Pranayama is the capacity to control one’s breathing such that air is inhaled and exhaled in a rhythmic pattern. Vayu, the god of air and wind, taught pranayama to his son Hanuman, who then taught it to the rest of humanity. Hanuman also invented the Surya Namaskara (sun salutation) as a tribute to his instructor Surya (Sun God).
The Ramanaya, one of India’s great epics, could be the next likely source of the sun’s dynamic sequence. When they view the enormous ocean, they are disappointed because they will not be able to cross it. Hanuman then summons his abilities, expanding his body and leaping across the water.
According to legend, Hanuman performs some sort of prelude before leaping. This line of thought could be expanded upon by connecting the leap to Lanka with the leap back; from Lanka to India’s southern coastlines. Ravanas’ army sets fire to Hanuman’s tail during this leap back. Hanuman’s stay on Lanka might be considered tapas (austerity).
Hanuman puts his tail in the sea and extinguishes the fire. The coolness of ultimate serenity is linked to the fiery practice of burning karma.
Surya Namaskar is now practiced in a variety of ways. Each of the 12 places is traditionally accompanied with a mantra, with each mantra honoring the 12 Hindu zodiac signs and the 12 sound syllables holding the Shakti (energy) represented by the sun. The placements and mantras are depicted in the graphic below. Take some time this Summer Solstice, June 21st, to carefully move through each of the poses while repeating the mantra and envisioning the sun shedding its eternal light on you. It’s much better if you can practice outside. A lovely approach to honor the sun’s life power and to connect with its Shakti energy.
What is Surya Namaskara?
There will be no life on Earth without the Sun. Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation, is an ancient method of showing homage or expressing thanks to the Sun, which is the source of all life on the earth. Knowing how to do Surya Namaskar is no longer sufficient. It’s also crucial to grasp the science behind this extremely old technique, because a better understanding can help you approach this incredibly sacred and powerful yogic practise with the appropriate mindset and approach.
- OM mitraya namaha – Greetings to all friends
- Salutations to the radiant one, OM ravaye namaha
- OM suryaya namaha – Salutations to the one who brings forth activity
- Salutations to He Who Illuminates OM bhanave namaha
- OM khagaya namaha – Salutations to the One Who Moves Through Space
- OM pushne namaha – Salutations to the source of all strength and power.
- OM hiranyagarbhaya namaha – Salutations to the Golden Universal Self
- Salutations to the sun’s rays, OM marichaye namaha
- OM adityaya namaha (Salutations to Aditi’s son) (the cosmic mother)
- OM savitre namaha – Salutations to the sun’s energising power
- OM arkaya namaha – Salutations to the praiseworthy one Salutations to the one who leads to insight, OM bhaskaraya namaha.
The science behind Surya Namaskara:
The ancient Indian Rishis claimed that the various portions of the body are governed by different Devas (divine impulses or divine light). The solar plexus (placed behind the navel, the human body’s center point) is considered to be linked to the Sun. The ancient Rishis encouraged the practice of Surya Namaskar because it strengthens the solar plexus, which improves one’s creativity and intuitive powers.
The solar plexus is where all of our emotions are housed, as well as where one’s gut feelings emerge. The solar plexus is reported to be similar in size to a small gooseberry. However, for people who practice yoga and meditation, it expands to approximately three to four times its regular size. The more your solar plexus expands, the more mental stability and intuition you’ll have.
The practice of Surya Namaskar benefits the body (through physical movement), the intellect (via the solar plexus), and the soul (through mantras).
Benefits of Surya Namaskara:
- Muscles are strengthened and toned as a result of this treatment (Steps 1-12).
- Circulation is enhanced, and menstrual cycles that are erratic are managed. (Steps 3, 5, 7, and 8)
- Surya namaskar is useful in helping people lose weight. The abdominal muscles are toned, and the excess fat around the waist is gone. Calories are burned more efficiently, and flexibility is enhanced. Digestion is better (Steps 3 & 7).
- Anxiety is decreased and depression is alleviated (Step 5).
- The quality of sleep and focus has improved (Step 1).
- The endocrine system, which includes the thyroid, pituitary glands, adrenal glands, parathyroid, testes, and ovaries, functions well (Step 4).
- Maintains a healthy posture (Steps 2, 4)