How to do Nasamaskarasana or The Salutation Pose & What are its Benefits, Variations, Precautions?

Understanding Namaskarasana Or The Salutation Pose!

The pose like other yoga poses, gets its name from Sanskrit where “Namaskara” means “Salutation” and “Asana” means “Pose “or “Posture.” In the final posture the body appears as if you are praying or saluting and hence the name Namaskarasana. The English name of Namaskarasana is The Salutation Pose.

Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose is an upper body posture that helps strengthen your arms, shoulders and targets your arms and abdomen. The shoulder movement helps massage and loosen any tight shoulder muscles and relaxes your shoulder blades and helps in relieving shoulder and neck pain.

Like other asanas, it is considered best when Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose is practiced early in the morning. However, if because of some reason, you are not able to practice it in the morning, you can practice this yoga pose in the evening as well. Mornings are preferred as the food is digested and your body has the energy to perform the asanas. But make sure that when you are practicing this pose in the evening, you should have your food five to six hours before you practice as your food takes this much time to digest.

Performing Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose will help you alleviate stress and calm an anxious mind. You will become peaceful when you practice this simple asana regularly.

How To Do Namaskarasana Or The Salutation Pose?

  • To practice Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose, sit in the squatting position with the feet flat on the floor.
  • You feet must be about two feet apart from each other.
  • Your knees should be wide apart and the elbows placed against the inside of the knees while practicing this yoga pose.
  • To get into Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose, bring the hands together in front of the chest in a gesture of prayer.
  • Press the elbows against the insides of the knees while getting into Namaskarasana.
  • The eyes may be open or closed depending upon your comfort while practicing the pose.
  • Inhale and bend the head backwards while practicing this pose.
  • Simultaneously, use the elbows to push the knees as wide apart as possible while practicing this pose.
  • This is the starting Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose.
  • Feel the pressure at the back of the neck while practicing this pose.
  • Hold this position for 3 seconds while retaining the breath when in Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose.
  • Exhale and straighten the arms directly in front of the body while practicing this pose.
  • At the same time, push in with the knees, pressing the upper arms inward while in Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose. The head should be bent forward with the chin pressed against the chest.
  • Tense the muscles of the upper back and shoulders as if someone is pulling the hands forward.
  • Hold this position, retaining the breath, for 3 seconds while practicing The Salutation Pose.
  • Return to the starting position and bring the palms together in front of the chest, bending the head back while practicing this pose.
  • This completes one round of this pose.
  • You should practice 5 to 8 rounds of Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose in your daily yoga practice.
  • Beginners should try to stay in this position for 1-2 minutes or until your legs and feet start feeling discomfort.
  • Advanced practitioners should stay in this pose for 3-4 minutes or for as long as you can.
  • After the practice, rest your body in Shavasana for 1-2 minutes.

Breathing Pattern To Be Followed While Practicing Namaskarasana Or The Salutation Pose

  • Inhale while bringing the palms together in front of the chest while practicing Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose.
  • Maintain a normal breath in this pose.
  • Exhale while extending the arms forward when practicing this pose.
  • Retain your breath after the deep exhalation while holding Namaskarasana. Advanced practitioners can retain the breath while practicing this pose, beginners who are not able to retain the breath can maintain a normal and deep inhalation and exhalation while practicing Namaskarasana.
  • Exhale deeply after releasing the pose and coming back to Shavasana.

Preaparatory And Follow Up Poses To Be Practiced With Namaskarasana Or The Salutation Pose

Preparatory Poses: The various preparatory poses to be practiced before Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose are Dandasana or The Staff Pose, Rajju Karshanasana or Pulling the Rope Pose, Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose, Matsyasana (with the legs stretched out) or The Fish Pose, Ushtrasana or The Camel pose, Bhujangasana or The Cobra Pose, Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose

Follow Up Poses: The various follow up poses or Pranayamas to be practiced after Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose are Anulom Vilom or The Alternate Nostril Breathing, Kapalbhati Pranayama, Vajrasana or The Diamond pose, Uttanasana or The Standing Forward Bend Pose, Nauka Sanchalanasana or Rowing the Boat Pose.

Awareness While Practicing Namaskarasana Or The Salutation Pose

Physical Awareness – The Physical Awareness while practicing Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose should be on the breath, movement, stretch on the back of the neck and chest in the starting position, and the upper back and shoulder muscles in the forward position.

Spiritual Awareness – The Spiritual Awareness while practicing Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose should be on The Muladhara or The Root Chakra. The root chakra is where we ground ourselves into the earth and anchor our energy into the manifest world.

Benefits Of Practicing Namaskarasana Or The Salutation Pose

  • Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose is beneficial in strengthening the abdominal muscles and massages the intestines and internal organs of the digestive system and thereby improves digestion.
  • It also helps in releasing trapped gases and also helps in improving digestion.
  • Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose is also beneficial in strengthening the back muscles and also helps in relieving back ailments.
  • It tones the muscles of the arms and the legs.
  • With regular practice The Salutation Pose helps in improving the circulation of blood in the hip area and tones the hips.
  • This yoga pose stimulates the reproductive organs and massages the pelvic muscles.
  • Regular practice Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose can be of benefit in curing menstrual disorders.
  • It helps in burning fat in the thighs, buttocks, and abdominal area with regular practice.
  • It stretches the back and neck and helps in relieving pain in neck with regular practice.
  • Yet another benefit of Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose is that it helps in reducing ailments of the respiratory system as it helps in increasing the lung capacity of your body when it is practiced with proper breathing techniques.
  • The Salutation Pose is a full body energizer and revitalize and it improves your concentration.
  • It helps in balancing the mind, increases the power of concentration, and induces physical and mental relaxation quickly. The thinking process becomes very clear and precise with regular practice of Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose.
  • It also helps in getting rid of stress and mild depression.
  • It also helps in getting rid of Constipation with regular practice.
  • With regular practice Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose helps in getting rid of sterility and impotence.
  • It also helps in loosening of the spinal vertebrae thus making the spine more flexible.

