Jul 212010

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation
Surya Namaskar literally means ‘salute to Lord Surya or Sun God.’ It is an expression of gratitude to the Sun God for providing light and prosperity. The ancient yogis practiced it every early morning facing the sun, to greet the the Sun God and the new day. Surya Namaskar, is not an asana, it is a scientific warm up that prepares mind and body for asana practice. Each position is synchronized with gentle and graceful movements and specific breathing to improve alertness and remove lethargy. When getting into a position, a specific mantra is chanted inwardly to keep the thoughts away and feel the power of divinity. It is a dynamic sequence of 12 positions, that stretch the spine backwards and forwards. A set consists of 24 positions (12×2). Normally, 3 to 7 sets are performed. When practiced in a slow pace with awareness, the gain is physical, mental and spiritual. When practiced mechanically in a fast pace, the gain is only physical.
Cautions: People suffering from arthritis, headaches, uncontrolled blood pressure, slip-disc, retinal problem, heart problem, insomnia and pregnant women must avoid Surya Namaskar.
Benefits: Improves awareness, increases flexibility and strength, relieves lethargy and tensions, reduces weight, enhances agility and grace.


 Instructions for Practice

1. Om Mitrāya Namaḥ (Salutations to the friend) Pranamasana: Exhale, stand upright, with your hands in prayer position. Steady your body, fix your eyes and look forward and breathe evenly.
2. Om Rāvaye Namaḥ (Salutations to the ever shining) Hasta Uttanasana: Inhale, raise your hands up, gently bend backwards. Look upwards and breathe.
3. Om Sūryāya Namaḥ (Salutations to the cosmic light) Pada Hastasana: Exhale, bend forward, press your palms on the sides of your feet. Look downwardsand breathe.
4. Om Bhānave Namaḥ (Salutations to the illuminator) Anjaneya Asana: Inhale, stretch your right leg far behind. With support of your hands, arch your spine. Look upwards and breathe.
5. Om Khagāya Namaḥ (Salutations to the performer) Adho Mukha Svanasana: Exhale, take your left leg far behind, adjust and stretch. Look downwards and breathe.
6. Om Puṣṇe Namaḥ (Salutations to the nourisher) Ashta Anga Namaskara: Inhale, bring toes under, knees down, hips up. Exhale, chest and chin down. Look downwards and breathe.
7. Om Hiraṇya Garbhāya Namaḥ (Salutations to the golden womb of universe) Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Inhale, raise your head and chest, lift your thighs and pelvis off the floor.Stretch and look upwards and breathe.
8. Om Marīcāye Namaḥ (Salutations to the power that heals) Adho Mukha Svanasana: Exhale, press your palms and feet, raise your hips and stretch your legs andhands. Lower your head. Look downwards and breathe.
9. Om Adityāya Namaḥ (Salutations to the son of Aditi) Anjaneya Asana: Inhale, bring your right foot forward between your palms. Stretch your back leg. Arch your spine. Look upwards and breathe.

10. Om Sāvitre Namaḥ (Salutations to the stimulator) Pada Hastasana: Exhale, bring your left foot forward, bend forward, stretch your legs and hands. Lower your head and look downwards and breathe.
11. Om Arkāya Namaḥ (Salutations to the essence of life) Hasta Uttanasana: Inhale, roll up, bend backward. Look upwards and breathe.
12. Om Bhāskarāya Namaḥ (Salutations to the enlightener) Pranamasana: Exhale, stand upright, with your hands in prayer position. Look inwards and breathe.