Definition - What does Ashtanga Namaskara mean?
Ashtanga namaskara is a posture where the body is balanced on eight points of contact with the floor: feet, knees, chest, chin and hands. It forms part of the classical Surya Namaskar sequence and is also used as an alternative to chaturanga dandasana.
The name comes from the Sanskrit words, ashta, meaning “eight,” anga, meaning “part” or “limb,” and namaskara, meaning “bowing” or “greeting." Ashtanga namaskara may also be known in English as knee-chest-chin pose.
Yogapedia explains Ashtanga Namaskara
The gesture in this asana of lowering the body to touch the floor is considered a salute or paying homage. It is often performed by devotees to pay respect to the gods when visiting temples in India.
It is said that focus should be directed to the manipura chakra as the chest touches the floor in this posture. When performed during Surya Namaskara, the mantra, Aum Pooshne namah can be chanted, which means “Salutations to Pushan, the mystic fire,” or “Salutations to the one who gives strength.” An alternative, shorter bija mantra can be used during more rapid practice, which is Om Hrah.