Ashtanga Namaskara. Intro, Benefits & How To Perform

Ashtanga Namaskara is an asana or a posture described in yoga, where the body is balanced on eight points of contact with the floor: the two hands, the two feet, the two knees, the chest, and the head. It is a part of the Surya Namaskar sequence and is also practised as an alternative to Chaturanga Dandasana. It is considered the sixth pose in the Surya namaskar series; it combines yoga asanas, breathing points, and particular gaze points. Ashtanga Namaskara is considered a beginner pose, and when you regularly practice this Asana, you will develop the required strength for further balancing asanas. It is said that this particular Asana gives a feeling of freedom within one’s heart when practised with dedication and devotion.

The word Ashtanga consists of two words, that is, “Ashta” meaning “Eight” and “Anga” which means “Limbs”, whereas “Namaskara” means “bowing” or “greeting”. In English, Ashtanga Namaskara is known as the Knee-Chest-Chin pose. This pose is a symbol of greeting or bowing down used by devotees to pay respect to deities in Indian temples.

Sun is the vital source of energy and light on the earth, so by bending or greeting with our eight limbs touching the floor, the person performing the Asana asks for the blessing, strength, and energy required for yoga.

Table of Contents

How to do Ashtanga Namaskara?

Before we begin with steps to follow on How to do Ashtanga Namaskara, there are a few cases in which we should avoid doing this Asana. They are:

  • This Asana should not be practised by anyone who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome. While performing, the compression over the median nerve may result in hand weakness and numbness.
  • Pregnant women should not practise Ashtanga Namaskara after the first trimester.
  • This Asana should not be practised by practitioners who have had any kind of surgery, especially abdominal surgery. Holding may be difficult or harmful to the performer because it requires the use of core muscles.
  • Anyone having wrist, neck, and shoulder injuries should avoid practising this pose because the pressure you will get during the performing Asana could deteriorate your previous health condition.

Although this is a beginner-level asana, it is always advised to perform preparatory Asana to avoid any injury.

Preparatory Pose

  •  Locust Pose- Shalabhasana
  • Eagle Pose- Garudasana
  • Plank Pose- Phalakasana
  • Cat Pose- Marjari Asana

Methods to perform Ashtanga Namaskara

Worried about How to do Ashtanga Namaskara? Relax. Here is a step-by-step guide to do it:

  1.  Begin with the Plank position. You have deep-seated, well-extended palms. Your heels are apart, and your toes are firm on the floor.
  2. Take a deep breath and lower your shoulders, chest, and knees to the floor. Engage your core muscles as you descend to adopt the posture gradually.
  3. Your elbows should be close to your rib cage. To allow for chest expansion, the shoulder should be rolled forward and in between the palms.
  4. From here, raise your hips and let your midsection and abdomen fully engage so that either your chin or forehead touches the ground.
  5. Make sure your belly is pulled in, and your back has a slight upraised arch. Your body should be on both of your knees, both of your toes, both of your hands, and either your chin or your forehead, as appropriate.
  6. Keep this position and take a deep, slow breath for a few minutes or as long as it feels good. After that, take a deep breath and slowly lift your chin, chest, shoulder, belly, and knees into the Plank pose.

Tips for Beginners

  • If you haven’t practised this yoga before and have basic body structure, then you can start with the Cat pose; it requires less strength than Chaturanga Dandasana to evade any mishap.
  • Practitioners who have stiff shoulders may have difficulty opening their chest. Therefore, one should not overstate their shoulder rolling.
  • To have a perfect or praise arch in the entire back, the point of flexibility, which would be unavailable to the newly enrolled practitioner. Therefore, by reducing the distance between the pelvis and the floor, one can practice Ashtanga Namaskara.
  • In case of touching the floor through the chin or with the forehead, one should bend their neck. So, beginners who do not have flexibility in the neck can simply try to touch the floor without any force.


There are a number of Benefits of Ashtanga Namaskara; here are a few:

It makes the spine flexible and strong.

When you regularly practice this Asana, it makes the spine change its shape while going and returning back from the pose. This improves the range of musculoskeletal aspects, which helps further to tone the spine and adds strength to it.

It massages abdominal organs.

When practising Ashtanga Namaskara, raising the pelvis upward pushes the abdominals inward. This movement has the effect of massaging the abdominal organs, which makes them work better. However, over time, it also cleanses them.

Reduces the Chance of Heart Attack

Consistent practice of the Ashtanga Namaskara pose strengthens the heart muscles, which emboldens the coronary arteries and heart blood vessels to circulate the blood with intensity. Therefore, performing this pose regularly reduces the chances of a Heart attack.

Strengthens the Upper Body

Weight adjustment, starting the pose, and exiting the pose required almost every torso muscle. If practised regularly, this flow improves bone density and muscle tone. As a result, it improves upper body strength.

Stimulate Chakras

One of the asanas that work on more than one chakra is Ashtanga Namaskara. The Mooladhara (Root) Chakra, the Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra, and the Swadishthana (Sacral) Chakra can all be roused through consistent practice and appropriate breathing techniques under the direction of a skilled yoga instructor.

Stress Buster

 When you perform Ashtanga Namaskara along with pranayama, it is one of the most effective stress busters. It aids the benefit of making your mind calm and composed.

One of the Surya Namaskar sequences, Ashtanga Namaskara, improves physical, mental, and emotional aspects of being when practised regularly. However, one can practice the abovementioned variations and raise their level by changing the base pose. As a result, Ashtanga Namaskara is a posture for overall wellness and health that everyone should practise.

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