12 Steps of Surya Namaskar popularly known as 12 Steps of Sun Salutation in English / Surya Namaskara in Kannada is derived from a Sanskrit word सूर्य नमस्कार which means greetings or prayer to the Lord Surya – The Hindu God of Sun. 

Initially, 12 steps of Surya Namaskar was practiced as an early morning practice prayer to the Lord Surya – who is believed to be the source of all lives in the universe. Today, yoga students all over the world learn & practice 12 step Surya Namaskar every day as a warm-up exercise before starting yoga asanas and hence it is known as ‘King of Yoga’ by great yogis. 12 step Surya Namaskara can either be practiced with or without mantras.

“Sun Salutations Can Energise and Warm you, even on darkest and the coldest winter day”

Carol Krucoff

Introduction to 12 steps of Surya Namaskar:

Over the years, traditional yoga has been blended with many forms of exercise to achieve a greater level of fitness by its enthusiasts. While the standard practice includes 12 steps in Surya Namaskar, yoga experts believe that the sequence can be modified in various ways to arrive at many different versions. Practicing 12 steps of Surya Namaskara at a slow pace focuses on flexibility and the practice of 12 steps of Surya Namaskar at a fast pace focuses on stamina.

While moving across geographical territories and centuries, the Surya Namaskar 12 Steps has seen a changing pattern to various forms, giving birth to various modifications. In fact, different forms of yoga schools have incorporated Surya Namaskar in their own unique ways.

Here, we highlight information on the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar with names & mantras in the Shivananda style.

Related Read: Benefits of Surya Namaskar Steps

12 Steps of Surya Namaskara
12 Steps of Surya Namaskar

How To Do 12 Steps of Surya Namaskar: Step By Step Instructions

You might be thinking “what are the 12 asanas of Surya Namaskar?”, To make it easy we have mentioned the Surya Namaskar names of postures below,

The method, process, and mantras along with the benefits of above-mentioned Surya namaskar 12 steps are detailed below,

Step – 1 of 12 Step Surya Namaskar: Pranamasana (Sanskrit) or Prayer Pose (English)

How to practice Pranamasana or Prayer Pose:

  1. Stand erect with legs together. Ensure that the weight of the body is equally distributed
  2. Ensure that the shoulders are relaxed without fidgeting
  3. Bring your hands to heart center in namaskara mudra
  4. Look straight ahead
  5. Inhale and chant the prayer mentioned below,
Surya Namaskar Step 1: Pranamasana or Prayer Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 1: Pranamasana or Prayer Pose
Prayer to be chanted in Pranamasana:

ॐ मित्राय नमः

Om Mitraaya Namaha

Meaning of Pranamasana Prayer:

One Who is friendly to all

Health benefits of Pranamasana or Prayer Pose:

  • Helps in maintaining the balance of the body
  • Relaxes the nervous system
  • Sets concentration for beginning the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar Yogasan

With a deep inhalation, let’s move to step 2 of Surya Namaskar posture

Step – 2 of 12 Step Surya Namaskar: Hasta Uttanasana (Sanskrit) or Raised Arms Pose (English)

Surya Namaskar Step 2: Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arms Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 2: Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arms Pose

How to practice Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arms Pose:

  1. Lift your hands keeping the hands and ears in one straight line
  2. Take a gentle backbend to create a slight curve in the back
  3. Legs remain unchanged
  4. Lifting hands and taking a backbend should be done together
  5. Breathe in deeply while staying in the pose
Prayer to be chanted in Hasta Uttanasana:

ॐ रवये नमः।

Om Ravaye Namaha

Meaning of Hasta Uttanasana Prayer:

The sparkling one, the lustrous one

Health Benefits of Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arms Pose:

  • Stretches and tones the abdomen muscles
  • Expands the chest, helping in maximum intake of oxygen

With an exhalation, let’s move to step 3 of Surya namaskar aasan

Step – 3 of 12 Step Surya Namaskar: Hasta Padasana (Sanskrit) or Hand to Foot Pose (English)

Surya Namaskar Step 3: Hasta Padasana or Hand to Foot Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 3: Hasta Padasana or Hand to Foot Pose

How to practice Hasta Padasana or Hand to Foot Pose:

  1. Bend forward from the hips
  2. Try to touch the palms to the floor
  3. If touching palms to the floor is difficult, you can softly bend your knees
  4. Try to touch the forehead to the knees
Prayer to be chanted in Hasta Padasana:

ॐ सूर्याय नम:।

Om Suryaya Namaha

Meaning of Hasta Padasana Prayer:

