Sun salutation 

Awakening the inner sun 

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a complete Sadhana, inclusive of Asana, Mantra, Pranayama and Chakra meditation. Surya Namaskar was devised as a Yogic practice 7000 years ago, to facilitate lymph drainage in an amazing manner. This was properly understood by modern science only 70 years ago.

Our lymphatic system has vessels just like our circulatory system, but does not have a pump (whereas the circulatory system has the heart). In order to clear the lymph, the clear extracellular fluid that is collected by the lymphatic vessels and filtered by the lymph nodes), the lymphatic system must be pumped manually.

The lymph movement relies on contraction of smooth muscle tissue lining the walls of lymph vessels (peristalsis). Movement of skeletal muscles is also important for driving lymph along the systems network of vessels to lymph nodes and from these to lymph ducts where the lymph tissue joins cardiovascular circulation.

Breathing with awareness centers and grounds the energies and creates a deeply harmonious rhythm within the body and lower the fluctuation of mind.

Pranayam is not just to oxygenate blood, deep exhales release the toxins out of body and also activate the lymph drainage.

Each of the 12 steps of the whole Sun cycle target specific regions of the body.  

Postures (Asana)

1) Namaskarasana
Stand erect with folded hands close to the chest. Relax and breathe normally.
Chakra – Anahata Chakra/OM hram.
Mantra – Om Maitreya nam-ah (the friend of all)

Promotes balance, stimulates the respiratory system, exercises shoulder, back and neck muscles

2) Parvatasana
Raise both the hands above the head. Inhale while raising your hands. Bend the trunk and neck slightly backwards.
Chakra – Vishuddhi/OM hrim
Mantra – Om Ravaye nam-ah (praised by all)

Promotes balance, promotes digestion, exercises arms and shoulder muscles, tones the spine, promotes flexibility in back and hips.

3) Namaskara Hastapadasana
Bend forward till your hands touch the floor. Breathe out while bending forward.
Chakra – Swadhistana/OM hram
Mantra – Om Suryaya nam-ah (the guide of all)

Promotes blood circulation, tones abdominal tracts, stretches back and leg muscles, stimulates spinal nerves, stimulates lymphatic system.

4) Ekapada Prasaranasana
Stretch the left leg as far back as possible while inhaling in. At the same time, bend the right knee. The hands should be kept straight with fingers touching the floor. Arch the back a little with head tilted back. Look straight ahead.
Chakra – Ajna/OM hraim
Mantra – Om Bhanave nam-ah (the bestower of beauty)

Exercises spine, strengthens hand and wrist muscles.

5) Bhudharasana
While exhaling, take the right leg backward and place it along the left leg. Raise the buttocks. Let the hands be straight supporting the weight of the body. The head should be placed between the hands.
Chakra – Vishhuddi/OM hraum
Mantra – Om Khagaya nam-ah (stimulator of the senses)

Stimulates blood circulation, strengthens the heart, strengthens wrist and arm muscles, relieves neck and shoulder tension

6) Ashthanga Pranipatasana
Lower the body to the ground in such a way that it touches the floor in eight locations – The two feet, the two knees, the two hands, the chest and the head. 
Chakra – Manipura/OM hrah
Mantra – Om Pushne nam-ah (the nourisher of all)

Strengthens leg and arm muscles, increases flexibility in neck and shoulders, stretches arms, shoulder, neck and back muscles, exercises back muscles, releases tension in neck and shoulder.

7) Bhujangasana
Raise the body by using the hands. Arch the head backwards.
Chakra – Swadhistana/OM hram
Mantra – Om Hiranyagarbhaya nam-ah (the creator)

Stimulates circulation to abdominal organs, tones digestive tract, stretches upper and lower body, promotes flexibility in the back, stimulates nerves in spine.

8-12 are similar to 5-1

8 ) Bhudharasana
Chakra – Vishuddhi/OM hrim
Mantra – Om Marichaye nam-ah (destroyer of disease)

9) Ekapada Prasaranasana
Chakra – Ajna/OM hrum
Mantra – Om Adityaya nam-ah (the inspirer)

10) Namaskara Hastapadasana
Chakra – Swadhistana/OM hraim
Mantra – Om Savitre nam-ah (the purifier)

11) Parvatasana
Chakra – Vishuddhi/OM hraum
Mantra – Om Arkaya nam-ah (the radiant)

12) Namaskarasana
Chakra – Anahata/OM hrah
Mantra – Om Bhaskaraya nam-ah (the illuminator)

Complete the round by repeating the steps. Only this time, start with taking the left foot behind in step number 4 and bringing the right foot forward in step number 9. Once done, you would’ve completed one round of Surya Namaskar.

The practice must be taken on an empty stomach after sunrise.

 

Benefits

  • It benefits joints, ligaments and the skeletal system by improving posture, flexibility and balance
  • Boosts blood circulation
  • Benefits the Endocrine system and enables the various endocrinal glands to function properly. These include the thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands as well as the adrenal gland, testes and ovaries
  • Helps people suffering from insomnia
  • It is good for the heart and stimulates the cardiovascular system
  • Tones up the digestive system by the alternate stretching and compression of abdominal organs. It activates digestion and gets rid of constipation and dyspepsia
  • It stimulates the lymphatic system and supports respiratory system health, as well
  • Influences the pineal gland and hypothalamus to prevent pineal degeneration and calcification
  • One of the best techniques to keep your sugar under control in Diabetes
  • It gives vitality and strength. It also reduces the feeling of restlessness and anxiety
  • Surya Namaskar relieves stress, improves concentration and gives inner peace

 

Text: Rohan Kapur

Art: Catron Arno (top) and unknown (sequence)

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