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This sequence of movements and asanas can be practised on varying levels of awareness, ranging from that of physical exercise in various styles, to a complete sadhana which incorporates asana, pranayama, mantra and chakra meditation. It is often the beginning vinyasa within a longer yoga series. Sūrya Namaskāra may also refer to other styles of “Salutations to the Sun”.
- Surya Namaskara, like most asanas, is recommended to be performed on an empty stomach. Therefore some recommend a gap of at least two hours after eating and before performing the namaskara. It is generally practiced in the morning before breakfast or in evening.
- In some traditions, 12 Surya Namaskaras are performed at one practice. If starting that practice for the first time, it is generally started with fewer (3 to 6) Namaskaras per day, and then gradually increased to 12 Namaskaras per session by the time a week is over.
- Shavasana is practiced at the end of practice for rest.
- Pranayama is synchronized with asanas.
- Mantras can be pronounced at the start of each Surya namaskara.
- There are a total of 8 different asanas in the sequence of the 12 asana changes of Surya namaskara. Some asanas are repeated twice in the same cycle of a Surya Namaskara.
- In a traditional Hindu context, Surya Namaskara is always performed facing in the direction of the rising (east) or setting (west) sun.
- As per the scriptures one who performs the Surya Namaskaras daily does not get poor in a thousand births.
- There are 5 ways in which breathing should be done during Surya Namaskar.