SUNDAY SPEICAL : My favourite Surya Namaskar
51 Days Yoga Consciousness Series 2nd May-21st June 2021
Namaste All My Yoga Yaatris! May Yog Bless You!
Knowledge of Yoga is infinite, boundless and timeless. “Learning Yoga is an everlasting journey that leads you within and Within is where you find the world of immortal bliss”. –Mitraasha
The idea behind running this 51 Days Yoga Consciousness series is to proffer my modest learnings and share the divine pearls of Yoga science with people at large. Let’s have a conjoint intent to learn, implement and extend the wisdom of Yoga with a positive co-action and harmonious reverberation amongst each other.
Today, I am going to talk about one of the most versatile, powerful, vigorous and very beneficial set-series of ancient yogic asanas, fondly and famously known as Surya Namaskar!
Surya- The Sun
What would life be like without the Sun? One cannot even imagine that. Sun being the primordial and the highest source of powers sustaining life on earth, it has been revered no less than a supreme Lord from time immemorial. It is my most favourite star too. It is called Surya in Hindi and Vivaswan in Sanskrit.
For hundreds of years, the Sun is being worshipped as a part of a daily ritual in several parts of India.
Surya Namaskar( where ‘Surya’ means the sun and namaskar means to bow down in respect in a specific form.) is an ancient classical practice of extending veneration and showing thankfulness to the sun lord, which exemplifies spiritual consciousness and is the foremost reason for having life on earth. It is a technique that stimulates the pingala nadi and vitalizes the body by dousing in the solar energy.
Surya Namaskar- The Sun Salutation
The 12 Surya Namaskar steps or Sun Salutation is one of the preferred yogic kriyas for many practitioners. It is a well assembled technique that inculcates a yogic sequence of 12 yoga asanas that consists of a total of 7 asanas out of which 5 are repeated twice. For the modern day sedentary-stressful lifestyle, and especially during this pandemic phase, Surya Namaskar has been proven to be very beneficial for the practitioners due to its manifold advantages, that too even with minimum rounds of practice.
It is a wonderful workout regime that can be done amidst the early morning sunrays ,after taking a bath and before doing any other yoga performances, to avail maximum benefit. However, it can also be done during other times too, like when one feels too tired during the day, this practice helps to gain the lost energy, both physically and mentally. The rhythmic and systematic contraction and expansion of the chest cavity makes the body energetic, joints flexible, spinal cord more supple, balances the mind and also aids in stimulating the pineal and the hypothalamus glands. With regular and constant practice, the spiritual benefits follow the physical and mental benefits of Surya Namaskar.
Surya Namaskar with Mantras
With each of the 12 postures of Surya Namaskar, one mantra is associated. Recitation of these mantras along with performing the asanas, either mentally or orally proves to be optimally beneficial. The beginning part is the chanting of Aum, the middle part is the chanting of a ‘Bija Mantra’, and the end part is chanting of Namaha. These 12 mantras are the 12 names of Sun, which are Mitra, Ravi, Surya, Bhanu, Khaga, Pushan, Hiranyagarbha, Marichi, Aditya, Savithra, Arkay and Bhaskar respectively. The chanting of the mantra begins from the stomach and travels through the heart, brain and to the whole body stimulating the chakras, digestive, respiratory and sensory actions. It is advisable to chant the sun salutation mantras with the proper intonations. Incorporate chanting of these mantras in your daily practices of Suryanamaskar if possible and experience a sense of unison with the almighty sun.
Poses, the associated mantras and their respective meanings
|1||Sthita Prarthana Asana||Om Mitraya Namaha||Affectionate to all|
|2||HastottanAsana||Om Ravaye Namaha||The shining one-causes of all changes|
|3||Hastapadasana||Om Suryaya Namaha||Dispeller of dark and induces all activity|
|4||Ashwa-Sanchalan Asana||Om Bhaanave Namaha||Who lights- the bright one|
|5||Adho-Mukha-Svanasana||Om Khagaya Namaha||One who moves over the sky|
|6||Ashtanga Namaskara||Om Pooshne Namaha||Giver of nutrition and satisfaction|
|7||Bhujangasana||Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namaha||Who contains everything|
|8||Adho-Mukha-Svanasana||Om Mareechaye Namaha||The giver of light with unlimited number of rays|
|9||Ashwa-Sanchalan Asana||Om Adityaya Namaha||The son of Aditi-Gods of Gods|
|10||Hastapadasana||Om Savitre Namaha||One who produces everything|
|11||HastottanAsana||Om Arkaya Namaha||Worthy of praise and worship|
|12||Sthita Prarthana Asana||Om Bhaskaraya Namaha||Giver of wisdom and cosmic lighting|
How to do it?