Prayer to the one who removes darkness & the one who generates activity

Health benefits of Hasta Padasana or Hand to Foot Pose:

  • Makes the hips flexible
  • Stretches the hamstrings
  • Opens up the hips, shoulders, and arms

With an inhalation, let’s move to step 4 of Surya Namaskar prayer

Step – 4 of 12 Step Surya Namaskara: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Sanskrit) or Equestrian Pose

Surya Namaskar Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian Pose

How to practice Ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian Pose:

  1. From Hasta Padasana, take the right leg as far back as possible keeping the left knee bent. 
  2. While in the pose ensure that the left knee and the ankle are in 90 degrees
  3. If the left knee is ahead of the ankle, with the help of hands pull your left ankle until the knee and ankle are in one straight line (perpendicular to the floor)
  4. With fingers touching the floor, Ensure that the left foot is in between the palms
  5. Face looking straight and right knee rested on the floor with ankles flexed outwards
Prayer to be chanted in Ashwa Sanchalanasana:

ॐ भानवे नमः।

Om Bhaanave Namaha

Meaning of Ashwa Sanchalanasana Prayer:

Prayer to the one who illuminates

Health benefits of Ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian Pose:

  • Stretches the muscles of legs
  • Good for digestion, constipation, and sciatica.

Holding the breath, let’s move to step 5 of Surya Namaskara sequence

Step – 5 of 12 Step Surya Namaskara: Dandasana (Sanskrit) or Stick Pose (English)

Surya Namaskar Step 5: Dandasana or Stick Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 5: Dandasana or Stick Pose

How to practice Dandasana or Stick Pose:

  1. From Ashwa Sanchalanasana, take your left leg back to join the right leg
  2. Keep your body straight like a stick
  3. Look straight ahead and your back is straight as well.
  4. Toes & ankles are flexed inwards
Prayer to be chanted in Dandasana:

ॐ खगाय नमः।

Om Khagaya Namaha

Meaning of Dandasana Prayer:

Prayers to the one who moves in the sky

Health benefits of Dandasana or Stick Pose:

  • Strengthens the back and arms
  • Improves posture
  • Stretches the shoulders, spine, and chest

With an exhalation, let’s move to step 6 of Surya Namaskara sequence

Step – 6 of 12 Step Surya Namaskara: Ashtanga Namaskara (Sanskrit) or Salute with Eight Parts Pose (English)

Surya Namaskar Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskara or Eight Parts Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskara or Eight Parts Pose

How to practice Ashtanga Namaskara or Eight Parts Pose:

  1. From Dandasana, Lower the chest to the ground
  2. Rest your knees and toes on the floor
  3. Look straight ahead and your back is straight as well
  4. The hip and abdomen are slightly raised up
  5. Only chin, check, knees, toes are supported on the floor
Prayer to be chanted in Ashtanga Namaskara:

ॐ पूष्णे  नमः।

Om Pooshne Namaha

Meaning of Ashtanga Namaskara Prayer:

Namaste to the one who is the giver of nourishment and fulfillment

Health benefits of Ashtanga Namaskara or Eight Parts Pose:

  • It strengthens the muscles of the hands, legs, and chest

With an inhalation, let’s move to step 7 of Surya Namaskara sequence

Step – 7 of 12 Step Surya Namaskara: Bhujangasana (Sanskrit) or Cobra Pose (English)

Surya Namaskar Step 7: Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 7: Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

How to practice Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose:

  1. From Ashtanga Namaskara, slide forward and raise the chest and look up at the ceiling
  2. Hug the elbows back into your body
  3. Move shoulders away from the ears & Hands are in line with shoulders
  4. Legs remain together
Prayer to be chanted in Bhujangasana:

ॐ हिरण्यगर्भाय नमः।

Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha

Meaning of Bhujangasana Prayer:

Namaste to the one who has a brilliance that shines like gold

Health Benefits of Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose:

  • Bhujangasana stretches the shoulders, chest, and back.
  • Improves the mood
  • Energizes the heart

With an exhalation, let’s move to step 8 of 12 Step Surya Namaskara sequence

Step – 8 of 12 Step Surya Namaskara: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Sanskrit) or Downward-Facing Dog Pose (English)

Surya Namaskar Step 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward-Facing Dog Pose

How to practice Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward-Facing Dog Pose:

  1. From Bhujangasana, lift your hips and lower your chest
  2. Spread the palms completely on the floor
  3. Try to touch your feet completely to the floor
  4. Legs remain together
Prayer to be chanted in Adho Mukha Svanasana:

