Sunrise (Surya Namaskara)

Yoga -Asanas (Health & Fitness)


Surya Namaskar   सूर्य नमस्कार मंत्र

Surya Namaskar   सूर्य नमस्कार मंत्र

Surya Namaskar

Surya Namaskara (IPA: [suːrjɐ nɐmɐskɐːrɐ]; IAST: Sūrya Namaskāra) also known in English as Sun Salutation (lit. "salute to the sun") is a Yoga series and common sequence of asanas. Its origins lie in India where its large Hindu population worships Surya, the Hindu or Védic solar deity, by concentrating on the Sun, for vitalization. The practice supports development of the koshas, or temporal sheaths, of the subtle body.

This sequence of movements and asanas 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. It is often the beginning vinyasa within a longer yoga series. Sūrya Namaskāra may also refer to other styles of "Salutations to the Sun".

The physical aspect of the practice 'links together' 12 asanas in a dynamically expressed series. A full round of Surya Namaskara is considered to be two sets (consists of set start with right leg is moved first to backward) of the 12 asanas, with a change in the second set where the opposing leg is moved first. The asanas included in the sun salutation differ from tradition to tradition. (see diagram below for Surya Namaskar flow)

Benefits of Surya Namaskar  [view video]


Surya Namaskar 1

The physical aspect of what is called yoga in recent years, the asanas, has been much popularized in the West. Physically, the practice of Surya Namaskar is a dynamic exercise, which involves twelve (12) postures / asanas is considered to:

  • improve flexibility of body by loosening all the joints and muscles
  • improve strength
  • improve balance
  • reduce Nervous tension, stress and anxiety are eliminated
  • reduce symptoms of lower back pain
  • be beneficial for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • increase energy and decrease fatigue
  • shorten labor and improve birth outcomes
  • improve physical health and quality of life measures in the elderly
  • improve diabetes management
  • reduce sleep disturbances
  • reduce hypertension
  • improve blood circulation
  • Yoga can control the complications of diabetes
  • Thought power is enhanced
  • All major organs, mind and body is revitalized

The emphasis on the physical benefits of yoga, attributed to practice of the asanas, has de-emphasized the other traditional purposes of yoga which are to facilitate the flow of prana (vital energy) and to aid in balancing the koshas (sheaths) of the physical and metaphysical body.

Practice

  • As per the scriptures one who performs the Surya Namaskar daily does not get poor in a thousand births.
  • In a traditional Hindu context, Surya Namaskar is performed facing in the direction of the rising (east) or setting (west) sun.
  • Surya Namaskar, like most asanas, is recommended to be performed on an empty stomach. Therefore some recommend a gap of at least two hours after eating and before performing the Namaskara. It is generally practiced in the morning before breakfast or in the evening before dinner.
  • There are a total of 8 different asanas in the sequence of the 12 asana changes of Surya Namaskar. Some asanas are repeated twice in the same cycle of a Surya Namaskar.
  • Pranayama is synchronized with asanas.
  • There are 5 ways in which breathing should be done during Surya Namaskar.
  • Chakras are points-of-focus, when performing asanas.
  • Mantras can be pronounced at the start of each Surya Namaskar. Pranavakshar of Aum + Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) or the 12 mantras specific to each asana can also be chanted while performing each asana. The 12 specific mantras, though, repeated mentally instead.
  • Shavasana is practiced at the end of practice for rest.

