Surya Namaskar

Introduction

Suryanamaskara combines Yogaasanas and Praanayaama. It comes in between Sithilikaranaya Vyaayama and Yogaasanas. It brings about the general flexibility of the body preparing it for Aasanas and Praanaayaama this is usually done both at sunrise and sunset, facing the Sun, after chanting the following verse:

Iranmayena paatrena satyasyaapihitam mukham!
Tat tvam puusannapaavrnu satyadharmaaya drstaya!!

Meaning: Like a lid to a vessel, O sun, your golden orb covers the entrance in Truth. Kindly open thy entrance, to lead me to truth.

Twelve Stepped Salutation to the SUN

There are mainly two modes of performing Suryanamaskaara,. In one, there are 12 steps or counts and in the other only 10 in each round. Each stage of Suryanamaskara is accompanied by regulation of breath. Each round of Suryanamaskara is done after the utterance of ‘Omkara’ with the appropriate ‘Bija mantra’, along with the corresponding name of Sun God in the following sequence.

  1. Om hraam mitraaya namah  - Salutations to the friend of all
  1. Om hriim ravaye namah - Salutations to one who shines
  1. Om hruum suuryaaya namah - Saltutations to one who induces activity
  1. Om hraim bhanave namah - Salutations to one who illuminates
  1. Om hraum khagaaya namah - Salutations to one who moves quickly
  1. Om hrah puusne namah - Salutations to one who gives strength
  1. Om hraam hiranyagarbhaya namah - Salutations to golden cosmic self
  1. Om hrim marichaye namah - Salutations to Lord of dawn
  1. Om hruum adityaaya namah - Salutations ot son of Aditi
  1. Om hraim savitre namah - Salutations to stimulating power
  1. Om hraum arkaaya namah - Salutations to one who is fit to be praised
  1. Om hrah bhaaskaraaya namah - Salutations to one who leads to enlightenment

Mantras are combinations of sounds which are designed to produce a specific effect on the mind and its functioning. The mantra can be spoken aloud, Whispered or repeated mentally, but mental repetition is the superior method. When a sound is mentally repeated with awareness and concentrations, the thought takes on the form of that sound, it becomes the sound, and the energy inherent in that sound manifests in the mind.

There are six Bija mantras, or seed syllables. The Bija mantras are evocative sound that have no literal meaning in themselves, but set up powerful vibrations of energy within the mind and body.

PRACTICE:

Pranaamaasana – Stand erect with legs together. Bring the palms together to Namaskara mudra.

Step 1: Hastautthaanaasana

Take the hands above the head while inhaling and bend the trunk backwards

  1. Inhale

Step 2: Paadahastaasana

Bend the body forward while exhaling. Touch the forehead to the knees.
Keep the palms on the floor on either side of the feet.

  1. Exhale

Step 3: Asvasanchalanasasana

In this step breathe in and kick the right leg back.
Push the buttock forward and downward so that the left leg is perpendicular to the ground.
Look up.

Step 4: Chaturanga Dandasana

In this step, exhale and take the left leg also back, resting only on palms and toes.
Keep the body straight from head to toes inclined to the ground at about 30 digrees.
Take care to keep the neck in line with the back.
Exhale.

Step 5: Sashankaasana

While inhaling, bend the legs at the knees and rest them on the floor with buttocks resting on to the inside surface of the feet with heels touching the sides of hips without altering the position of the palms and toes.
Exhale as you rest the forehead on the floor. Then relax in normal breathing.
Exhale and Normal Breathing

Step 6: Astanga Namaskara

While exhaling without shifting the positons of hands and toes, glide the body forward and hold the breath (Baahya Kumbhaka) and rest the forehead, chest, hands, knees and toes on the ground. Raise the buttock off the ground.

Note that eight points of the body are in contact with the ground- hence the name Aastaanga Namaskaara (Salutation with eight parts).

Exhale & Baahya kumbhaka

Step 7: Bhujangaasana

Inhale; raise the head and trunk making the spine concave upwards without lifting the position of the hands and feet.
Arch the back as far as you can until the elbows are straight.
Keep the knees off the ground.
Inhale

Step 8: Parvataasana

While exhaling, raise the buttocks, and push the head down util the heels touch the ground without shifting the position of hands and feet.
Exhale

Step 9: Sashankaasana

Same as step 5

While inhaling, bend the legs at the knees and rest them on the floor with buttocks resting on to the inside surface of the feet with heels touching the sides of hips without altering the position of the palms and toes.
Exhale as you rest the forehead on the floor. Then relax in normal breathing.
Exhale and Normal Breathing

Step 10: Asvasanchalasana

Inhale and bring the right leg in between the two hands. Arch the back concave upwards as in step 3 until the right leg is perpendicular to the ground.
Inhale, Exhale

Step 11: Paadahastaasana

Exhale and bring the left foot forward next to the right foot and reach down with your upper body to touch the forehead to the knees as in step 2.

Step 12: Hastautthasana

Take the hands above the head while inhaling and bend the trunk backwards.
While exhaling come to Pranaamaasana and then come back to Stithi.
Inhale

 This completes one round of Suryanamaskara Repeat 3 rounds.