Surya Namaskar, or Salutation to the Sun, is an ancient yogic practice dating back centuries. It is a sequence of twelve postures or asanas that gently stretch and warm the body and build strength and vitality. It is known to stabilize the mind and cultivate peace, clarity, and awareness. Surya Namaskar is thought to be a powerful way to initiate a yoga practice as it touches on all levels of the human being. To many practitioners, it is a meditation and prayer as well as a physical exercise.
Anatomical Benefits of Surya Namaskar
Surya Namaskar works many of the major muscles of the body, stretching and toning them as well as strengthening the lungs, heart and abdominal organs. Practicing it regularly can not only improve flexibility and increase muscle strength, but also helps to bring balance to the body, allowing it to function optimally. Intense stretching during Surya Namaskar helps to improve circulation and assists the lymphatic system, aiding in the body’s ability to ward off disease.
The Gayatri Mantra is often chanted at the beginning of a Surya Namaskar practice to honor the sun and its powerful essence. The Sanskrit prayer refers to the cosmic radiance that resides within each and every one of us. It is believed to purify and awaken the heart and to unleash new potentials in the mind and body. The Gayatri Mantra is chanted three times, in reverence to the sun and its power.
Surya Namaskar is a powerful yogic practice that has withstood the test of time. With a mindful practice and an attitude of conscious reverence, this ancient yogic tradition can benefit all practitioners. By dedicating to the practice, not only can one experience physical wellness and agility, but emotional balance and feeling of wellbeing as well.