Stand upright with hands on their respective sides and feet together as close as possible. Maintain the body weight on the balls of the feet, towards the big toe. Keep head and neck straight, abdomen in normal profile and chin tucked in, parallel to the floor. Fix your gaze in front of you straight ahead at one point and keep your mind and body calm and relaxed.
sequence of steps
- Sthita Prarthana Asana/ Pranamasana : Folding both your hands at elbow, join your palms in Namaskar mudra and place them in front of your chest, close to the sternum. Maintain your shoulders and elbows at ease and quietly observe the breath. (ref pic:1)
- Hasta-uttanasana : Keeping the feet firm, inhaling, raise both your arms upright above your head and try to arch slightly backwards by bending the trunk. (ref pic:2)
- Hastapadasana : Next, keeping the legs straight and the head between the hands, exhaling gently bend forward from the waist. Lead your hands down to the floor, place beside the feet and bring your forehead closer to the knees. (ref pic:3)
- Ashwa- Sanchalanasana : Inhaling and maintaining your palms on the floor, gently bend your left knee, keeping it between the hands and take your right leg behind as much as is possible. Lift your head up, look straight and simultaneously arch the spine a little backwards. (ref pic:4)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana : With an exhale, take your left foot behind parallel to the right one and straighten the arms. Concurrently uplift the hips and move the head facing downwards positioned between the arms. Keeping the knees & elbows straight, try to place the heels firmly on the floor. (ref pic:5)
- Ashtanga Namaskara : Now in a suspended breath, gently bring your body towards the floor in a way that the toes, knees, chest, chin, hands touch the floor, and the hips are maintained slightly up briefly or as much is possible. (ref pic:6)
- Bhujangasana : Now with an inhalation,bring down the hips and elevate the head in a way that the back is arched to an extent till the hands are straightened, while the palms being rested firmly on the floor. (ref pic:7)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana-(Repeat step-5) : Exhaling, first lower the trunk and then raise the hips up to bring the head again facing downwards between the arms to come again into the posture practiced at number 5. Maintain the knees & elbows straight and heels firmly touching the floor. (ref pic:8)
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana-(Repeat step-4) : Inhaling, bend the right knee and keep it between the hands, palms firmly placed on the floor. Synchronously take the left leg behind as much as possible. Lift your head up, look straight and simultaneously arch the spine a little backwards. (ref pic:9)
- Hastapadasana – (Repeat step-3) : With an exhalation, bring the left leg to the side of the right one. Place the hands beside the feet with palms firmly fixed on the floor and concurrently straighten both the knees, gently pull the forehead in place closer to the knees. (ref pic:10)
- Hasta-uttanasana – (Repeat step-2) : Inhaling, take both the arms and head right up, while straightening the back and then try to arch slightly backwards by bending the trunk. (ref pic:11)
- Sthita Prarthana Asana/ Pranamasana – (Repeat step-1) : Now, with an exhalation, straighten back your trunk and bring both the hands down. Join your palms in Namaskar mudra in front of the chest closer to the sternum. Maintain your shoulders and elbows at ease and quietly observe the breath. (ref pic:12)
Note: People perform Surya Namaskar with variations in some steps/postures
Now repeat all of the above steps with the left leg going behind first in Ashwasanchalan Asana, to complete one full round.
Initially begin with practicing 1-2 rounds with a pause between them and then gradually you may increase the number as per the individual capacity and comfort.
It aids the functioning and stimulation of the entire body and improves all the organs. It strengthens the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers, back, stomach, waist, abdomen, intestines, thighs, knees, calves and ankles. It kills the redundant fat, especially the fat near the abdomen, hips, thighs, neck and chin.
It invigorates the nervous system and also helps in curing diseases related to the digestive system,removes constipation, eliminates toxins and improvises the appetite. It expands the vital capacity of the lungs and revitalizes the working of the endocrine system. It aids in better blood circulation, helps to cope with insomnia, and regulates the menstrual cycle.
Adds mental as well as physical poise to the practitioner’s personality. Improves and expands one’s concentration, self-confidence, positivity and will power. Makes one physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually a strong person.
Thought of the day: “The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind & the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life” – BKS Iyengar
Link to day 14 : Tratak – To Gaze https://kreately.in/day-14-trataka-kriyato-gaze-mitraasha/
Link to day 16 : Meditative Asana 1: Sthita Prarthna Asana https://kreately.in/day-16-meditative-asana-1-sthita-prarthna-asana-mitraasha/
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