Sun Salutations is one of the first things that everyone learns when they start doing yoga. It really takes a long time to practice this flow synchronized with the breath. Containing 12 asanas; steady poses as a flow with the harmony of the breath, sun salutations makes the body stretched, strengthened, and it balances the right and left, the upper and lower parts of the body. When it flows spontaneously and harmoniously, it brings peace to the mind. It builds a bridge between body, mind and soul.
As like in any yoga practices, sun salutations can’t be only count as a physical activity. It leads us to use breathing actively. This flow, traditionally applied before Hatha Yoga, and contrary to what is believed it is not part of Hatha Yoga. This spiritual practice, based on very ancient history, is applied before yoga practice to warm up and balance the body.
How to Do Sun Salutations?
Sun Salutations is a ritual where 12 asanas are done as a flow in a synchronized manner with the breath. The flow of the classical sun salutations, which starts with the right side of the body, continues with the 2nd series with the left side of the body after the completion of the 12 postures. 1 full round consists of both sides.
The back and forth movement of the spine focuses on the health of the spine. With the breath in the body opens, and with the breath out it closes. For beginners, my suggestion would be first establishing the 12 asanas correctly. Breathing will come spontaneously after correct application. And of course, breathing should be done in the form of deep abdominal breathing from the nostrils.
The first pose is the Mountain Pose. The legs are together on top of the mat with the arms at the side of the body. After the first breath is taken, the flow begins as follows.
For every step, there is a mantra chanted during sun salutations. If it is done with these mantras, they bring joy and harmony to the mind and the body. These mantras contain the real meaning of sun salutations.
Sun Salutations with Mantra*s
Prostrations to him
- Om Mitraya Namaha (who is affectionate to all)
- Om Ravaye Namaha (who is cause for change)
- Om Suryaya Namaha (who induces activity)
- Om Bhanave Namaha (who diffuses light)
- Om Khagaaye Namaha (who moves in the sky)
- Om Pushne Namaha (who nourishes all)
- Om Hiranyagharbhaya Namaha (who contains all wealth)
- Om Marichye Namaha (who possesses rays)
- Om Aadityaya Namaha (who is fit to be worshipped)
- Om Savitre Namaha (who is the reproducer of everything)
- Om Arkaaya Namaha (who is the son of Aditi**)
- Om Bhaskaraya Namaha (who is the cause of lustre)
What are the benefits of Sun Salutations?
Sun Salutations/ Surya Namaskar contributes to the strengthening and
flexibility of the body. It helps the digestive system to work properly.
Facilitates fat burning. It provides more oxygen to the lungs. It strengthens
the nervous system and memory. Refreshes skin and contributes to sleep. Helps
flexibility of the spine.
In addition to all these bodily benefits, it provides the balance of the sun
and moon energies, masculine and feminine, yin-yang energies. It provides
balance of body-mind-spirit and is helpful for mental health. When applied
regularly, the effect can be easily observed in all three bodies.
Yoga is an experimental science. However, it is a vast teaching that you can
foresee in your own experience and to understand its benefits through the
evolvement of your body and mind. As an epilogue; I am hoping to see you all at
the top of your mats.
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*Mantra: is a syllable mystical energy encased in it.
**Aditi: The mother of Gods