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The literal meaning of surya namaskar means sun salutations. Ancient Yogis used to begin their day with prayers and exercises devoted towards the Sun. These exercises were nothing but Surya Namskar along with Mantras. These mantras are various names of Sun with specific and deep meaning attached to it. It is an ancient yoga technique in which a series of asanas are performed in a graceful manner.

Man’s Intimate, Ancient & Sacred relationship with Sun

Sun is considered as the ultimate source of life energy for living beings on the earth including plants. When you  perform Surya Namaskar; you are expressing your gratitude towards Sun God who nourishes our lives. Water, air and sun energy are essentials of life. The absence of one of these sources will result in our exodus. The sun has always been worshiped throughout all ancient civilizations. India has the tradition of worshiping the Sun for thousands of years. Kings who ruled India were categorized in two major clans Suryavanshi (Sun Dynasty) and Chandravanshi (Moon Dynasty). They worshiped Sun and Moon respectively and all the rituals were structured around Sun and Moon.

Each living being borrows his energy and intelligence from the Sun. They know that they owe their existence to the Sun. It is believed that Sun is the eye of Supreme Brahman (higher intelligence) and hence revereing him is our foremost duty.

When was surya namaskar originated?

The history of Surya Namaskaras dates back to thousands of years. It remains a mystery as to when and how surya namaskar originated. Some believe that this technique has been practiced in India since Vedic era–means approximately from 2,500 years ago. However, some scholars give credit for the re-invention of Surya namaskar to Shrimant Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi, Raja of Aundh (a former princely state of India, post independence now a part of state of Maharashtra),  in the early 20th century–then this technique was spread to the other parts of the world during the 1920s or 1930s.

The Ten-Point Way to Health

But in his book, “The Ten-Point Way to Health”, published by J M Dent & Sons, he himself mentions that a tradition of praying to Sun in the form of exercises dates back to thousands of years. He describes that the surya namaskar practice can be adapted by anybody, kids, ladies or even senior citizens. It is  a very easy way to keep your body healthy without any tools and at any place. Rajah describes 10 postures surya namaskar in his book. He has explained in detail about surya namaskar benefits to kids, ladies and old people. He doesn’t forget to mention that this practice extends beyond any religion.

How surya namaskar are beneficial to us?

Your physical, psychological, and spiritual health is determined by the solar plexus, says Sadguru. A practice helps to raise solar heat in the system. It balances out glandular secretion and mucus level in the body. Those who are practicing surya namaskar regularly can give several benefits of surya namaskar–we will be able to write at least a thousand pages book for it. You feel very light and energized when you practice surya  namaskar on a regular basis. Your stamina and strength sees multitudes rise.  It also helps establish mental stability. Women’s irregular menses can get corrected through the regular practice of Surya namaskar. 

If you have been practicing surya namaskar just as the exercise so far; now try to practice them with gratitude for Sun. Practice each posture with breath awareness and preciseness in postures; the same practice of surya namaskar would make you feel more energized, balanced, strong and nourished. 

12 Surya namaskar postures with their Mantras :

AsanaSanskrit MantraMeaning
Stithprathanasanaॐ मित्राय नमः (Oṃ Mitrāya Namaḥ)Salutation to who is friendly to all
Hastha uttanasanaॐ रवये नमः (Oṃ Ravaye Namaḥ)Salutation to who is a cause of all changes
Padhastasanaॐ सूर्याय नमः (Oṃ Sūryāya Namaḥ)Salutation to who induces all activity
Ashwa Sanchalanasanaॐ भानवे नमः (Oṃ Bhānave Namaḥ)Salutation to who illuminates
Adho Mukh Svanasanaॐ खगाय नमः (Oṃ Khagāya Namaḥ)Salutation to who moves in the sky
Ashtanga Namaskarॐ पूष्णे नमः (Oṃ Pūṣṇe Namaḥ)Salutation to who nourishes all
Urdhhva Mukha Svanasanaॐ हिरण्यगर्भाय नमः (Oṃ Hiraṇya Garbhāya Namaḥ)Salutation to who is golden cosmic self
Adho Mukh Svanasanaॐ मरीचये नमः (Oṃ Marīcaye Namaḥ)Salutation to who is lord of dawn
Ashwa Sanchalanasanaॐ आदित्याय नमः (Oṃ Ādityāya Namaḥ)Salutation to who is son of Aditi, cosmic mother
Padhastasanaॐ सवित्रे नमः (Oṃ Savitre Namaḥ)Salutation to who creates everything
Hastha uttanasanaॐ अर्काय नमः( Oṃ Arkāya Namaḥ)Salutation to who is worthy to be worshiped
Prathanasanaॐ भास्कराय नमः (Oṃ Bhāskarāya Namaḥ)Salutation to who leads to enlightenment

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