Prayer Pose (Pranamasana): Steps, Benefits, Variations, Contraindications

prayer pose (parnamasana)
Image: Canva

Joining palms together in the prayer pose is the best way to pay tribute to someone in the highest form. In every part of the world various culture, tradition, follows their ancestry in performing heartwarming gestures.

In yoga, prayer pose or Pranamasana is the gesture offered to pay the deep and profound respect to the individual. Believing in the beauty of yoga, practicing this pose brings a wave of compassion into the practitioner. This showers the positive vibes and drives practitioners into the state of highest blissfulness.

Pranamasana Meaning

In Sanskrit, ‘Pra‘ means ‘before’ or ‘in front of’ and ‘anama‘ means ‘bending forward’. Pranamasana is the way of paying respect or bowing our inner self towards the one we are deeply inclined to. The hand gesture in prayer pose is called Anjali Mudra in yoga or Namaste in common language.

In the Indian culture, the Pranama gesture is performed by joining the palms of both hands together and then head bowing attitude towards elderly, parents, or gurus (teacher). Apart from Hinduism, Pranama is widely used to pay respect in Jainism, Buddhism, etc.

Significance of Prayer Pose

Being the initiatory pose of Surya Namaskara, the prayer pose pays the warming respect to the ‘God of energy’ or ‘The Sun’. This fills the spirit of the practitioner with immense confidence and power to perform further yogic practices with vigor and enthusiasm.

I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, light, peace, and joy. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.

– Anonymous

Prayer pose fulfills the definition of Yoga that teaches unity. By bowing down in this pose we come down to grasp the greatness of being to which we are saluting.

In Hindu tradition, Pranama represents the way to submit yourself to the elders so as to receive their love, blessings, and wisdom of years in a go. Bowing down crushes one’s ego and selflessly preventing the inner growth of an individuals’ ego. Therefore, Pranamasana resides in our day to day practice of offering, accepting, and sharing love and respect in between.

Pranamasana Practice Guide

Image: Canva

Contraindications

  • One should not practice this pose in back and neck condition as bowing down could worse the condition.
  • Practitioner should refrain performing Pranamasana in the later stage of pregnancy.
  • Patient with ongoing high blood pressure condition avoid it for a long time.

Preparatory Pose

How To Do Prayer Pose (Steps)

prayer pose cues
prayer pose cues. Image: canva
  • Stand straight and your feet should be together pressing the ground firmly to support the asana.
  • Now, join your hand right in front of the chest to make Namaste posture.
  • Your eyes gazing straight parallel to the floor or you can close them to utter the cosmic mantras.
  • From here, bring your awareness inside and breathe for 10 to 15 minutes in this posture and then relax.

Mantra Chanting

Prayer pose is the beginning and the end point of 12 poses sequence of sun salutation practice. Chanting mantra with this pose enhances the spiritual and cosmic benefits of Surya namaskar.

  • In the beginning point, chant “Om mitraya namaha” (Prostration to the one who is affectionate to all).
  • In the beginning point, chant “Om bhaskaraya namaha” (Prostration to the one who is the cause of light and luster).

Follow up pose

Precautions

Practitioner should keep the below points in mind before practicing Pranamsana asana. Any mistake or inefficiency of the posture would not leads to the desired objectives.

  • One should not practice Pranamasana right after the meal. Minimum two to Three hours of time difference can be considered for the practice.
  • Prefering sunrise over the random time period can be helpful in Pranamasana.
  • Facing the sun cultivates the benefits in paramount as this pose is one of the asana of Sun salutation.

Prayer Pose Variations

To deepen the practice, one can follow up the following variations of prayer pose;

1. Eka Pada Pranamasana (One-legged Prayer pose)

one-legged prayer pose
Image: Canva

It’s similar to the standing prayer pose mentioned above rest than it’s practiced on one leg. In Eka Pada Pranamasana, one of the feet is placed on the opposite thigh near the perineum followed by the Namaskara Mudra.

  • Firstly, stand straight while your feet together and your hands lie beside the hips.
  • After focusing the eyes at the fixed point bend the right leg and place it on the inner left thigh.
  • Make sure the right heel placed near the perineum and the right knee faces outside.
  • As you find your balance here, join your hands into a prayer pose or pranam posture in front of the chest.
  • Maintain the posture for few minutes and then repeat the pose with the other leg as well.

2. Urdhva Pranamasana (Upward Salute Pose)

urdhav parnamasana
Image: Canva

In this variation of Pranamasana, the practitioner changes the position of hands from the chest to above the head. After maintaining namaste there for some time, returns back to the Namaste Mudra on the heart. 

  • Stand straight with some distance between your feet.
  • Inhale and raise your arms towards the sky and palms facing each other.
  • Your shoulder blades are engaged and the thoracic region remains active throughout the pose.
  • Now, maintain here for a few breaths and then return back to the Namaste mudra near the heart chakra.

3. Paschim Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

reverse prayer pose
Image: Canva

As the name is, in this variation of prayer pose hands are managed to place in the back in namaste mudra.

  • Go for any comfortable sitting posture Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose), Sukhasana (Easy Pose).
  • Now, inhale and exhale. Then, take your hands behind the back to make Prayer pose.
  • Maintain the posture for some time say 10 minutes and then relax.

Benefits of Prayer Pose

1. Enhances mental Peace

In the prayer pose, bowing towards someone develops a sense of gratitude within 1. This is followed by the release of chemicals like Oxytocin and endorphins in our body, concerning good feeling. Therefore, prayer pose adds on to the Mental peace of the practitioner.

2. Improves Muscular strength

Being one the constitutive poses for the sun salutation 2, practicing prayer pose along with the rest of the asanas improves strength and endurance of the muscles. Regular practice can result in better mobility with control.

3. Leads in a Spiritual Journey

Bowing down in pranamasana incorporates a feeling of ordinary being, which is the first step on the ladder of spiritualistic life. Ultimately, makes one extraordinary in deeds.

4. Stimulates Heart chakra

The positioning of the folded hands in Pranamasana completes a circuit of spiritual energy. When the left hand (Ida Nadi) and the right hand (Pingala Nadi) touches the chest (Sushumna) completes a circuit. It is also the position of Heart Chakra where these 3 main Nadis meet up. This further fills the practitioner with love, compassion, and forgiveness.

5. Strengthens lower body

Practicing this asana for a long time cause strain in the muscles of legs and lower back. This promotes the development of muscles as well as the bone structure of concerning region.

6. Relaxes Thoracic region

Joining of the hand in Pranamasana helps in lowering the stress on the thoracic region. However, it also enhance the blood flow due to conscious breathing, which relaxes thoracic rgion and surrounding muscles.

Conclusion

We all are one and a part of this beautiful creation. But due acquisition of modern mindset, sometimes forget our purpose of existence and act less humanly with our fellow mates.

Pranamasana practice provide us a chance to find the way through this dark world. Where you and your instincts work to understand the divine attachment between all of us. Through which we can achieve a togetherness, love, respect and compassion regarding rest of the human race.

 

References

  1. A Deep Bow https://gratefulness.org/resource/a-deep-bow/
  2. How Effective Is Sun Salutation in Improving Muscle Strength, General Body Endurance and Body Composition? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3289222/

Leave a Reply