Surya Namaskara

Definition - What does Surya Namaskara mean?

Surya Namaskara is one of the most important yoga practices. It is the set of 12 yoga poses which can be performed while chanting 12 different mantras. Mantras add a profound spiritual element to the practice.

Surya Namaskara is sometimes translated as "eternal salutations to the sun." In Sanskrit, surya means "sun" and namaskara means "salutations." The practice of Surya Namaskara awakens the body intelligence to create energy directly from the sun. In the Vedic tradition, the sun is symbolic of consciousness and, therefore, has been worshiped daily in the Indian culture.

Surya Namaskara is also referred to as Sun Salutation in English.

Yogapedia explains Surya Namaskara

Surya Namaskara is designed to access the ethereal energy that exists all around us. Every morning at dawn, the air is filled with prana shakti, or life energy. When performed facing east during the first rays of the morning sun, breathing correctly and chanting the mantras, one experiences a phenomenal effect on the mind, body and spirit.

Surya Namaskara A consists of the following asanas:

  1. Samasthiti (Tadasana or Mountain Pose)
  2. Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
  3. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
  4. Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Fold)
  5. Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose)
  6. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-facing Dog Pose)
  7. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog Pose)
  8. Transition – feet to hands
  9. Ardha Uttanasana
  10. Uttanasana
  11. Urdhva Hastasana
  12. Samasthiti

Surya Namaskara B consists of the following asanas:

  1. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
  2. Uttanasana
  3. Ardha Uttanasana
  4. Chaturanga Dandasana
  5. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
  6. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  7. Virabhadrasana A (Right foot forward)
  8. Chaturanga Dandasana
  9. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
  10. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  11. Virabhadrasana A (Left foot forward)
  12. Chaturanga Dandasana
  13. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
  14. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  15. Transition – feet to hands
  16. Ardha Uttanasana
  17. Utkatasana
  18. Urdhva Hastasana
  19. Samasthiti

This morning practice is designed to work on all body parts, every organ, every system and every chakra. It is also believed to be the most efficient way to connect with our core inner strength.

The following are some more benefits of Surya Namaskara:

  • Due to a beautiful combination of the variability and repetitive nature of Surya Namaskara, it allows individuals to perform self-motivated practice without getting bored or mindless and it allows for easy self-maneuvering since it is repetitive in nature.
  • Adding mantras during the practice removes monotony, provides harmony within and produces soothing vibrations that removes fatigue.
  • Mudras, like namaste, and poses, like ashtanga, bring humility and remove self-binding ego in the practitioner.
  • Salutations to the sun, the visible divinity in nature, allows one to practice in faith. Visualizing the sun in one's heart center brings a sense of peace and wholeness.

The body is equipped with the innate intelligence to produce energy from the sun directly. The mind, through the solar plexus; the body, through physical movement; and the spirit, through the chants, all get a boost from the practice of Surya Namaskara. Therefore, it is a complete workout for mind, body and soul.

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