Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Sun Salutations - Surya Namaskar

1 and 2. TADASANA to URDHVA HASTASANA - Mountain Pose (Start with hands in Namaste at heart centre and raise arms overhead in Namaste): Stretches shoulders, chest, abdomen and strengthens postural muscles. Expands the inhalation. Uplifting, energizing and grounding. Focus on anahata (heart) chakra then vishuddhi chakra  (throat centre).

Mantra: First of all start with hands in Namaste at heart centre, mantra is Om Mitraya Namaha, then as arms are extended overhead, the mantra is Om Ravaye Namaha - salutations to the shining one.

3. UTTANASANA - Standing Forward Bend: Relaxing, stretches spine, hamstrings, gluteals, calves, increases circulation to brain. Strengthens legs, abdomen, hips. Rejuvenating, improves memory, massages internal organs, improves digestion, reduces excess weight. Chakra: muladhara (root) for grounding.
Mantra: Om Suryaya Namaha - salutations to he who induces activity.
4. ARDHA CHANDRASANA - Half Moon (Right foot leads/goes back): Mobilises hips, stretches spine, shoulders, ribcage & chest, ilio psoas, quadriceps, strengthens legs and feet, opens up inhalation. Uplifting, energizing, balancing and grounding. Focus on vishudhi chakra at throat for communication, anahata chakra at heart to balance compassion & love with courage and independence. Chakra: ajna (eyebrow centre) for intuition and clarity. The variation shown here is for moon salutations. In the sun salutations the hands are on the ground in this posture.
Mantra: Om Bhanave Namaha - salutations to he who illumines.

5. ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA - Downward Facing Dog: Strengthens arms, legs, shoulders, wrists, abdomen, spine. Stretches hamstrings, calves, Achilles tendon, spine, shoulders. Improves circulation to brain and memory. Rejuvenating, relaxing & invigorating. Lengthens exhalation and improves inhalation. Chakra: Vishuddhi (throat) for communication and expression.  Mantra: Om Khagaya Namaha - salutations to she who moves quickly in the sky. Then bring knees, chest and chin to the floor, with hands by the sides. Chakra: Manipura (solar plexus) for strength of will,  ambition and drive. Mantra: Om Pushne Namaha - salutations to the giver of strength.

6. BHUJANGASANA - Cobra pose (hips on ground, elbows bent) or URDHVA MUKHA SVANASANA - Upward Facing Dog: Strengthens arms, wrists, shoulders and spine. Stretches chest, ribcage, ilio psoas. Expands inhalation. Chakra: svadisthana (between navel and base of spine) for fluidity, emotions, embracing growth and change. Mantra: Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha - salutations to the golden cosmic self.

Repeat 1-5 in reverse order to get back to standing (right foot leads). For full round, repeat whole sequence from 1 (left foot leads). 

7. Om Marichaye Namaha - salutations to the Lord of the Dawn. Chakra: Vishuddhi.

8. Om Adityaya Namaha - salutations to the son of Aditi, the cosmic mother. Chakra: Ajna

9. Om Savitre Namaha - salutations to the Lord of Creation. Chakra: Svadisthana.

10. Om Arkaya Namaha - salutations to he who is fit to be praised. Chakra: Vishuddhi.

11 and 12. Finally, as with the starting position, bring the hands to Namaste in front of the heart centre, and the mantra is Om Bhaskaraya Namaha - salutations to he who leads to enlightenment. Chakra: Anahata.

Please note: this is a very brief description to aid current students with their learning. Please practice with a qualified yoga teacher and if you have any medical conditions consult your doctor prior to practice.  . Contra-indications: high blood pressure, glaucoma, heart/back problems, RSI, injury. For a full list consult your yoga teacher.