control over the vital energy which can be done
by pranayama.
Techniques of Pranamaya
There are 3 essentials of pranayama; asana, mudra and process. Pranayama should be done in early
morning after attending morning duties like washing and bathing, also body should be free from waste
materials i.e., lower intestine should be as clear as possible. An open, well ventilated room is a must for
practicing pranayama. Pranayama should be done in a dry atmosphere, i.e. humidity should be low and
one must be in empty stomach or at least 4 hours of meal should have passed.
The best posture of pranayama is padmasana(lotus posture), siddhasana(adept's posture) and
sukhasana, but the main thing to understand is one must be very comfortable. First and foremost thing
that one must keep in mind is that one should have the spinal cord straight and vertical. The neck and
head should also remain erect. And while performing pranayama right hand fingers should be used in
order to block either of the nostrils as per necessity.

There are three stages in all forms of pranayama; pooraka, rechaka and kumbhaka. When we breathe in
or inhale, this is called "pooraka", and when we breathe out or exhale, it is known as "rechaka". When
we hold the breathe, it is called "kumbhaka". Kumbhaka is of two kinds. To hold the breathe after
breathing in is "antar kumbhaka" and to hold the breathe outside after exhalation is "bahir kumbhaka"
Some of the important pranayamas are Sukhpoorvaka, Samaveta, Sahita, Nadi Shodhana, Bhramari,
Ujjayi, Sheetali, Sheetkari, Bhastrika, Suryabheda, Kewali, Plawini , Chaturtha and Kapalabhati.
1. Sukhpoorvaka pranayama
Here one nostril performs pooraka and the other nostril performs rechaka. This means that
pooraka will be performed by the same nostril which performs rechaka. By practicing this
balance of the Sun element and Moon element in the body is maintained. One gets free from
congested nostrils and cold is cured faster. Those who are susceptible to coughs must practice
this daily for at least 5 to 7 minutes. Also anger can be easily controlled with this pranayama.
Method: Sit in a comfortable asana, sit calmly for a minute and prepare yourself for the
pranayama. Now lift right hand and close the right nostril and breathe in through the left nostril
only. Take as much air as possible slowly and when the lungs are full of air, close the left nostril.
Now open the right nostril and breathe out slowly. Now having the left nostril closed breathe in
slowly with the right nostril and after lungs are full close the right nostril and breathe out slowly
with the left nostril after closing the right nostril. This makes a single cycle. Repeat this for 15-20
times.
2. Samveta pranayama
This is useful for overall balance of the body and this should be done after practicing
Sukhpoorvaka pranayama.
Method: Pooraka through both nostrils simultaneously. Take as much air as possible into the
lungs. Hold the breathe for a while; 1-2 seconds and do rechaka with both nostrils
simultaneously. Repeat this 10-12 times.
3. Sahita pranayama
In this pranayama, kumbhaka has been added to the pooraka and rechaka process. In this
process kumbhaka is of the main concern and one should not force oneself to hold breathe for
longer time rather time of kumbhaka should be elongated over practice.
Method: Breathe in(pooraka) as much as possible and perform kumbhaka(hold breathe) by
closing nostrils with the fingers as long as possible. Now let go of the nostril and slowly breathe
out. This makes a single cycle. Repeat this about 6-7 times.
4. Nadi Shodhana pranayama
Here duration of pooraka, kumbhaka and rechaka is the ratio of 1:4:2 and breathe is done
through alternate nostrils like sukhpoorvaka pranayama. Nadi shodhana pranayama is of three
categories: Uttama(superior), Madhyama(medium) and Kanistha(inferior).This pranayama
improves the pulse and casts off all impurities. By attaining perfection in this pranayama the
body becomes light and one gains full control over the nerves of the body.
Method: Breathe in through the left nostril closing the right nostril while counting 1 to 4
mentally. Retain the breathe while counting 1 to 16 by closing both nostrils. The retention

