Surya Namaskar


Long long ago, may be six thousand years ago, students of your age (8 to 20-25 years) took education at the residence of their teacher. In the Guru-Kul there were students from humble families as well as from honourable and royal families. The syllabus consisted of all arts and all types of vocational courses. Scriptures were the recommended books and the World Citizen was the final aim of education. In those days ---- just try to reach the past time of six thousand years before. Try to locate the dear and near persons of your family in the past. You can remember your grandfather or grand grandfather. You cant trace the time and persons back for more than 100 or 150 years. But your father knows the name of your ancestor who lived thousands of years before. The GOTRA of your family and the PRAWARA OF THE GOTRA both indicate the names of the ancestors and the teachers, the Guru of the family.

So, in those days, in the Guru Kul, the day started long before sunrise. And the first session was that of Suryopasana / Surya Namaskar (Worshipping the Sun God), Sandhya Vidhi and the Gayatri Japa. Today we are going to learn something about Surya Namaskar. We are going to learn what, why and how of the Surya Namaskar, step by step.

  • Lets pray to the Sun God.

  • It is early in the morning.

  • The sun is rising on the horizon.

  • You have taken bath and you feel fresh and strong.

  • Take the morning air deep into your lungs.

  • Refer to Step Ahead to Excellence Warming up exercise.

  • Stand straight. Be at ease.

  • Fold your hands in Namaskar Mudra.

  • There is no muscle tension anywhere on your body.

  • There is no tension on your head and hair.

  • No tension on your face forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, ears.

  • There is no tension on your neck.

  • Remove the tension, if there is any, on your neck, shoulders, elbows,
    wrists, palms, fingers.

  • Keep the muscles - of the stomach, abdomen, back - loose.
    Relax the muscles of the thighs, knees, ankles, feet, toes etc.

  • Be at a relaxed position.

आचम्‍य प्राणानायम्‍य ।। विष्‍णुर्विष्‍णुर्विष्‍णु:।।
अद्यपूर्वोच्‍चरित एवंगुणविशेषण वि‍शि‍ष्‍टायां शुभपुण्‍यति‍थ।।
मम शरीरे आरोग्‍यता प्राप्‍त्‍यर्थं श्रीसवि‍तासूर्यनारायण
प्राप्‍त्‍यर्थं (संख्‍या) सूर्यनमस्‍कारान् करीष्‍ये ।।


Aachaman: Open the palm straight. Keep away the thumb and the ladyfinger. Close the remaining three fingers and raise them a bit. A scoop is formed on the palm at the end of the fingers. Take a spoonful of water in the scoop. Release the water, from the wrist end of the palm, in your mouth.

Significance: Surya Namaskar generates heat and energy. Breathing becomes deep and hard. Aachaman prevents dry throat and keeps the throat and food pipe clean smooth and wet.

Pranayam: Controlling the breathing is called Pranayam. All your activities, physical-mental, are based on breathing. Inhaling is absorbing Prana Tatwa / life force in the body. Air is the carrier of Prana Tatwa / Cosmic Energy. At this stage take a deep breath and gradually release it out. Take a longer time to exhale. This time sense can be easily attained if you concentrate on the abdomen to breathe out completely. Significance: This is just a start to control breathing and to tune it with the body movements to be performed ahead in the practice of Surya Namaskar.

Meaning: The name of Lord Vishnu is repeated thrice Awahan, Stapana, Wandan (invitation, welcome, worship) Significance: This body of flesh is the legacy of Lord Vishnu, the Supreme self, the Paramatma. The meaning of the word Vishnu is omnipresent - one who is continuously and simultaneously present as a whole, at all time, everywhere. Our body is made of five elements the earth-fire-air-ether-water. The omnipresent entity was there before the creation of the five elements. Hence one who created the elements created our body. We are above the Elements we are the Supeme self, the Paramatma. In Bhagwad Gita Lord Vishnu Bhagwan says I am the (seed) source of birth and growth of all the beings. I am the birth place of all intellect and courage (Chapter 7 shloka 10) In this way our body in flesh and blood is the heritage of Him. This call for Lord Vishnu is just to remind us of this inheritance. Meaning: The outstanding quality of Surya Namaskar is that it is in practice since from time immemorial. On this auspicious day I perform Surya Namaskar in order to make my body healthy. I undergo this age old practice in the honour of Lord SuryaNarayana.

Significance: This is Sankalpa, the resolution or decision that you are going to do certain thing. This is done to make your mind alert and to urge it to give all possible strength to all the parts of the body, involved in the action, to perform the activity. The Sankalpa makes your actions result oriented. It gives desired direction to your tongue, mind and body.

If you keep on walking, for example, without any goal you will reach nowhere. Hence Sankalpa is a must before every action. My parents and grand parents and ancestors have practised this art of Surya Namaskar. I also must have done it in the previous lives. Hence worshipping the Sun God is the part of my body, mind soul. It is the part of my personality. Whatever is done is done for Him. It is done in His honour. Nothing is mine. Everything belongs to him. The possessive sense of me-my-myself is to be put on regressive mode.

The starting shloka: (The prayer.) Dhynam ध्‍येय:

Dheyah sada savitru mandala madhyawarti
Narayanah sarasijasana sannivistaha
Keyurawan makara kundalawan kiriti
Hari hiranya-maya-vapur-dhruta shankha chakrah.

ध्‍येयः सदासवितृ मंडल मध्‍यवर्ती
नारायणः सरसिजासनसन्निविष्‍ट||
केयूरवान् मकर कुंडलवान् किरीटी  
हारी हिरण्‍यमयवरपुर्धृत शंखचक्र||


Oh! Surya Narayana YOU are the crown glory, carrying shankha chakra in your hands.
YOU are the creator of joy and destroyer of sorrows.
YOU cover the entire universe with the golden twilight.
YOU are the Master, the Provider of the entire universe.
Oh! Sun God make all my efforts as bright and brilliant as the sun in the solar system.

 
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