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21 December 2008

Sun salutation

Among many Sun Salutation techniques, Sivananda Sun Salutation stands out. It was developed by Swami Sivananda, a practicing medical doctor (MD) before taking up monasticism, therefore developed by a person with knowledge of the human body.

In Hindu mythology, the sun god is worshiped as a symbol of health and immortal life. The Rig Veda declares that "Surya is the Soul, both of the moving and unmoving beings". The Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) originated as a series of prostrations to the sun. Traditionally, it is performed at dawn, facing the rising sun. In time, each of the twelve positions came to have its own mantra, celebrating aspects of the sun's divinity.

The Sun Salutation is a graceful sequence of twelve positions performed as one continuous exercise. Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing.

One round of Sun Salutation consists of two sequences, the first leading with the right foot in positions 4 and 9, the second leading with the left. Keep your hands in one place from positions 3 to 10 and try to co-ordinate your movements with your breathing. Start by practicing four rounds and gradually build up to twelve rounds. The sun salutation animation below shows the sequence of the twelve postures.

Sun salutation

  1. Stand erect with feet together and hands in the prayer position in front of your chest. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Exhale.
  2. Inhaling, stretch your arms up and arch back from the waist, pushing the hips out, legs straight. Relax your neck.
  3. Exhaling, fold forward, and press your palms down, fingertips in line with toes - bend your knees if necessary.
  4. Inhaling, bring the left (or right) leg back and place the knee on the floor. Arch back and look up, lifting your chin.
  5. Retaining the breath, bring the other leg back and support your weight on hands and toes.
  6. Exhaling, lower your knees, then your chest and then your forehead, keeping your hips up and your toes curled under.
  7. Inhaling, lower your hips, point your toes and bend back. Keep legs together and shoulders down. Look up and back.
  8. Exhaling, curl your toes under, raise your hips and pivot into an inverted "V"shape. Try to push your heels and head down and keep your shoulders back.
  9. Inhaling, step forward and place the left (or right) foot between your hands. Rest the other knee on the floor and look up, as in position 4.
  10. Exhaling, bring the other leg forward and bend down from the waist, keeping your palms as in position 3.
  11. Inhaling, streach your arms forward, then up and back over your head and bend back slowly from the waist, as in position 1.
  12. Exhaling, gently come back to an upright position and bring your arms down by your sides.

The key of success with Sun Salutation, is to stay within the physical limits of your body. Do not push it. You are supposed to feel good practising Sun Salutation.

Comments (5)
Sun Salutation
1 Monday, 13 July 2009 08:55
Janice Hanlon
I love the illustrations and can confirm that doing these daily makes you feel, relaxed, energised, happy and optimistic.
GREAT SUN SALTUTE VERSION
2 Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:11
SARASWATi
GREAT SUN SALUTE VERSION AND GREAT POSTING OF THIS. i HAVE DONE THIS SALUTE FOR YEARS: KEEPS YOU FIT: FLEXIBLE AND HEALTHY.
sun salutation
3 Tuesday, 15 May 2012 07:07
Linda Green
I could be mistaken, however, I noticed that it states in your article that Swami Sivananda created the Sun Salutation. I remember Swami Vishnudevananda telling me many years ago that he was responsible for creating the Sun Salutation. He was a student of Sivananda. Linda
sun salutation benefits
4 Friday, 14 September 2012 09:35
arun
I really enjoy doing sun salutation. It helped me a lot in going through the entire day with full of energy and enthusiasm. I really feel the difference. It was taught in my yoga classes and I have become more attracted to the yoga classes!!! Really great!. pls try and feel the difference yourself...!
Sun salutation
5 Friday, 26 April 2013 12:15
Savann
I love the sun salutation, I do it several times a day starting first thing in the morning. I take five minutes now and then, at work, after work and in the evening and it makes me feel absolutely great!!!!
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In Section: Mind and body - This article belongs to category: Hatha yoga

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It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.

Dalai Lama


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