Surya Namaskara



Sūrya namaskāra (Salute to the Sun) also commonly called Surya Namaskar, is a modern form of sun worship, self vitalization and exercise introduction. This sequence of movements and poses can be practised on varying levels of awareness, ranging from that of physical exercise in various styles, to a complete sadhana which incorporates asana, pranayama, mantra and chakra meditation.

Despite numerous and persistent claims of ancient, even 'Vedic' origin, the prevalent Surya Namaskar sequence has no ancient foundation, but is rather a 20th-century invention of Bhawanrao Pantpritinidhi, the Rajah of Aundh. Based upon vyayam, the fitness regime of traditional wrestlers that develops strength, with flexibility and muscle bulk, it was first described in 1929, and only gained popularity after he taught it to an admiring British journalist whilst he was studying Law in London, in 1937. A book soon followed ('The Ten Point Way to Health', J.M. Dent & Sons, 1938) and thus Surya Namaskar spread throughout the world, until it came to be commonly, and yet wholly erroneously, accepted as an ancient yogic practice with some historical, spiritual lineage.

Today, the late Rajah’s Surya Namaskar routines remain the preferred cardiovascular exercise for the older wrestlers in India, as a safe way in which to maintain their physique and stature.

The physical base of the practice links together twelve asanas in a dynamically performed series. These asanas are ordered so that they alternately stretch the spine backwards and forwards. When performed in the usual way, each asana is moved into with alternate inhalation and exhalation (except for the sixth asana where the breath is held in external suspension). A full round of sūrya namaskāra is considered to be two sets of the twelve poses with a change in the second set to moving the opposite leg first through the series.

Proponents of the use of Sūrya namaskāra as part of the modern yoga tradition prefer to perform it at sunrise, which the orthodox consider to be the most 'spiritually favourable' time of the day.

Sūrya namaskāra is a gentle practice. This makes it open to people of all ages and levels. However, teachers caution that it is also a very powerful practice and that it can be unobvious while performing the series how much effect it is having on the body. They advise that it is important to have not eaten for at least three hours before practising, to not overdo the exercise and to rest adequately afterwards. Usually practitioners rest in shavasana (the corpse pose) while their respiration and heartbeat return to normal.

As with all exercise maximal benefit is obtained by performing the practice regularly, rather than excessive performance in any one session.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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