So much more than a warm-up to begin asana practice, Surya Namaskar is a foundational practice in many yoga linages and a complete sadhana or spiritual practice in its own right. Incorporating asana (postures), pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) and mantra (sacred verses with powerful sound qualities). Once you know the sequence, Surya Namaskar takes on a deeply meditative quality.
‘Surya’ meaning sun and ‘Namaskar’ meaning salutation honours the life giving energy of the sun that sustains and nourishes all life on Earth. Traditionally, Surya Namaskar is practiced around the time of sunrise or sunset when the energy is most sattvic (pure).
In yoga, the sun is represented by pingala or surya nadi, the prana channel that ascends through the right nostril which is activating, energising and masculine in nature.
Practiced regularly, Surya Namaskar has the following benefits:
Stimulates and balances all bodily systems for optimal health and wellbeing.
Strengthens the body and improves muscle tone.
Improves range of motion for freer and easier movement.
Helps to remove excess fat and maintain a healthy body weight.
Develops mental focus and concentration.
Helps to calm the mind.
Restores harmony and balance to the entire body-mind system.