“In Hindu mythology, the sun god is worshipped as a symbol of health and immortal life”. The sun salutation is a graceful sequence of twelve positions performed as one continuous exercise. It is a combined process of Yoga Asanas and Pranayama (Yogic postures and regulated breathing). These alternating backward and forward bending postures flex and stretch the spinal column, in this way the body becomes flexible and the entire portion of the lungs begins to function which results in correct breathing. Moreover, it improves muscle strength and flexibility as well as ensures good circulation of blood, all this is meant to help remove blockages (disease) in the casual, subtle and physical bodies. Traditionally, it is performed at dawn, facing the rising sun.
A full round of Surya Namaskar is considered to be two sets of the twelve poses with a change in the second set to moving the opposite leg first through the series. When the exercises are done a little quickly, the gain is more physical while if they are done slowly with breath awareness the gain is more mental and spiritual.
Effective use of Surya Namaskar is experienced on three levels body, mind and intellect. The practice of Surya Namaskar is a sort of training to your body mind and soul. It works with equal force on these three aspects. It gives us physical and mental health with sharp intellect. Only 35 to 40% of your muscles are used in daily activities. Rest of the muscles remain inactive. Surya Namaskar is a physical exercise where almost 95% to 97% of your muscles are switched on to active mode. They remain active, hours ahead during the day, till you recharge them the next morning. At the beginning of the practice, one Surya Namaskar consumes 13.91 kcal. This exercise burns out a lot of calories and reduces body mass and body weight.
While performing Surya Namaskar the breathing exercise (Pranayam) gives more oxygen to your lungs. The rhythm of breathing becomes heavy with vitality. Each breath becomes deep and clear. It carries more oxygen to the parts of your body. The vital points (The Chakras) in the body get charged. The Surya-Tej in these Chakras gets enlightened.
While performing Surya Namaskar think nothing, but about the Sun God. Concentrate yourself on the meaning of the Surya Mantra, the steps in the Surya Namaskar, their sequence, the proper activities of the different parts of the body, the parts of the body where you feel stress, stretch and strain etc. This will shut your mind off from thinking. Thoughtless state of mind contains no mental stress and strain at all. It is a real rest to your mind. Freedom from mental and emotional anxiety is the sound rest to your body too.
Surya Namaskar Benefits:
• When performed properly, Surya Namaskar gives immense benefits and purifies the body, mind and soul.
• The strength in the back and legs is increased to a great extent. The waist is shaped perfectly and any skin disorder is cured off completely. When done with immense concentration, it increases confidence and boosts the personality.
• Any disease or disorder of the throat is corrected and the food pipe or esophagus is strengthened. Eyes are made stronger and sharper and the vision improves.
• The digestive system and the stomach become stronger and improve the overall metabolism. Your body becomes balanced with the correct amount of energy being released whenever wanted.
• Due to the stretching, the intestines are strengthened and the abdomen walls become stronger.
• The back muscles are toned up and strengthened to a great extent and the spine and arms become stronger.
Precautions:Persons suffering from slip-disk, arthritis, heart attack etc including pregnant women are suggested to take medical opinion before they start the practice of Surya Namaskar. If your breathing goes fast while practising Surya Namaskar, either take some rest or stop performing more Surya Namaskar for theday.