Surya Namaskara

Surya Namaskara

:"For the chapter from the holy text Taittirīya Āranyaka, see Surya namaskara chapter".
Surya Namaskara (IAST: "Sūrya namaskāra") or Sun Salutation (lit. "salute to the sun"), is a common sequence of Hatha yoga asanas. Its origins lie in a worship of Surya, the Hindu solar deity. This sequence of movements and poses can be practised on varying levels of awareness, ranging from that of physical exercise in various styles, to a complete "sadhana" which incorporates "asana", "pranayama", "mantra" and chakra meditation.

The physical base of the practice links together twelve "asanas" in a dynamically performed series. These "asanas" are ordered so that they alternately stretch the spine backwards and forwards. When performed in the usual way, each "asana" is moved into with alternate inhalation and exhalation (except for the sixth "asana" where the breath is held in external suspension). A full round of "Surya namaskara" is considered to be two sets of the twelve poses with a change in the second set to moving the opposite leg first through the series.

Proponents of the use of "Surya namaskara" as part of the modern yoga tradition prefer to perform it at sunrise, which the orthodox consider to be the most 'spiritually favourable' time of the day.


;Vedic: There are numerous references to praising the Sun to enhance good health and prosperity, in the Vedas. Some of these Vedic hymns were incorporated into Nitya Vidhi (Daily mandatory routine for a Hindu). These daily procedures were termed Surya Namaskara (literally translates as "sun salutations"). Physical prostration to Sun, showing complete surrender of oneself to God, is the main aspect of these procedures. The forms of Surya Namaskar practiced vary from region to region. Two such popular practices are Trucha Kapla Namaskarah and Aditya Prasna.

;Puranic: Aditya Hridayam [ [, Aditya Hrudayam with English translation] ] [ [ Translation of Ramayana by Griffith] ] is another ancient practice which involves surya namaskar. It is a procedure of saluting The Sun, taught to Sri Rama by Sage Agastya, before his fight with Ravana. It is described in the "Yuddha Khanda" Canto 107 of Ramayana.

;Old English References: Early English publications record some of the ancient ways of sun salutation. In "A Catalogue raisonnée of oriental manuscripts" [ [ William Cooke Taylor, A Catalogue raisonnée of oriental manuscripts, H. Smith, (year 1860)] ] . (Year: 1860, Page 246) Rev. William Cooke Taylor, noted that a short book with 71 leaves with "Tricha calpa vidhi" from "Aditya Puranam" was preserved. He describes the vidhi as "Modes of rendering homage to Sun, with praise and spells; the object being health or delivery from disease". He further notes the presence of Arghya Pradana, Surya Stotaram, Aditya dvadasa namam - 12 names of the Sun according to the monthly signs of zodiac, Surya Narayana cavacham, Saurashtacshari mantram, and many other elaborate rituals as the part of the vidhi. In Page 148 of the same book he describes a shorter version called "Laghu tricha kalpa vidhi".


* Surya Namaskara is practiced only after a gap of 2 hours of having food, generally in the morning time or evening. [""preferable to do suryanamaskar early mornings" [] ]
* Surya Namaskaras are performed on a mat, not on the floor.
* Generally 12 Surya Namaskaras are performed at one practice. If starting practice for the first time, it is generally started with fewer (3 to 6) Namaskaras per day, and then gradually increased to 12 Namaskaras in a week's time. [ [] if you are new, start with 2-3 ]
* Shavasana is practiced at the end of practice for rest.
* Breathing(pranayamas) is synchronised with asanas as mentioned in the table below.
* Mantras are pronounced at start of each Surya namaskara as mentioned in table below.
* Some asanas are repeated twice in the same cycle of a Surya Namaskara, there are total of 8 postures in the sequence of 12 postures of Surya namaskara.
* Practice of "yoga postures" (asanas) generally follows a surya namaskara practice. [ [ Hatha Yoga ] ]
* In a traditional Hindu context, Surya Namaskara is always performed facing in the direction of the rising or setting sun.

eries summary

Mantras to pronounce

The following mantras are pronounced at start of each "Surya Namaskara" when in Pranamasana.

ee also

*Yoga postures
*Surya Namaskar Origins


* "Surya namaskara", "A Technique of Solar Vitalization", Swami Satyananda Saraswati, ISBN 81-85787-35-2.
* "Suryanamaskara", Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, New York: Ashtanga Yoga New York, 2005.
* "Yoga in Modern India", Joseph S. Alter, Princeton University Press, 2004.
* "Ten Point Way to Health", Rajah of Aundh, J.M. Dent & Sons, 1938

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