SURYA NAMASKAR is a complete Sadhana (spiritual practice) in itself for it includes asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation techniques.
In English we know the practice as Sun Salutation; which is the literal translation of the Indian (Sanskrit language) term. It is interesting to learn that the Sanskrit word ‘Surya’ (meaning the Sun) – literally translates into ‘Beautiful Light‘. This is an indication that Surya Namaskar is at once an energizing practice.
In the ancient times; people would practice Surya Namaskaar at sunrise; the practice would be done facing up to the sun. The Yogis of yore refined the practice into something resembling the modern day practice with a sequence of 12 postures. For the Yogis; it became a staple practice to loosen the limbs in the mornings, and also as a preparation and warm-up for the other Asanas and Pranayam practices they would undertake. In fact the various postures in Surya Namaskaar helped in energizing each of the 7 Chakras (energy centers) in the human body.
How to practice Surya-Namaskaar? The practice involves 12 poses – alternately stretching the Spine backwards and forwards; and with alternate Inhale and Exhale instructions. Also, each posture has a chant associated with it – these are all different Sanskrit names of the Sun.
Position 5–Santolanasana (inner equanimity pose)
“Om Khagaya Namah”
Position 6–Ashtanga Namaskara (salute with eight points)
“Om Pushne Namah”
BENEFITS of SURYA NAMASKAAR:
Surya Namaskaar improves the flexibility of the body and spine especially. Also the ligaments and joints are made more flexible.
It stimulates and balance all the systems of the body, including the reproductive, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. When a lot of rounds are practiced the heart gets a very good work-out.
Our Endocrine system that controls the secretions of vsrious hormones which play a crucial role in out health and moods; is kept functioning in perfet order through practicing Sun Salutations.
Also, it is not necessary to practice the chants – and you will still get all the physical benefits of the practice.
(Please note that the names of poses may vary depending of which school of yoga you are learning – it means very little compared to the actual practice itself).
So, here’s perhaps the best way to start your morning!