Salute to the Sun
Surya Namaskara is a series of twelve physical postures. These alternating backward and forward bending asanas flex and stretch the spinal column and limbs through their maximum range. The series gives such a profound stretch to the whole of the body that few other forms of exercise can be compared with it.

Most beginners will discover stiffness in their bodies from muscular tensions, tightness in the tendons, and toxic deposits in the joints. Stiffness, lack of coordination, and the tendency to strain, can all be overcome through practising very slowly, with emphasis on a awareness and relaxation in each posture. Whatever little physical effort is applied, then appears effortless. Regular practice of Surya Namaskara is one of the most rapid methods of obtaining a supple body.

The practice should be mastered by first becoming familiar with the postures individually and then as a whole. Synchronizing the breath with the movements is the next step. When this is achieved, it will be found that the breathing sequence complements the postures, and to breathe in any other manner would be awkward and difficult. The basic breathing principle followed is inhalation during backward bending postures, due to expansion of the chest, and exhalation with forward bending postures, due to compression of the chest and abdomen.

Before the practice
Before commencing the practice, stand with the feet together, or slightly apart, arms relaxed by your side. Close your eyes and become aware of the whole physical body.

Develop awareness of your body as you would in the practice of yoga nidra. Starting at the top of the head work your awareness down through the body, relaxing any tensions you find on the way. The awareness is like a torchlight piercing into the darkness of the body. Then develop whole body awareness again. Ask yourself, 'How do I feel in relation to my body? Am I relaxed, comfortable with myself? Then adjust your position so that you are more comfortable with yourself. Feel that you are being pulled upwards by a rope attached to the top of your head.

Now, take your awareness to the bottom of your feet and feel the soles in contact with the floor. Feel that your whole body is being pulled downwards by gravity and that all the tensions from the top of your head are being pulled down through your feet and into the ground. At the same time be aware of the vital force moving up through your body, allowing you to maintain a relaxed and comfortable upright position. Be aware of this for a few moments and then go on to the practice of Surya Namaskara. Inhale deeply.

The Twelve Postures of Surya Namaskara



The Solar Tradition Salute to The Sun
Guidelines for Surya Namaskara Shavasana
Sun Mantras Surya Namaskara for Children
Therapeutic Principles Shri Surya Namskaar Mantra
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