There few other variations for Surya Namaskar been practiced. This is the one of Surya Namaskar variation practiced in Silambam Academy:

[view video]

Step Asana Breath Chakra Position
Pranavakshar of Aum
+ Beejakshara / Bīja (seed)
Sanskrit Transliteration
START

Tadasana

(Mountain Pose)

Tadasana Start

breath normally,
inhale deep before start asana #1
- - - -
1

Pranamasana with "Athma Anjali Mudra"

(Prayer pose)

Pranamasana

exhale Anahata Heart ह्रां Aum hrāṁ
2

Hasta Uttanasana

(Raised Arms pose)

Hasta Uttanasana

Notes:
- Body slightly arched backward.
- Knees are locked
- Eyes look at thumb.

inhale Vishuddhi Throat ह्रीं Aum hrīṁ
3

Paada Hastasana

(Standing Forward Bend)

Paada Hastasana

if you have back pain, just do half-way:

Paada Hastasana

Notes:
- It's ok to bend your knees if you are beginner.
- Make sure your knees are locked and leg is straight
- Relax your head & face
- place your both palm align straight line with toes beside your feet
- weight is evenly distributed at your foot bottom (not at heels)

exhale Swadhisthana Sacrum ह्रूं Aum hrūṁ
4

Ashwa Sanchalanasana

(Equestrian pose)
(add with Anjaneyasana)

Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Anjaneyasana

Notes:
- make sure your front knee and ankle below that knee is aligned straight horizontal (never bend forward as it will injure knee ligaments)

inhale Ajna Third eye ह्रैं Aum hraiṁ
5

Phalakasana / Dandasana

(Plank / Stick pose)

Phalakasana or Dandasana

exhale Swadhisthana Sacrum ह्रौं Aum hrāuṁ
6

Ashtanga Namaskara

(Salute with eight parts or points), touch the ground:
-feet / toes (2)
-knees (2)
-chest (1)
-shoulders (2)
-forehead / chin (1)

Ashtanga Namaskara

Notes:
- you may also touch your forehead on the ground, instead of chin.
- make sure your elbows are closed to your body

suspend Manipura Solar plexus ह्रः Aum hraḥ
7

Bhujangasana

(Cobra pose)

Bhujangasana

Notes by
Master Murugan (Certified Yogi RYT-500):

"Bhuja" is known as Upper Arms in Sanskrit and "Bhujangasana" is also known as Arm posture (as in Rishikesh, some Siddhar practice to straighten their arms slowly at this position to stabilise and to strengthen upper arm/shoulder. Lower back pain patience take precautions in this posture.

Notes:
- feet are flatten to the ground.
- tuck your feet and toes to normal before go to next position.

inhale Swadhisthana &
Manipura
Sacrum &
Solar plexus
ह्रां Aum hrāṁ
8

Adho Mukha Svanasana

(Downward facing dog) /
(Inverted "V" pose)

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Notes to help make your back body to straighten:
- make sure leg is straight and body arch to inverted V
- head try to reach the ground
- chest try to reach your thigh

exhale Vishuddhi Throat ह्रीं Aum hrīṁ
9

Ashwa Sanchalanasana

(Equestrian pose)
(add with Anjaneyasana)

Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Anjaneyasana

Notes:
- make sure your front knee and ankle below that knee is aligned straight horizontal (never bend forward as it will injure knee ligaments)

inhale Ajna Third eye ह्रूं Aum hrūṁ
10

Paada Hastasana

(Standing Forward Bend)

Paada Hastasana

if you have back pain, just do half-way:

Paada Hastasana

Notes:
- It's ok to bend your knees if you are beginner.
- Make sure your knees are locked and leg is straight
- Relax your head & face
- place your both palm align straight line with toes beside your feet
- weight is evenly distributed at your foot bottom (not at heels)

exhale Swadhisthana Sacrum ह्रैं Aum hraiṁ
11

Hasta Uttanasana

(Raised Arms pose)

Hasta Uttanasana

Notes:
- Body slightly arched backward.
- Knees are locked
- Eyes look at thumb.

inhale Vishuddhi Throat ह्रौं Aum hrāuṁ
12

Pranamasana with "Athma Anjali Mudra"

(Prayer pose)

Pranamasana

exhale Anahata Heart ह्रः Aum hraḥ
END

Tadasana

(Mountain Pose)

Tadasana End

breath normally, to relax heartbeat - - - -

Mantras


Sun Salutation mantras add a profound spiritual touch to the asana practice.

