Surya Namaskar, Vriksha Asana & Garuda Asana: A Panacea for People

Navodita, our yoga exponent, tells us the many benefits of Surya Namaskar. The other two asanas that she suggests we might do along with the salutations to the life giver, Sun, are the Vriksha Asana and the Garuda Asana. She suggests meditation along with these in her regular weekly column, Holistic Health, in Different Truths.

Come Monday and with it the Monday morning blues. If you would like a thumping start to your  week or get initiated into some power-packed moves to energise your senses for a fresh start, here’s what you can do:

Surya Namaskar

This set of 12 asanas can do wonders for your joints and muscles. It can give you a glowing skin and help you lose weight. It helps you cope with insomnia and get a regular menstrual cycle. It can help one detox and get blood sugar levels down. So let’s get started with this beneficial cycle.

  • Tada Asana or the Mountain Pose
  • Urdhvahasta Asana
  • Utkata Asana or the Chair Pose.
  • Uttana Asana
  • Adhomukhasvana Asana or Dog Pose I
  • Urdhvamukhasvana Asana or Dog Pose II
  • Chaturangadanda Asana
  • Urdhvamukhasvana Asana or Dog Pose II
  • Adhomukhasvana Asana or Dog Pose I
  • Uttana Asana
  • Urdhvahasta Asana
  • Samasthiti or Namaskar


Tada Asana or the Mountain Pose is where you have to stand simply straight with your knee caps plugged in, back erect, head up and chin up. Take a deep breath and in and with the inhalation raise your hands up. This gets you into Urdhvahasta Asana. Keeping your hands raised up, bend down to sit on an imaginary chair. This is Utkata Asana or the Chair Pose.

Exhale and bend down to touch the toes with the knees absolutely straight. The crown of the head should face the floor. Now keeping your hands on the floor, jump back about three feet away and place your feet shoulder-distance away from each other. Your buttocks are raised up facing the ceiling while the head is once again down. This is Adhomukhasvana Asana or Dog Pose I. Here you are supposed to stretch the back of the legs well. Keep the heels raised to start with and slowly get them down on the floor. Now inhale and while exhaling raise your head up stretching the arms and legs into Urdhamukhasvana Asana or Dog Pose II. Here the stretch is felt in the arms. This asana is good for the limbs. Now, inhale and while exhaling touch your nose to the floor in Chaturangadanda Asana. Here the entire body should be straight.

Now the same asanas are to be repeated backwards- first Urdhvamukhasvana Asana, Adhomukhasvana Asana, Uttana Asana, Urdhvahasta Asana and Namaskar.

In order to get a good benefit of Surya Namaskar, this cycle must be repeated 10-15 times a day. Gradually as the practice gets better, more such cycles may be done.

Vriksha Asana

Surya Namaskar cycles may be followed by Vriksha Asana or the Tree Pose. This improves balance and makes legs stronger. It strengthens the ligament and tendon of the feet. It strengthens and tones the entire left up to the buttocks. It helps in getting pelvic stability and is good for developing balance in other aspects of life as well.

Stand straight in Tada Asana or the Mountain Pose. Keeping your left leg straight bend your right leg up to the groin. Then raise your hands up and join them overhead. Stay in this for about 20 seconds. Repeat this asana keeping the right leg straight with the left leg bent. Such standing poses keep you on your toes and are a sure way to start your day right.

Garuda Asana

Here you have to again stand straight in the Mountain Pose. Keep your left leg straight and entwine your right leg around your left one. Similarly entwine your right arm around your left one. Stay in this pose for about fifteen seconds and change sides. Keep your right leg straight and entwine the other leg and arm.

Garuda Asana or the Eagle Pose stretches the hip, thighs, shoulders and upper back. It improves balance, strengthens the calves, it helps alleviate sciatica and rheumatism. It definitely makes legs and hips more flexible.


After a heavy workout like this one it’s always good to end with Pranayama or a good meditation or Dhyana. Last time we discussed Sakshi Dhyana. This time we give you a lowdown on Panchatatva Dhyan. The idea is to think about the five elements our body is made up of.

Start by sitting in a cross-legged pose and close your eyes. The body is made up of five elements – Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Ether or Space. One by one you have to focus on these elements. Start with your legs. You have to imagine that your legs are buried deep down and have developed roots under the ground. These roots are keeping you anchored. Focus on these roots for five minutes. Then come up to the abdomen and feel that the abdomen has Water flowing through it. Focus on this flow of Water for another five minutes. For the next five minutes imagine that there is Fire inside your stomach and its burning up food and everything else inside. Then come up to your lungs and chest and imagine that Air or wind is blowing across your chest. Air element is keeping the flow of your body in place. Wind is blowing across your chest lightly. Finally come up to your head and imagine Ether or space inside. There is Emptiness inside your mind where thoughts may freely come and go. Feel the null and void feeling inside your mind and create space for more thoughts and feelings inside. Try and get rid of the clutter and the ‘brain chatter’.

Lastly some headers to work on:

  • In the rat race never lose your inner voice and grip over your Conscience as that eventually will keep you grounded
  • While at work it’s always good to take a break and meditate at your desk for five minutes
  • If something is nibbling into your mind, close your eyes and think again about the situation from a fresh perspective. Everything has a solution that needs working on.
©Navodita Pande

Pix from Net and author in Garuda Asana. 

Navodita Pande

Navodita Pande

Navodita Pande has been practicing yoga since she was 9 years old in Iyengar Yoga. In April 1995, she performed at the International Yoga Seminar. In January 2003, Navodita taught at Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mandir in New York. Navodita had a Yoga show on NDTV 24x7 and was also the official yoga trainer for Miss Delhi contestants in 2007. She currently teaches Yoga and Reiki to
people in Kanpur.
Navodita Pande