ॐ मरीचये नमः।

Om Mareechaye Namaha

Meaning of Adho Mukha Svanasana Prayer:

Namaste to the one who gives light with infinite rays

Health Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward-Facing Dog Pose:

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana strengthens arms and legs
  • This pose increases blood flow to the spinal region
  • Stretches Hand, Hamstring, Shoulder, Calf, Arches of the foot

With inhalation let’s move to step 9 of 12 Step Surya Namaskara sequence

Step – 9 of 12 Step Surya Namaskara: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Sanskrit) or Equestrian Pose (English)

Surya Namaskar Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian Pose

Instructions for the pose:

  1. Repeat the step (4) again but with the opposite side 
  2. Inhale, bring your right foot forward and place it between your hands 
  3. While in the pose ensure that the right knee and the ankle are in 90 degrees
  4. If the right knee is ahead of the ankle, with the help of hands pull your left ankle until the knee and ankle are in one straight line (perpendicular to the floor)
  5. With fingers touching the floor, Ensure that the right foot is in between the palms
  6. Face looking straight and left knee rested on the floor with ankles flexed outwards
Prayer to be chanted in the pose:

ॐ आदित्याय नम:।

Om Aadityaaya Namaha

Meaning of the Prayer:

Prayer to the one who illuminates

let’s move to step 10 of 12 step Surya Namaskara sequence

Step – 10 of 12 Step Surya Namaskar: Hasta Padasana (Sanskrit) or Hand to Foot Pose (English)

Surya Namaskar Step 3: Hasta Padasana or Hand to Foot Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 10: Hasta Padasana or Hand to Foot Pose

Instructions for the pose:

  1. From Ashwa Sanchalanasana, exhale and bring your left foot forward
  2. Keep your palms on the ground
  3. If touching palms to the floor is difficult, you can softly bend your knees
Prayer to be chanted in the pose:

ॐ सवित्रे नमः।

Om Savitre Namaha

Meaning of Hasta Padasana Prayer:

Prayer to the one who is responsible for life

let’s move to step 11 of 12 step Surya Namaskar prayer

Step – 11 of 12 Step Surya Namaskar: Hasta Uttanasana (Sanskrit) or Raised Arms Pose (English)

Surya Namaskar Step 2: Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arms Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 11: Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arms Pose

Instructions for the pose:

  1. lift up the hands keeping the hands and ears in one straight line
  2. Take a gentle backbend to create a slight curve
  3. Legs remain unchanged
  4. Lifting hands and taking a backbend should be done together
  5. Breathe in deeply while staying in the pose
Prayer to be chanted in the pose:

ॐ अर्काय नमः।

Om Arkaaya Namaha

Meaning of Prayer:

One who is worthy of praise and glory.

let’s move to step 12 of 12 – step Surya namaskar aasan

Step – 12 of 12 Step Surya Namaskar: Pranamasana (Sanskrit) or Prayer Pose (English) – Back to Step 1

Surya Namaskar Step 1: Pranamasana or Prayer Pose
Surya Namaskar Step 12: Pranamasana or Prayer Pose
Prayer to be chanted in Pranamasana:

ॐ भास्कराय नमः।

Om Bhaskaraya Namaha

Meaning of Pranamasana Prayer:

Giver of wisdom and cosmic illumination

Summary of 12 Steps of Surya Namaskar Mantras & Meaning:

Step in Surya NamaskarMantra In EnglishMeaning
Step 1Om Mitraaya NamahaOne Who is friendly to all
Step 2Om Ravaye NamahaThe sparkling one the lustrous one
Step 3Om Suryaya NamahaPrayer to the one who removes darkness & the one who generates activity
Step 4Om Bhaanave NamahaPrayer to the one who illuminates
Step 5Om Khagaya NamahaPrayers to the one who moves in the sky
Step 6Om Pooshne NamahaNamaste to the one who is the giver of nourishment and fulfillment
Step 7Om Hiranya Garbhaya NamahaNamaste to the one who has a brilliance that shines like gold.
Step 8Om Mareechaye NamahaNamaste to the one who gives light with infinite rays
Step 9Om Aadityaaya NamahaPrayer to the one who illuminates
Step 10Om Savitre NamahaPrayer to the one who is responsible for life
Step 11Om Arkaaya NamahaOne who is worthy of praise and glory
Step 12Om Bhaskaraya NamahaGiver of wisdom and cosmic illumination
12 Steps of Surya Namaskar Mantras & Meaning

Also Read: Benefits of Child’s Pose | Benefits of Halasana | Yin Yoga For Stress Relief