12 Surya Namaskar are practised per cycle.

In the table, the following first 12 mantras corresponds to the 12 asanas in Surya Namaskar. You may either chant the mantras verbally or repeated mentally in your mind during the performance of each corresponding asana. They can also be pronounced at Pranamasana. Now let's see how you can chant the mantras while doing the Sun Salutation sequence. One set of Sun Salutation comprises two rounds – one with the right leg, one with the other. It is ideally recommended to practice 12 sets of Sun Salutation daily. But you can choose your own number, according to what seems comfortable. If you choose to do 6 sets or more, chant one mantra each at the start of every new sequence. Recite the first mantra as you start one set, finish the two rounds in that set and then start the next set with the second mantra and so on. This way, you would have chanted 12 mantras with 12 sets of Sun Salutation.

If you practice less than 12 rounds of Sun Salutation – 2 or 4 – you can recite one mantra each with every posture in the sequence. This would make it 12 mantras corresponding to 12 poses of Surya Namaskar.

Salutation Sanskrit Transliteration
1 मित्राय नमः Aum mitrāya namaḥ
( Aum Mitraaya Namaha )
2 रवये नमः Aum ravaye namaḥ
( Aum Ravaye Namaha )
3 सूर्याय नमः Aum sūryāya namaḥ
( Aum Suryaya Namaha )
4 भानवे नमः Aum bhānave namaḥ
( Aum Bhaanave Namaha )
5 खगाय नमः Aum khagāya namaḥ
( Aum Khagaya Namaha )
6 पूष्णे नमः Aum pūṣṇe namaḥ
( Aum Pooshne Namaha )
7 हिरण्यगर्भाय नमः Aum hiraṇya garbhāya namaḥ
( Aum Hiranyagarbhaaya Namaha )
8 मरीचये नमः Aum marīcaye namaḥ
( Aum Mareechaye Namaha )
9 आदित्याय नमः Aum ādityāya namaḥ
( Aum Aadityaaya Namaha )
10 सवित्रे नमः Aum savitre namaḥ
( Aum Savitre Namaha )
11 अर्काय नमः Aum arkāya namaḥ
( Aum Aarkaaya Namaha )
12 भास्कराय नमः Aum bhāskarāya namaḥ
( Aum Bhaaskaraya Namaha )
13 श्रीसवितृसूर्यनारायणाय नमः Aum Śrīsavitṛsūryanārāyaṇāya namaḥ
( Aum Sri savitre Surya narayanaya Namaha )

The following mantra is pronounced at the beginning of a Surya Namaskara cycle:


ध्येयः सदा सवित्र मण्डल मध्यवर्ती नारायण सरसिजा सनसन्नि विष्टः
केयूरवान मकरकुण्डलवान किरीटी हारी हिरण्मय वपुर धृतशंख चक्रः

Aum dhyeyaḥ sadā savitra maṇḍala madhyavartī nārāyaṇa sarasijā sanasanni viṣṭaḥ
keyūravāna makarakuṇḍalavāna kirīṭī hārī hiraṇmaya vapura dhṛtaŚaṁkha cakraḥ

The following mantra is pronounced at the end of a Surya Namaskara cycle:


आदित्यस्य नमस्कारन् ये कुर्वन्ति दिने दिने
आयुः प्रज्ञा बलम् वीर्यम् तेजस्तेशान् च जायते

ādityasya namaskāran ye kurvanti dine dine
āyuḥ prajñā balam vīryam tejasteŚān ca jāyate

For those who salute the sun every day,
life expectancy, conscious, strength, courage and vital power shall grow.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Shavasana is practiced to take rest after complete full sets of Surya Namaskara


Palm facing upwards. As you exhale, CLOSE your eyes.
Shavasana

Now, take a relaxing breath. While eyes closed:

  • Inhale, Lift up right leg little bit, feel the stretch at whole right leg muscle until hip & toes. Exhale, Relax.
    shavasana leg right

