While Sun is the eternal powerhouse of energy, human is the eternal seeker of strength. The most practical, scientific and accessible medium that connects the source of life and the seeker of its power is The Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutation. The world has to agree that the Sun Salutation is one of the priceless contributions of Yoga to humanity. It comprises of twelve basic postures or Asanas that activate the solar plexus or the central point in human body thereby making the practitioner internalize the strength of Sun within. It is the experience of this divine strength that transforms a regular practitioner of Surya Namaskar into a “Yogi”.
Although we have restricted the sea of Yoga to a stream of twelve postures, yet there are a variety of other asanas that are crucial in calling a yoga session complete. No doubt the Surya Namaskar is designed in a way to provide wholesome boost to the human body, yet it can be taken to another level altogether by making few important additions to it. This article will talk about The Extented Surya Namaskar, which is a developed version of the timeless twelve-posed gem of Yoga tradition, without tampering or altering the basic structure.
Prayer Pose or Pranamasana
The Prayer Pose is one where we join both our hands in front of our chest like doing a conventional Indian Namaste. The Prayer pose can be extended to a Tadasana where the folded hands are lifted and stretched above the head and we stand on the tip of the toes stretching the calf, the torso and the hands. It activates every nerve of the body and provides a natural massage to our innards
Raised Arm Pose or Hastauttanasana This pose asks us to raise our arms up and then bend back and look up at the sky. Right from the point where we usually finish our bend, we can stretch the arms further behind to touch the thighs and then the floor. This is called as The Chakrasana or the Wheel Pose. While breathing normal one can stay in this pose for a minimum of five breath counts.
Hand to Foot Pose- Hasta Padasana
In this pose we bend forward from the waist and touch the floor with our palms. Right after touching the floor, one can extend the pose by stretching the head and planting it right between the two legs. Try to stay put in the position for a couple of seconds, increasing the duration to ten breath counts once comfortable. Doing this regularly will ensure that the tummy stays straight and toned.
Equesterian Pose- Ashwa Sanchalanaasana
The Equesterian pose can be extended by the Warrior Pose(Virabhadraasana) where the body goes into a crescent posture and the hands are lifted straight up in the air. It can be followed by the Reverse Warrior Pose where the body tilts back, one hand goes down with the leg and the other goes back in the air. Both these postures strengthen shoulders, arms, legs and back; pumps blood into heart and lungs an opens up the hip.
The Stick Pose- Dandasana
Dandasana is the yogic plank pose where the body is aligned to the floor and resembles a stick. The Stick Pose can be furthered by moving from one side to another like doing a side to side rolling plank. This is almost like entering into an intermediate pilate step. Doing the rolling side plank for at least 20 times makes the abdomen stronger, hips and waist leaner and the body posture even more balanced.
Salute with Eight Parts/Points- Ashtanga Namaskar
In Ashtanga Namaskar the eight organs of our body touch the floor (two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and chin) with just the posterior lifted up. Ashtanga Namaskar might be extended to Balasana or The Child Pose where the knee is folded and the hands are stretched forward with head still on the floor.
The Cobra Pose- Bhujangasana
The Cobra Pose stretches the spine, chest and belly. This pose can be swiftly extended to the Bow Pose or the Dhanurasana in which we hold our ankles from the back of our body resembling an archer’s bow. The Bow Pose, therapeutic for anxiety, fatigue and stress, is an excellent way of increasing the challenge of the cobra pose and taking it to a new level. It is also a time-tested posture to keep the waist and hip in shape.
The Mountain Pose- Parvatasana – The Mountain Pose, in which the body is lifted up to resemble an mountain can be made challenging by adding the Downward-Facing Dog pose. One of the most popular poses, the downward dog can be done by keeping hands stuck to the floor and pushing the mountain shape of the body inwards. A great stretch for hamstrings, arms, spine and hip, it also releases pent-up stress by making the blood flow to the brain. It fills the entire body with a spirit of rejuvenation.
Right from the ninth pose onwards the extended versions can be performed on the other side of the body.
The Extended Surya Namaskar is a very modern way of elevating simple yoga sessions to an advanced level. Performing this 24-posed advanced version for at least ten repetitions every day is like doing some extra yoga and working on personal capabilities. It breaks the monotony, challenges muscle memory and adds a surge of freshness to the regular Surya Namaskars.