Precautions And Contraindications While Practicing Namaskarasana Or The Salutation Pose

  • Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose puts a lot of stress on the hip joints and knee and should be done with care and the person should not get hurt while practicing. Beginners should be extra careful while practicing this pose.
  • People with injured or weak knees should not practice this yoga pose as a lot of stress is put on the knees.
  • People with backache and sciatica should not practice this pose.
  • You should also avoid practicing Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose if you have an injury to the ankle.
  • Get out of the pose or release the pose if you feel a sudden sharp and shooting pain in your legs.
  • If you have any doubts about your condition, consult a physician before practicing Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose and always practice asana under the supervision of a trained yoga expert.
  • Do not over exert yourself or push yourself beyond the limits. Go only as far as your body allows.
  • It should not be practiced if you have frequent headaches and migraine.
  • You should also not perform Namaskarasana if you have any chronic spinal or neck problems.
  • Pregnant women should also not perform The Salutation Pose.
  • People suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis and other such conditions are also advised not to practice this pose.
  • People with neck injury are advised to look down on the floor and keep the head in a neutral position while practicing this pose.
  • People with heart problems like chronic thrombosis should also not practice Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose.
  • People with High Blood Pressure should also not practice this pose.
  • It should not be performed if you have any injury or pain in the ankle.

Tips While Practicing Namaskarasana Or The Salutation Pose

  • If you are not able to keep your head in a neutral position while practicing Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose, you can put a sheet or blanket below your head to support it.
  • Stay in the final Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose for as long as you can because your body will benefit more as the holding capacity of your body will increase. You will start feeling that you have to put efforts while holding the pose for 20 seconds; you can increase the holding capacity with constant practice.
  • Beginners can start by just lifting their legs while keeping their upper body on the ground.
  • Keep your buttocks lifted off the floor and you must try to keep your lower back touching the floor as you practice The Salutation Pose.
  • To deepen the pose, advanced practitioners can touch their china and subsequently their nose on the legs while practicing Namaskarasana.
  • It is important that your stomach is empty and bowels are clean when you practice The Salutation Pose and always keep a gap at least four to six hours between your yogasanas practice and meal.
  • Do not strain your neck while practicing this pose.
  • Also, you should not overstretch because doing this can pull the thighs too close and may cause strain in the thighs.
  • Keep your toes pointed and keep your legs together while practicing Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose.

Namaskarasana Or The Salutation Pose Variations

Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose Variation 1:

  • To practice Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose, bring your palms together in Namaste pose or anjani pose near your chest.
  • Inhale deeply and while exhaling, bend your knees and sit on your feet and soles. Maintain a gap between the knees but maintain the feet together.
  • Once you are in this position with knees bent, the body will be leaning forward and hence lower back will be stretched backwards to initially give you balance. This is normal, but if one is not able to sit on the feet and soles, one could balance the body on toes for the first few times during the practice.
  • You can also keep your feet a little apart during the initial phase of practice if you find it difficult to do it completely in the right manner with the feet close to each other. One should aim towards sitting with knees apart and feet together to get the maximum benefit from Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose.
  • Bring your arms in Anjani mudra to rest between the inner thighs. Once you are comfortable keep moving your legs apart by moving the elbows deeper between the thighs to open the knees deeper outwards. Make sure that your knees are a little wider than your torso.
  • If you are not able to balance your body in Anajani mudra, you can also keep your palms on the floor close to your feet in order to support your body and to continue to keep pushing the knees outwards.
  • Maintain your breath in this position. Inhale and Exhale very deeply and with every inhale and exhale continue taking your elbows deep between the thighs and bring your lower back and spine inwards and straight.
  • Also make sure that your hips remain very close to your ankles.
  • To release from the pose, place the palms on the floor and slowly raise the entire body up and stand releasing the back and the shoulders and stay calm with normal breathing. Bring the body again and take a few breaths here to be ready to go back into Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose to gain more comfort.
  • Beginners should try to stay in this position for 1-2 minutes or until your legs and feet start feeling discomfort.
  • Advanced practitioners should stay in this pose for 3-4 minutes or for as long as you can.

Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose Variation 2:

  • To practice Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose, bend your left knee and place the foot close to your torso while stretching the right leg out.
  • While inhaling, lift the left leg upwards and at the same time support the left thighs by placing the left hand close to the left knee to practice this variation of Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose.
  • While exhaling try to bring your left leg above or close to the left shoulder.
  • Stay in this position for a few breaths.
  • Now, bend forward a bit to place the leg gently and comfortably on the shoulder and bring the left palm on the floor close to the left inner thighs.
  • Bring your right palm and rest it on the outside of the right thigh, slowly and gently raise your body from the floor by balancing your body on both the wrists to practice this variation of Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose.
  • Make sure that you keep your spine straight.
  • Exhale deeply as you come in this pose and maintain your breath till you can retain the pose to practice this variation of The Salutation Pose.
  • Also, make sure that the right leg is stretched out in front and the left leg remains bent at the knee and rested on your left shoulder.
  • Stay in the pose as long as you can while practicing this variation of Namaskarasana.
  • Release and repeat the pose from the other side to practice this variation of Namaskarasana or The Salutation Pose.
  • Relax in Balasana after completing the practice from both sides.
  • Beginners should try to stay in this position for 1-2 minutes or until your legs and feet start feeling discomfort.
  • Advanced practitioners should stay in this pose for 3-4 minutes or for as long as you can.

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