  • Inhale, Lift up left leg little bit, feel the stretch at whole left leg muscle until hip & toes. Exhale, Relax.
    shavasana leg left

  • Inhale, Stretch whole arm & fingers by clunch and release. Exhale, Relax.
    shavasana arm shavasana fingers

  • Inhale, Stretch "ONLY" hip by push lifting upward. Arm and leg is remain relaxed. After that, Exhale, Relax.
    shavasana hip

  • Inhale, Stretch "ONLY" chest by push lifting upward. Arm and leg is remain relaxed. After that, Exhale, Relax.
    shavasana chest

  • Inhale, Roll your neck "ONLY" to right and then to left. Arm and leg is remain relaxed. After that, Exhale, Relax.
    shavasana neck

  • Inhale, Stretch your face, eyes, eye brows, mouth (while eyes remain closed). Arm and leg is remain relaxed. After that, release your jaw bones, BREATH NORMAL and calm, Relax.
    shavasana face

  • Total body, mind and all organ feel to deep rest. Relax for few minutes.
    Shavasana

Inhale deep, Stretch you body, toes and finger. Stretch your arm above the head. After stretch, Open eyes.
Shavasana

Turn to you right side for few seconds, and slowly come to sitting position (before stand up) / continue to do other asana.
Shavasana

History

Ancient

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the oldest known hatha yoga text does not mention "Sun Salutations" but mentions a sūrya-bhedana (sun-piercing) kumbhaka (II, 44 and 48-50), while the Gherand Samhita Sri. T. Krishnamacharya's teachings are largely responsible for the modern version of Sūrya Namaskāra as seen in modern day Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and the Visesha Vinyasa Sun Salutation subroutine from Vinyasa Krama Yoga, as well as a host of other popular forms of yoga. K. Pattabhi Jois claims to have taught exactly as he had learned from Krishnamacharya, though other than personal testimony, there seems to be no other evidence as to the precise content of Krishnamacharya's teachings. While Krishnamacharya's specific sources for his yoga teachings are unclear, it is said that he learned from Sri Ramamohana Brahmachari in the Himilayan Mountains (perhaps Muktinath where his son has visited, but certainly somewhere near the Gandaki River in Nepal) beginning in 1916; however, the source of his teaching (at the Mysore Yogashala or otherwise) is not otherwise documented. Krishnamacharya's son attests to his father having developed some of his teachings himself. There is the possibility that he may have been influenced by the Mysore Palace Gymnastics Tradition.

Puranic origins - Valmiki Ramayana

Aditya Hridayam is another ancient practice which involves a variation of Sūrya Namaskāra. It is a procedure of saluting The Sun, taught to Sri Rama by Sage Agastya, before his fight with Ravana. It is described in the "Yuddha Khanda" Canto 107 of Ramayana.

There are in total 124 names praising the Sun in the whole procedure. The names in verses 10 - 13 are given below:

"Aditya, Savita, Surya, Khaga, Pushan, Gabhastiman, Suvarnasadrisa, Bhanu, Hiranyaretas, Divakara, Haridasva, Sahasrarchish, Saptasapti, Marichiman, Timironmathana, Sambhu, Twashta, Martanda, Ansuman, Hiranyagarbha, Sisira, Tapana, Bhaskara, Ravi, Agnigarbha, Aditiputra, Sankha, Sisiranasana".

The names in bold are the names used in the present day popular Surya Namaskar are present in these four verses.

In verse 15 - 20, salutations to Sun are described. An example from the 15th verse is:

नक्षत्रग्रहताराणामधिपो विश्वभावनः। तेजसामपि तेजस्वी द्वादशात्मन् नमोऽस्तु ते ॥ १५॥
Nakshatra grahataaraanaam adhipo vishva bhaavanah. Tejasaamapi tejasvii dvaadashaatman namostute

He is the controller of the house of planets and stars, the creator of all and the resplendent among the splendid.
Oh! God, appearing in twelve forms (in the shape of twelve months of the year) salutations to you.

