Surya Namaskara (Surya namaskara) or Sun Salutation (lit. "salute to the sun"), is a common sequence of Hatha yoga asanas. Its origins lie in a worship of Surya, the Hindu solar deity. This sequence of movements and poses 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.
The physical base of the practice links together twelve asanas in a dynamically performed series. These asanas are ordered so that they alternately stretch the spine backwards and forwards. When performed in the usual way, each asana is moved into with alternate inhalation and exhalation (except for the sixth asana where the breath is held in external suspension). A full round of Surya namaskara is considered to be two sets of the twelve poses with a change in the second set to moving the opposite leg first through the series.
Proponents of the use of Surya namaskara as part of the modern yoga tradition prefer to perform it at sunrise, which the orthodox consider to be the most 'spiritually favourable' time of the day.
Some benefits of Surya Namaskar
* Tones up the digestive system by the alternate stretching and compression of abdominal organs.
* It activates digestion and gets rid of constipation and dyspepsia.
* Strengthens abdominal muscles.
* Thoroughly ventilates the lungs, and oxygenates the blood.
* Acts as detoxifying agent, by getting rid of enormous quantity of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.
* Tones up the nervous system and improves memory.
* Promotes sleep and calms anxiety.
* Normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands - especially the thyroid gland.
* Refreshes the skin. Prevents Skin disorders.
* Improves muscle flexibility.
* In women, stimulates the breasts to help firmness normally. Restores any lost elasticity, through stimulation of glands and the strengthening of pectoral muscles.
* Suppresses menstrual irregularity and assists in easy childbirth.
* Prevents loss of hair and graying.
* Helps reduce fat.
* Reduces abnormal prominence of the Adam's apple.
* Eliminates unpleasant smells from the body.
* Lends grace and ease of movements to the body.
* Revives and maintains the spirit of youthfulness.
* Broadens chest and beautifies arms.
* Makes the spine and waist flexible.
* Produces health, strength, efficiency and longevity.
Who should NOT do Surya Namaskar?
* Pregnant women should not practice this after third month of pregnancy.
* Patients of Hernia and high blood pressure are warned against this practice.
* People suffering from back conditions should seek proper advice before commencing Surya Namaskar.
* Women should avoid Surya Namaskar during menses.
There are numerous references to praising the Sun to enhance good health and prosperity, in the Vedas. Some of these Vedic hymns were incorporated into Nitya Vidhi (Daily mandatory routine for a Hindu). These daily procedures were termed Surya Namaskara (literally translates as "sun salutations"). Physical prostration to Sun, showing complete surrender of oneself to God, is the main aspect of these procedures. The forms of Surya Namaskar practiced vary from region to region. Two such popular practices are Trucha Kapla Namaskarah and Aditya Prasna.
Aditya Hridayam is another ancient practice which involves surya namaskar. It is a procedure of saluting The Sun, taught to Sri Rama by Sage Agastya, before his fight with Ravana. It is described in the "Yuddha Khanda" Canto 107 of Ramayana.
Old English References
Early English publications record some of the ancient ways of sun salutation. In "A Catalogue raisonnee of oriental manuscripts", Rev. William Cooke Taylor, noted that a short book with 71 leaves with "Tricha calpa vidhi" from "Aditya Puranam" was preserved. He describes the vidhi as "Modes of rendering homage to Sun, with praise and spells; the object being health or delivery from disease". He further notes the presence of Arghya Pradana, Surya Stotaram, Aditya dvadasa namam - 12 names of the Sun according to the monthly signs of zodiac, Surya Narayana cavacham, Saurashtacshari mantram, and many other elaborate rituals as the part of the vidhi. In Page 148 of the same book he describes a shorter version called "Laghu tricha kalpa vidhi".
* Surya Namaskara is practiced only after a gap of 2 hours of having food, generally in the morning time or evening.
* Surya Namaskaras are performed on a mat, not on the floor.
* Generally 12 Surya Namaskaras are performed at one practice. If starting practice for the first time, it is generally started with fewer (3 to 6)
namaskaras per day, and then gradually increased to 12 Namaskaras in a week's time.
* Shavasana is practiced at the end of practice for rest.
* Breathing(pranayamas) is synchronised with asanas as mentioned in the table below.
* Mantras are pronounced at start of each Surya namaskara as mentioned in table below.
* Some asanas are repeated twice in the same cycle of a Surya Namaskara, there are total of 8 postures in the sequence of 12 postures of Surya namaskara.
* Practice of yoga postures (asanas) generally follows a surya namaskara practice.
* In a traditional Hindu context, Surya Namaskara is always performed facing in the direction of the rising or setting sun.
Surya namaskar is one of the finest combinations of body movements. Traditionally, comprising of 12 body positions, where six positions are repeated and 2 cycles complete one round, first with right and then left leg. It is equivalent as a warm up it done prior to the asana session and equally fruitful to balance the body hormone if done by the end of asana session.
All positions are complementary to each other to promote the alternate contraction and expansion of chest cavity and spinal cord and activating the gland and internal organs.
While performing the surya-namsakar the different names of surya 'THE SUN GOD' may be recited. The names or mantras which may he recited are as follows.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY
 Sun Salutation - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surya_Namaskara
 "Surya Namaskar" - http://ayurveda-foryou.com/yoga/surya_namaskar.html
 "Surya Namaskar with Bija Mantras" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evbR7Vzkifo