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should be so timed that it takes 4 times the time taken for inhalation. Then exhale with the right
nostril counting mentally from 1 to 8.
Repeat this by doing pooraka with the right nostril, then kumbhaka, and then rechaka with the
left nostril, with the same ratio as before, i.e. 4:16:8
Bhramari pranayama
Bhramari in Sanskrit means Bee. Through practice of this pranayama all diseases of throat and
larynx becomes stronger, and the voice becomes sweet. This pranayama also removes any
diseases in the head region. Bhramari pranayama can also be practices during the night time.
Mastery of this pranayama allows practitioner to enter the state of Samadhi.
Method: Close both ears with the index fingers, close eyes with second fingers and with third
fingers half-close the nostrils. Take full breathe slowly and hold just for a short while and
breathe out with a humming sound like that of a bee. The humming sound should continue till
the breathing out is completed. The mouth should remain closed but the teeth should be slightly
apart. The tongue should not move, while the mind should remain fully concentrated on the
humming sound. The continuity and uniformity of the humming sound should not break till the
end. This pranayama should be practiced for 5-10 minutes.
Ujjayi pranayama
This pranayama is most useful to those who have problems related to throat. This pranayama is
especially useful to those who are very sensitive to cold and suffer from cold. This pranayama is
curative for those who have enlarged tonsils and preventive for those who are prone to
influenza or bronchitis. People who are into singing must try this pranayama. Excessive
hoarseness of vocal can be reduced. It also produces good effects on diseases of ear, nose and
throat and cures the high blood pressure.
Method: The mouth should remain closed and all breathing should take place through the nose.
While inhaling, a sound similar to that of a snoring baby should be produced in the throat. To
produce this sort of sound, the underside of the tongue is kept touching the palate (upperside of
mouth) like in khechari mudra and the breathe is inhaled. Pooraka is done with a sound similar
to that of an idling steam engine, and after keeping the breathe inside for a while, rechaka
follows with the same sound. A hissing sound should invariably be produced. This should be
done 10-12 rounds daily.
Sheetali pranayama
This can be done to cure disease of throat and tounge. This has good effect on a sore throat and
tonsils. Sheetali, Sheetali and Ujjayi should be practiced for curing stammering. After attaining
mastery of sheetali pranayama, one can control hunger and thurst. Cough, biliousness,
constipation and indigestion all can be cured practice of this pranayama. This pranayama is bliss
for yogis. This is very useful for people having too much heated body temperature.
Method: Put out tongue and twist it so as to form a channel or a round tube. Inhale through the
tongue slowly and gently and fill up the lungs. Then exhale through the nose, while exhaling the
tongue should be taken in. This should be practiced 10-15 times daily.
Sheetkari pranayama

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In this pranayama, there is only pooraka through the mouth and rechaka through the nose,
there is no kumbhaka. This pranayama produces soothing and beneficial effects in diseases of
the mouth, throat and nose.
Method: The tongue should be inverted and its forepart should touch the palate, the upper and
lower teeth should be kept touching each other. The lips should remain open. Now breathe in
through the mouth with a hissing sound, the mouth and tongue should not move. And the
exhalation should be done through the nose. This should be done 10-15 times daily.
Bhastrika pranayama
This pranayama is considered one of the most important among all the pranayamas. However
those having problems of lungs and heart should not practice this. Also it is adviced not to
perform this pranayama when one is not in normal health. This pranayama is useful for ones
practicing Kundalini Yoga and Hatha Yoga. In this practice amount of inside breathe and outside
breathe should be equal and there should not be unusual pressure on the walls of the nose.
Bhastrika pranayama cures asthma and other respiratory troubles, however this should be
practiced under the guidance of an expert. A great supply of oxygen is pumped into the body
and greater amount of carbon dioxide is thrown out, blood is purified in a rapid rate and supply
over the parts of the body is increased.
Method: Breathe in slowly at first and breathe out at same pace. Expand and contract the
abdomen rhythmically along with the in and out breathe. The mouth should remain closed all
the time. After doing this for 4 to 5 times, the rapidity of pooraka and rechaka should be
gradually increased so that, after 12 to 15 times, the breathe should start flowing like a
blacksmith's air bag. ( Bhastrika means bellowing )
After performing this pooraka-rechaka combined process about 25 times without a break, take a
long pooraka and stop with antar kumbhaka. Stay in this state of antar kumbhaka as long as
possible. After that, breathe out and empty the lungs slowly and gradually. Rest for a while by
taking normal breathes. And then repeat the process.
Kewali pranayama
For concentration of mind this pranayama is very useful.
Method: While breathing in pronounce the word "So" and while breathing out pronounce the
word "Ham". Pronunciation can be done mentally or out loud, out loud is preferable.
The So-Ham is described as So meaning Shiva and Ham meaning myself, therefore this means
that I myself am Shiva.
Plawini pranayama
This cures all bowel troubles. It is very useful in curing indigestion and helps in curing hysteria.
Method: Go on drinking in air from mouth as much as possible until the stomach is filled with
air, then pass the air out through the mouth in such a way that all air taken in comes out
immediately.
Chaturtha pranayama
This pranayama helps to have a peace of mind.
Method: Time taken during pooraka and rechaka should be same. While breathing in one should
chant the word "Om" for a fixed number of time and while breathing out "Om" should be
chanted again in same number as done while breathing in.