Vedic origins

There are numerous references of praising the Sun for the purpose of good health and prosperity, in Vedas. Some of these Vedic hymns were incorporated into Nitya Vidhi (Daily mandatory routine for a Hindu) for the well being of an individual, through salutations to the Sun. These daily procedures were termed as Surya Namaskara (literally translates as "sun salutations"). Physical prostration to Sun, showing complete surrender of oneself to God, is the main aspect of these procedures. The forms of Surya Namaskar practiced vary from region to region. Two such popular practices are Trucha Kalpa Namaskarah and Aditya Prasna, discussed below.

Trucha Kalpa Namaskarah


Trucha Kalpa Namaskarah has its origins in Rig Veda. Each Mantra in Veda is called a "rucha". Group of three rucha is called as Trucha. "Trucha Kalpa Namaskarah" is a method of performing Surya Namaskar using three ruchas from the Veda.

Sankalp


You make a resolution [Sankalp] in the beginning, that you are doing this act of performing 'sūrya namaskār' by praying to the Sun, requesting him to give you good health and strength to work hard.

Dhyāna Mantra


Then dhyāna mantra is recited / chanted.

Verse:

    ध्येयः सदा सवित्र मण्डल मध्यवर्ती नारायण सरसिजा सनसन्नि विष्टः
    केयूरवान मकरकुण्डलवान किरीटी हारी हिरण्मय वपुर धृतशंख चक्रः

    dhyeyḥ sadā savitṛmaṁḍalamadhyavartī
    nārāyaṇaḥ sarasijāsanasaṁniviṣṭaḥ |

    keyūravān makarakuṁḍalavān kirīṭī
    hārīhirṇmayavapurdhṛtaŚaṁkhacakraḥ ||

Meaning:

"Always worship 'The Sun' (our energy source) sitting at the centre of the solar system (savitra mamdal madhyavarti) on Lotus, wearing Keyoor, Makarkundal crown and holding conch, chakra and having glittering golden body."

Word by word translation of dhyana Mantra

savitṛmaṁḍalamadhyavartī (Savitrumandala-Madhyavartee) - He who lives in the centre of the solar orb.

sarasijāsanasaṁniviṣṭaḥ (Sarasijaasana Sannivishtah) - Who sits in Padmaasana

keyūravān makarakuṁḍalavān kirīṭī hārī (Keyuravaan Makara Kundalavaan Kireetee Haaree) - Who has the bracelets, the big ear-rings in the ear, the crown on the head and the pearl garland dangling on the breast.

dhṛtaŚaṁkhacakraḥ (Dhrita-Sankha-Chakrah) - Holder of Conch and Chakra.

hirṇmayavapurd (Hiranmayavapuh) - Golden-hued body.

nārāyaṇaḥ (Narayanah) - Narayana

dhyeyḥ sadā (Sadaa Dhyeyah) - Always to be meditated.

Sūrya Namaskār Mantra


After dhyāna mantra, Surya Namaskars are performed by chanting mantras. Mantras are arranged in a specific way. They consist of the three ruchas taken from 1st Mandala, 9th anuvak 50th Sookta in Rig Veda, which are composed in 'Anushtup Chandas'. Kanva Sage [Rushi] is believed to have composed them.

Transliteration of the three ruchas :

udhyannadhya mitramaha ārohannuttarāṃ divam |
hṛdroghaṃ mamsūrya harimāṇaṃca nāŚaya ||

Śukeṣume harimāṇaṃ ropaṇākāsu dadhmasi |
atho hāridraveṣume harimāṇaṃ ni dadhmasi ||

udaghādayamādityo viŚvena sahasā saha |
dviṣantaṃ mahyaṃ randhyan mo aham dviṣate radham ||

Translation of the three ruchas :

11. Rising this day, O rich in friends, ascending to the loftier heaven,
Surya remove my heart's disease, take from me this my yellow hue.

