Thursday, February 9, 2017

Inventor of The Surya Namaskara

Pranayama is the ability to control one’s breath so that the inhalation and exhalation of air is rhythmic. Vayu, the god of air ans wind, first taught pranayama to his son Hanuman, who in turn taught it to mankind.

The Surya Namaskara (salutation to the sun) too, was devised by Hanuman as a greeting to his teacher Surya (Sun God).

Hanuman and Sun God

A next possible origin of the dynamic sequence of the sun could lie in the Ramanaya, one of the great epics of India.  As they see the vast ocean, they are grieved over the inability to cross this body of water. Then Hanuman recalls his powers; enlarging his body, he takes a leap and consequently flies across the ocean.

The story goes that Hanuman makes some kind of prologue before he leaps. This possible line of interpretation could be elaborated upon by linking the leap to Lanka with the leap back; from Lanka to the southern shores of India. In this leap back Hanuman’s tail is set on fire by Ravanas’ army. Hanuman's stay on Lanka could be viewed as a form of tapas (austerity). Hanuman extinguishes the fire by putting his tail in the sea. Linking the fiery practice of burning karma to the resulting coolness of true peace.

Today Surya Namaskar is practiced in many variations. Traditionally mantras accompany each of the 12 positions, with each mantra honouring the 12 zodiac signs in Hindu astrology and the 12 sound syllables containing the Shakti (energy) represented by the sun. Below is an image of the positions as well as the mantras. Perhaps this June 21st, the Summer Solstice, take some time to slowly move through each of the poses repeating the mantra and visualizing the sun shining its eternal light upon you. Even better, practice outside. A beautiful way to pay homage to the life force of the sun and to feel its Shakti energy within you.

What is surya Namaskara?

Without the Sun, there will be no life on Earth. Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a very ancient technique of paying respect or expressing gratitude to the Sun that is the source of all forms of life on the planet. Now just knowing how to do Surya Namaskar is not enough. It is also important to understand the science behind this very ancient technique, because a deeper understanding will bring forth the right outlook and approach towards this very sacred and powerful yogic technique.

1.    OM mitraya namaha ~ Salutations to the friend of all
2.    OM ravaye namaha ~ Salutations to the shining one
3.    OM suryaya namaha ~ Salutations to he who induces activity
4.    OM bhanave namaha ~ Salutations to he who illuminates
5.    OM khagaya namaha ~ Salutations to he who moves through the sky
6.    OM pushne namaha ~ Salutations to the giver of strength and nourishment
7.    OM hiranyagarbhaya namaha ~ Salutations to the golden cosmic self
8.    OM marichaye namaha ~ Salutations to the rays of the sun
9.    OM adityaya namaha ~ Salutations to the son of Aditi (the cosmic mother)
10.  OM savitre namaha ~ Salutations to the stimulating power of the sun
11.  OM arkaya namaha ~ Salutations to he who is fit to be praised
12.  OM bhaskaraya namaha ~ Salutations to he who leads to enlightenment

Image result for traditional sun salutation
Sun Salutation

The science behind Surya Namaskara:

It has been said (by the ancient Rishis of India) that the different parts of the body are governed by different Devas (divine impulses or divine light). The solar plexus (located behind the navel, which is the central point of the human body) is said to be connected with the Sun. This is the main reason why the ancient Rishis recommended the practice of Surya Namaskar, because the regular practice of this technique enhances the solar plexus, which increases one's creativity and intuitive abilities.
All our emotions get stored in the solar plexus, and it is also the point from where one's gut feelings arise. The size of the solar plexus is said to like the size of a small gooseberry. However, for those who do yoga and meditation, it becomes much bigger - almost three to four times bigger than the normal size. The more expanded your solar plexus, the greater is your mental stability and your intuition.

The body (through the physical movement), the mind (though the solar plexus) and the spirit (through the chants) get a boost from the practice of Surya Namaskar.

Surya Namaskara Steps

Benefits of Surya Namaskara:

The muscles are strengthened and become well-toned (Steps 1-12).

Blood circulation is improved and irregular menstrual cycles are regulated (Steps 3, 5, 7).
Surya namaskar is effective in reducing the weight of individuals. Abdominal muscles get well-toned and excessive fat around the waist is lost. Extra calories are lost and flexibility is improved. Digestion is improved (Steps 3 & 7).

Depression is alleviated and anxiety is reduced (Step 5).

Sleep and concentration are improved (Step 1).
Functioning of the endocrine system, including thyroid, pituitary glands, adrenal gland, parathyroid, testes, and ovaries are improved (Step 4).

Maintains good posture (Steps 2, 4)

Lord Hanuman invented Surya Namaskara as greeting to
Surya (Sun God)

Jai Sri Ram