Surya Namaskara is a well-known vital technique within the yogic practices. It is versatility and application makes it one of the most useful methods to induce a healthy, vigorous and active life and at the same time prepare for spiritual awakening and the resultant expansion of awareness.
In recent years more and more people have moved away from mere ritual and are turning to yoga as a method for exploring and improving their inner lives. Though the need for techniques to enhance physical, mental and spiritual evolution has been recognized, the fast pace of modern living makes it difficult for even the most determined individual to implement yoga practice. And it is practice, which is the most important and fundamental issue in terms of our betterment.
Surya Namaskara is an integral part of the yogic approach and can be easily integrated into our daily lives for it requires only 5 to 15 minutes of practice daily to obtain remarkably fast and beneficial results. It is therefore ideal for even the most active individuals, such as the busy business man, the housewife with a family to feed and manage the student who is facing examinations, or the scientist who spends most of his day thinking.
Surya Namaskara is more than just a series of physical exercises, though of course it stretches, massages, tones and stimulates all the muscles, vital organs and physical parts of alternatively flexing the body backwards and forwards. It also has a depth and completeness as a spiritual practice.
THE SOLAR TRADITION
Surya Namaskara is a practice, which has been handed down from the sages of Vedic times. Surya means ‘sun’ andnamaskara means ‘salutation’. In ancient times the sun was worshipped as a daily ritual because it is a powerful symbol of spiritual consciousness. It was initiated by enlightened sages who knew that these practices helped to maintain health and led to greater social creativity and productivity.
Surya Namaskara is composed of the three elements of form, energy and rhythm. The twelve postures create the physical matrix around which the form of the practice is woven. These postures generate prana, subtle, energy, which activates the psychic body. Their performance in a steady, rhythmic sequence reflects the rhythms of the universe, such as the twenty-four hours of the day, the twelve zodiac phases of the year, the biorhythms of our own body. The rhythmic superimposition of this form and energy on our present body/mind complex is the transforming force which generates the nucleus of a fuller and more active life and a greater application of the richness of the world we live in.
SALUTE OF THE SUN
Surya Namaskara is a practice whose origins date far back to the earliest epochs of history, when man first became aware of a spiritual power within himself, reflected in the material universe. The awareness is the foundation of yoga. Surya namaskara, meaning ‘salutation to the sun’, can be seen as a form of worship of the sun, and all that it represents on the micro and macrocosmic levels. In yogic terms this indicates that the practice of surya namaskara awakens the solar aspects of man’s nature and release this vital energy for the development of higher awareness. This can be realized by the practice of surya namaskara each morning as well as being a fine way to pay tribute to the sources of creation and life.