12. To parrots and to starlings let us give away my yellowness,
Or this my yellowness let us transfer to Haritala trees.

13. With all his conquering vigour this Aditya hath gone up on high,
Giving my foe into mine hand: let me not be my foeman's prey.

Meaning of the three ruchas :

"O, radiant Sun rising in the sky, please destroy the disease in my heart as well as diseases of my external body. Let inner and outer diseases of my body be destroyed by brilliantly shining Sun-the son of Aditi."

Sūrya Namaskār Nama Mantra


Nama mantra of the Surya Namaskar have FOUR sections. This is the component for creation of "Nama Mantras".

    (1) Pranavakshar - Aum

    (2) 6 Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) - hrāṁ, hrīṁ, hrūṁ, hraiṁ, hrāuṁ, hraḥ (arranged in order of their usage)

    (3) 12 Paada - 4 Paada for each of the 3 ruchas (are explained in detail as above in 3 ruchas segment).

    (4) 12 names of Surya 'The Sun' - in the order of their usage are:

Names of SuryaMeanings
Mitra (mitrāya)Who is friendly to all
Ravi (ravaye)The shining one, the radiant one
Surya (sūryāya)Who is the dispeller of darkness and responsible for bringing activity
Bhanu (bhānave)One who illumines, the bright one
Khaga (khagāya)Who is all-pervading, one who moves through the sky
Pushan (pūṣṇe)Giver of nourishment and fulfillment
Hiranyagarbha
(hiraṇya garbhāya)
Who has golden color brilliance
Marichiman (marīcaye)The giver of light with infinite number of rays
Aditya (ādityāya)The son of Aditi – the cosmic divine Mother
Savitr (savitre)One who is responsible for life
Arka (arkāya)Worthy of praise and glory
Bhaskara (bhāskarāya)Giver of wisdom and cosmic illumination

The mantra, start with short arrangements of the words at the beginning of the worship and evolve into more complex structures near the end. The mantra for the ease of discussion can be classified into four steps.

Step 1

Aum + 1 Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) + 1 rucha + 1 Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) + Aum + 1 Name of Sun

Example Mantra :

    Aum hrāṁ udhyannadhya mitramaha hrāṁ Aum mitrāya namaḥ ||
    Aum hrīṁ ārohannuttarāṃ divam hrīṁ Aum ravaye namaḥ ||

12 mantra, formed using the 12 Paada of the ruchas, are chanted / recited at this step. As there are only 6 Beejakshara / Bīja (seed), for the seventh mantra the first Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) is used and the order is repeated up to the 12th mantra. For each mantra one Surya Namaskar is performed.

Step 2

"Aum + 2 Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) + 2 Paada + 2 Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) + Aum + 2 Names of Sun"

Example Mantra :

    Aum hrāṁ hrīṁ udhyannadhya mitramaḥ ārohannuttarāṁ divam hrāṁ hrīṁ Aum mitrāya ravaye namaḥ ||

6 mantras are chanted / recited at this step as there are 12 Paadas. For each mantra one Surya Namaskar is performed.

Step 3

"Aum + 4 Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) + 4 Paada + 4 Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) + Aum + 4 Names of Sun"

3 mantras are chanted / recited at this stage. For each mantra one Surya Namaskar is performed.

Step 4

"Aum + ALL Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) + All Paadas + ALL Beejakshara / Bīja (seed) + Aum + All Names of Sun"

1 mantra is chanted / recited at this step. One Surya Namaskar is performed at this step.

Thus after all the four steps, 22 mantras are chanted / recited and with each mantra one Surya Namaskar is performed. When this cycle is repeated three times, 66 Surya Namaskars are performed. This way ONE Trucha Kalpa Namaskar is completed.

Teertha Shloka


In the end, Teertha Shloka is chanted / recited.

