This is a continuation of the Surya Namaskar post that we did earlier. Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar, originates from the worship of the rising sun. It is basically a sequence of movements with a holy chanting at the beginning and at the end that aims at general improvement of the body, the mind, the soul, and the chakra points.
Surya Namaskar can be practiced as an individual activity, or as an initial cardio-vascular warm up before a more strenuous exercise rigime. Surya Namaskar stretches about 97% of the body muscles and improves the general physical fitness by strengthening the joints and ligaments, and enhances the flexibility and posture. It is also considered to have a great spiritual impact on the mind and the soul and thereby elevate the concentration level and stimulate the chakra points in the body.
The entire body-functioning benefits from practicing Surya Namaskar. It is one of the best cardio-vascular yoga techniques. The digestive system gets a thorough work-out in the early morning too. And the balance needed to maintain the Surya Namaskar postures, coupled with the concentrated state of mind contributed towards improving the nervous system too. The series of movements stimulates the normal functioning of the endocrinal glands like the thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands.
Surya Namaskar Mantras
The following mantra is pronounced at the beginning of Surya Namaskar practice:
Om dhyeya sada savitra mandala madhyavarti narayana sarasija sanasanni vistah
keyuravana makarakundalavana kiriti hari hiranmaya vapura dhrtasamkha cakrah
during the performance, the mantra pronounced is:
Om Mitraaya Namah
Om Ravaye Namah
Om Sooryaya Namah
Om Bhaanave Namah
Om Khagaaya Namah
Om Pooshne Namah
Om Hiranya Garbhaaya Namah
Om Mareechaye Namah
Om Aadityaaya Namah
Om Savitre Namah
Om Arkaaya Namah
Om Bhaaskaraya Namah
Om Sri Savitra Soorya Narayanaaya Namah
and, the following mantra is pronounced at the end of Surya Namaskar practice:
adityasya namaskaran ye kurvanti dine dine
ayuh prajna balam viryam tejastesan ca jayate
The following video spells out Surya Namaskar Mantras with their meanings.
The following video demonstrates the whole sequence of the Sun Salutation with ideal movements. There are, of course, a few variations in forms accepted in the process, but these are the basic, standard steps for the exercise.
Now let us take a look at how the individual steps benefit the body in their respective capacities. The same Asana may have a separate effect when it is done a second time, depending on the sequence of the steps.
1) Tadasana – Promotes balance, stimulates the respiratory system, exercises shoulder, back and neck muscles
2) Urdhva hastasana – Promotes balance, promotes digestion, exercises arms and shoulder muscles, tones the spine, promotes flexibility in back and hips.
3) Uttanasana – Promotes blood circulation, tones abdominal tracts, stretches back and leg muscles, stimulates spinal nerves, stimulates lymphatic system
4) Chaturanga dandasana – Exercises spine, strengthens hand and wrist muscles
5) Uttanasana – Stimulates blood circulation, strengthens the heart, strengthens wrist and arm muscles, relieves neck and shoulder tension
6) Urdhva hastasana – 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) Tadasana – Stimulates circulation to abdominal organs, tones digestive tract, stretches upper and lower body, promotes flexibility in the back, stimulates nerves in spine.
Surya Namaskar can be practiced as an individual fitness exercise, or at the beginning or even at the end of a fitness regime. However may it be performed, the manifold benefits of this ancient worship exercise always contribute to improve and enrich our body, mind and soul.