Surya Namaskar is a Vinyasa (a continuous cycle of chained asanas). It is a complete practice that includes asana, pranayama, mantra and meditative technique as part of a daily routine. This practice is carried out between Sukshma Vyayama and Yogasanas, and is performed at dawn or dusk looking at the Sun.
There are mainly two forms of Surya Namaskar, the traditional 12-step and the more dynamic 15-step Vinyasa form, although different variations can be found. Each form is performed in two rounds alternating feet, each round is performed after the pronunciation of “Omkara” with the appropriate Bija mantra, along with the corresponding name of the Sun God in the following sequence.
Physical benefits: It is a great cardiovascular exercise that prepares the body and mind for a vigorous, healthy and active life. It gives body mobility, physical strength and induces an alert mind.
Therapeutic benefits: Stretches and tones all the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body, also massages the internal organs. It increases and improves blood circulation, the brain is activated and the mind is refreshed.
Spiritual Benefits: Expands consciousness, induces a sense of freedom, mental acuity and willpower. It regulates the Nadi Pingala leading to a balance of the energy system, both physically and mentally.
Limits: People with heart problems should refrain from this practice. Menstruating or advanced pregnant women should avoid jumping or rapid movements in reversal.
Mantra: Before starting the practice stand in front of the Sun and visualize its energy and warmth in the center of your heart, sing the following verses from the Isa Upanishad.
Hiranmayena patrena Satyasyapihitam Mukham
Tat tuam Pusam Aparvnu Satya Dharmaye Drstaye
Like a vessel, O Sun, your golden sphere covers the entrance of truth. Kindly open your entrance to lead me to the truth.
Surya namaskar traditional 12 steps
Position yourself on the front of your mat in the Tadasana pose. Tada means mountain, ásana means posture.
Stretch your body to the sky, try to get your back straight, shoulders separated from your ears, and raise your head until the jaw is parallel to your mat.
Put your toes together and rotate your thighs inwardly to join them . Make Uddiyana bandha (tuck the abdomen in and up) and lift the sternum. Extend your arms to the sides of your body with your palms next to your thighs and fingers pointing to the ground. Breathe deeply, bring your hands to the chest in Namasté position, visualize the energy and heat of the Sun expanding through your chest.
Om Mitraya Namaha: Greeting to the friend of all