13. Kapalabhati pranayama


This is one the processes known as Shat-kriyas (six acts) in Hatha Yoga. Those who are good in
Kapalabhati can do Bhastrika very easily. This exercise cleanes the skull, the respiratory system
and the nasal passages. It destroys disease of the phlegm. It removes the spasm in bronchial
tubes, consequently asthma is relieved and cured. The apices of the lungs get abundant oxygen.
Thereby they cannot afford favourable situation for tubercle bacilli (T.B). Consumption is cured
and lungs are considerably developed. Carbon dioxide is eliminated in a large scale. Blood is
purified and impurities are thrown out. Heart function properly. Circulatory, respiratory and
digestive systems are all toned up to a considerable degree.
Method: Sit comfortably and perform pooraka and rechaka slowly and in a rhythm first. Now
concentrate only on rechaka i.e breathing out. Breathe out vigorously. Concentrate only on
breathing out. With each out breathe your stomach should be pulled in, however this should not
be forcefully done rather with vigorous out breathe stomach should pull in by itself. This
pranayama is very useful and makes one full of vital energy and frees one from toxic waste.
Now let us see some other rare pranayamas
14. Murcha pranayama
Take a long breathe and retain the breathe. Do Jalandhara Bandha (by pressing the chin against
the chest). Only exhale slowly when you feel as though you are going to faint. This is called
Murcha(paralysed) kumbhaka since this makes the mind senseless and this pranayama is good
to release feel-good harmone.
15. Kevala Kumbhaka
There are two types of kumbhaka; Sahita and Kevala. Kumbhaka which is coupled with
inhalation and exhalation is termed as Sahita kumbhaka, and kumbhaka which is devoid of these
is called Kevala kumbhaka. Kevala means single/aloneness/perfect one.
By practice of Kevala kumbhaka, the kundalini is awakened. In Kevala kumbhaka, the breathe is
suddenly stopped without pooraka and rechaka. Practitioner can restrain one's breathe as long
as one desires through this kumbhaka and the state of Raja Yoga is easily achieved. Also with
this practice Sushumna becomes free from all obstacles and perfection in Hatha Yoga is easily
achieved.
This can be practiced 8 times a day, once in every 3 hours or 5 times a day; once early morning,
at noon, in the twilight, midnight and fourth quarter of the night.
One who knows Kevala pranayama is a real yogi and he is able to have mastery over all powers
that are available in the three worlds.

Things to remember while practicing pranayamas:


1. Pranayama should be practiced in a dry room, i.e no humidity since lungs will be in problem if
done in a humid environment. Also the room should be well-ventilated.
2. It is preferably that one stretches and do warm up exercises beforehand; Surya Nameskar must
be done.

3. One may never perform pranayamas with full stomach since the effect can be hazardious
sometimes. One may take tea or milk after practice and have meal only after about 45 minutes
of the pranayamas.
4. One must have sattvic foods like milk, fruits, green vegetables. And tamasik foods like meat, fish,
alcohol and smoking should be avoided, also too much chillies and oil should be avoided if one
wants to achieve perfection and awaken kundalini.
5. Practitioner of Bhastrika should avoid meat since there has been incidents where one vomits
blood due to clash of the tamisik food and the rise of the kundalini, if one cannot avoid meat
then the intensity on Bhastrika should not be too high.
6. It is advisable to practice the pranayamas daily.
7. One must never wipe out the sweat by towel rather the sweat that is expelled by heat of
pranayamas should be rubbed with hand on the body itself, and one should avoid sitting in
chilling air immediately after the practice.
8. One must never take a bath immediately after practicing pranayamas since this can lead to
allergic reactions and give skin problems.
9. Practicing celibacy for six to one year and practicing pranayamas one can acquire rapid progress
in spirituality, also asanas can be mastered. It is said that once asanas are mastered one gets the
ability to levitate.
10. Pranayamas should only be done in a cool and happy mind. And this practice should never be
taken as burden rather should be taken as an opportunity.