Verse:

    आदित्यस्य नमस्कारन् ये कुर्वन्ति दिने दिने |
    जन्मान्तरसहस्रेषु दारिद्र्यं नोपजायते ||

    अकाल् म्रूत्यूहरणं सर्व व्याधिविनाशनम |
    सूर्य पादोदकं तीर्थ जठरे धारयाम्यहम ||

    अनेन नमस्काराख्येन कर्मगा श्रीसवितृसूर्यनारायण: प्रीयताम ||

    ādityasya Namaskaraṁ ye kurvanti dinedine |
    janmāṁ tarasahasre ṣudaridhryaṁ nopajāyate ||

    akālamṛtyuharaṇm sarvavyādhivinaŚanam |
    sūryapādodakaṁ tīrtham jaṭharedhārayāmyaham ||

    anen Namaskarakhyen karmaga shrisavitruSuryanarayan priyataam ||

Meaning:

Those who perform Soorya Namaskars daily, do not face poverty in life (this actually relates to Richness of Health, not financial matters), one does not face early death or suffer from diseases. Drink the water kept before The Sun.

In some versions of this mantra सूर्य Surya in the second verse is replaced by विष्णो Vishnu. It is recited while taking Tirth [Holy Water] after doing Surya Namaskar. This is the most commonly followed Mantra by practitioners of Surya Namaskar.

    आदित्यस्य नमस्कारन् ये कुर्वन्ति दिने दिने |
    आयुः प्रज्ञा बलम् वीर्यम् तेजस्तेशान् च जायते ||

    ādityasya namaskāran ye kurvanti dine dine |
    āyuḥ prajñā balam vīryam tejasteŚān ca jāyate ||

Yet another version of the same mantra, dedicated to Vishnu or Narayan is as follows:

    अकाल् म्रूत्यूहरणं सर्व व्याधिविनाशनम |
    विष्णो पादोदकम तीर्थ जठरे धारयाम्यहम ||

    शरीरे जर्जरीभूते व्याधीग्रस्ते कलेवरे |
    औषधम जान्हवीतोयम वैद्यो नारायाणो हरी ||

    akal mrityuharan sarva vyadhivinasham |
    vishnu paadodak tirth jatre dharyamyham ||

    shirire jarjribhute vyadhigraste kalevare |
    aushdham jhanvhitoyam vaidho narayano hari ||

Aditya Prasna


The verses used in Aditya Prasna are taken from the first chapter of "Yajur Veda, Taittiriya Aranyakam", which is also referred to as Surya Namaskara chapter. It is popularly practiced in South India. There are 132 anuvaks in this chapter and it is a practice to recite perform sun salutations with prostrations after recitation of every anuvak.

Physical exercise

Most of the asanas in the procedure themselves have documented in old literature.

"Sashtang dandavat", which is the central asana of the Surya Namaskar, was followed from time immemorial in India as a form of showing respect and complete surrender to God. "Bhujangasana" was described as one of the 32 important asanas in "Gheranda Samhita" (dated around 1802 A.D.) which describes the yoga prevalent in north-east India. "Bhujangasana" (Sarpasana), "Adho Mukha Svanasana" (Gajasana), "Uttanasana" and series of postures done in tandem, similar to Surya Namaskar are all described in Sritattvanidhi which was written by the order of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1799–1868) to capture the Hindu knowledge of his time.

The use of Surya Namaskar for physical exercise is also not modern. Bhagavat Simhaji on Page 61 in the book A Short History of Aryan medical science published in 1896 says "There are various kinds of physical exercise indoors and outdoors. But some of the Hindoos set aside a portion of their daily worship for making salutations to the Sun by prostrations. This method of adoration affords them so much muscular activity that it takes to some extent the place of physical exercise".

