Definition - What does Surya mean?
Surya is the name of the main sun god in Hinduism. The same name comes from the Sanskrit word for "sun." Surya stands for willpower, courage and vitality.
Surya is an important concept in yoga because, since ancient times, yogis have worshipped the sun through mantras, movements and salutations. Modern yoga classes often include a Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskara, which is a sequence of dynamic asanas in devotion to the sun.
Surya is regarded by some as the Supreme Deity and can be worshipped as one of the five primary forms of God.
Yogapedia explains Surya
Surya, or Lord Surya, is sometimes described as the god of health. Depictions of Surya often show him riding a chariot, which is harnessed by seven horses. These horses represent the seven chakras.
Hindus and yogis revere Surya as being the creator of life on Earth and may regard him as the spiritual heart of the world. Thus, the sun salutations of Surya Namaskara acknowledge and revere this divinity. They are, in essence, a moving prayer to the sun.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, who popularized the Ashtanga yoga method, is reported as saying that no yoga practice is complete unless it includes sun worship. He advocated praying to Surya before performing Surya Namaskara in order to focus the mind and set one's intention on achieving unity with God.