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Ashtanga namaskara is a posture where the body is balanced on eight points of contact with the floor: feet, knees, chest, chin and hands. The name comes from the Sanskrit words ashta, meaning “eight,” anga, meaning “part” or “limb”, and namaskar, meaning “bowing” or “greeting."
It forms part of the classical surya namaskar sequence(comes almost in middle of sequence) and is also used as an alternative to Chaturanga Dandasana. Surya namaskar is itself used as warm up for Yoga.
Ashtanga namaskara is also known as salute with eight limbs pose. Yogapedia explains Ashtanga Namaskara
The gesture in this asana of lowering the body to touch the floor is considered a salute or paying homage. It is often performed by devotees to pay respect to the gods when visiting temples in India.
It is said that focus should be directed to the manipura chakra as the chest touches the floor in this posture. When performed during surya namaskar, the mantra, “Aum Pooshne namah” can be chanted, which means “Salutations to Pushan, the mystic fire,” or “Salutations to the One who gives strength.” An alternative, shorter bija mantra can be used during more rapid practice, which is “Om Hrah.”
Benefits : This asana helps to tone arm and forearm muscles and develops flexibility and power in the wrists, as well as toning abdominal organs and building repository muscles.