Historically it is widely believed in the state of Maharashtra that Shivaji Maharaj, Sage Samarth Ramdas and the Marathas have performed Surya Namaskar as a physical exercise to develop able bodies. This is not surprising [unknown source of whom this statement referred to] since 'vyayama' (physical exercise in Sanskrit) traditionally has been influenced by spirituality. Many physical practices have ingrained spiritual values in them. In addition spiritual training is considered as a part of physical training from ancient times in India.

Recent academic research details documentary evidence that physical journals in the early 20th century were full of the postural shapes that were very similar to Krishnamacharya's asana system. In particular, the flowing Surya Namaskar which later became the basis of Krishnamacharya's Mysore style, was not yet considered part of yogasana.

Raja of Aundh

Another indication as to the origins of Sūrya Namaskāra is the 1928 Indian publication of "The Ten Point Way of Health" by Holiness Meherban Shrimant Raja Bhavan Rao Srinivas ("Bala Sahib"), Pant Pratinidhi of Aundh (1868–1951; Raja of Aundh 1909-1947) occupies an important position in the history of Surya Namaskar, followed by later publication in England in 1938. The Raja claims to have practiced the series as a child. And some sources report that only after extensive practice and analysis (and potentially modification) himself did he finally publish the book. Some of the Western scholars take a narrow view of the word "origin" and question the ancient origins. They are of the view that an old manuscript with the exact sequence of the whole procedure needs to be present for it to be considered ancient and classify Surya Namaskar as a modern physical exercise invented by Raja of Aundh. Thus, the true origin of the series remains unclear, though it has to be noted that Raja of Aundh, himself never claimed to have invented Surya Namaskar. Further he actually stressed on the ancient origins of this procedure. He helped in popularizing Surya Namaskar as a simple physical exercise for all round development of an individual in India. He introduced it in schools as a form of education and encouraged even the ordinary man to be physically fit by performing Surya Namaskar every day. Still, how exactly Sūrya Namaskāra came to be included in the yogic practices of Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga remains unclear.

English Publications

The existence of procedures of sun salutations for health in ancient India are not confined to Hindu texts and literature written by Hindu scholars. Early English publications record some of the ancient ways of sun salutation; however, the do not seem to be related to the modern Sūrya Namaskāra as seen in Yoga practice today. In "A Catalogue raisonnée [sic] of oriental manuscripts". (Year: 1860, Page 246) Rev. William Cooke Taylor, noted that a short book with 71 leaves with "Tricha calpa vidhi" from "Aditya Puranam" was preserved. He describes the vidhi as "Modes of rendering homage to Sun, with praise and spells; the object being health or delivery from disease". He further notes the presence of Arghya Pradana, Surya Stotaram, Aditya dvadasa namam - 12 names of the Sun according to the monthly signs of zodiac, Surya Narayana cavacham, Saurashtacshari mantram, and many other elaborate rituals as the part of the vidhi. In Page 148 of the same book he describes a shorter version called "Laghu tricha kalpa vidhi".

"Surya Namaskars: An Ancient Indian Exercise" by Apa Pant (son of HH Meherban Shrimant Raja BHAVAN RAO SHRINIVAS 'BALA SAHIB', Pant Pratinidhi of Aundh—see below)

Other References

Other sources which cite early use of "Sun Salutations" are A Short History of Aryan Medical Science from 1896, which claims that in India "there are various kinds of physical exercise indoors and outdoors. But some of the Hindus set aside a portion of their daily worship for making salutations to the Sun by prostrations. This method of adoration affords them so much muscular activity that it takes to some extent the place of physical exercise".

Historically it is widely believed in the state of Maharashtra that Shivaji Maharaj, Sage Samarth Ramdas and the Marathas have performed Sūrya Namaskāra as a physical exercise to develop able bodies. This may be related to vyayama ("physical exercise" in Sanskrit) being traditionally influenced by spirituality. Many physical practices have ingrained spiritual values in them. In addition spiritual training is considered as a part of physical training from ancient times in India.

 

References

Data Arrangement, Technical Arrangement & Graphics
Master Murugan Chillayah - Silambam Academy
 
References
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