Hatha Yoga: Sun Salutation Series

Introduction

Sun is the ultimate source of power and life. For the same reason, it has been worshipped since ages. It is proven that if an entity bows and prays to the sun then he or she can not only get rid of the various toxic elements in their body but also augment their creative and intuitive traits. The solar energy of the sun works directly upon our solar plexus, which is the source of creative and intuitive power in our body.

This solar plexus is a small almond size point in our body located at the back. Regular practice of Surya Namaskar helps enlarge this spot and one gradually becomes more creative and intuitive.

During the first sequence of Hatha Yoga, the yogi pays respect and prays to the Sun for their mental and physical well being. The series is composed of seven different postures. These postures are practiced at the time of early sunrise and are conducted facing towards the sun.

Prayer Pose

PRANAMASANA

‘Pranamasana’ is also known as the ‘Anjali Mudra’. ‘Anjali’ is a Sanskrit term for ‘prayer’ and mudra means ‘position’. Hence, this asana is also known as the ‘prayer’ pose. This pose is the first exercise in the Suryanamaskar Series and marks the beginning of these series. The aim of this pose is to greet and to address the ‘Sun’.

Benefits:

The pose helps in overall awakening of the mind, body and soul

A lot times you feel sluggish or inactive when you wake up in the morning. There are a plenty of reasons for the body to feel this way – lack of sleep, irregular REM, sleep apnea, over stressed body, superficial sleep, etc. A cup of black coffee might help beat the drowsiness to an extent, but it is not enough to awaken you internally. The ‘pranamasana’ warms up your body, as well as activates your solar plexus and you feel mentally, physically and spiritually awake.

It warms you up and prepares you for rest of the series

Pranamasana is the preparatory step for commencing the Suryanamaskar series. If this asana is not done properly then the body shall not be able to execute the rest of the series appropriately. Without this asana, the benefit of Suryanamaskar is incomplete.

Puts you in a calm, meditative state to focus and concentrate better.

While performing this asana, you are expected to concentrate on your breathing. As you inhale and exhale, your body and your mind gradually delves into a deep meditative state. Your spiritual energy is focused on accomplishing an attuned breathing pattern. You find yourself more alert and you are able to concentrate better.

Releases feelings of anxiety, depression and anger out from the body.

When you reach that calm and meditative state, your body and your mind begins to relax. You find yourself liberated from any accumulated emotion like anxiety, depression or anger. Your body begins to reflect and further begins to retract itself away from these feelings.

It activates your nervous system

Pranamasana activates the enzymes in your body by stimulating your nervous system. This in turn supports the body and the mind to deal with any impending stress or pressure in a more efficient manner. It has been known to help people perform better for rest of the day.

Improves spinal adjustment

If practiced on a regular basis, Pranamasana works on adjustment of the spine – keeps it aligned and intact.

Improves blood circulation and digestion

As you align your body for Pranamasana, blood circulation is improvised as the blood gets circulated towards the head region. This is vital for purification and helps improves digestion as well.

Helps you connect with your inner self

When you reach a deep meditative state, your mind begins to reflect upon its inner layers and finds its solace by communicating with the soul. You feel more connected with yourself and this helps you understand your inner self better. The pose leads us onto the path of self discovery.

Instructions on how to perform this pose for maximum benefit:  

Step 1: Assume the position of ‘Tadasana’. Stand straight on the ground, barefoot. Make sure your feet are aligned with each other and your spine is aligned as well.

Step 2: Join two hands together at the chest level where the ‘heart chakra’ lies. This would help you communicate and release all the pent up feelings from your heart into the lap of the Sun. Look straight ahead such that your chin is be parallel to the ground. You can softly gaze at the Sun. If you wish to then you could close your eyes and feel the light of the Sun graze your soul.

Step 3: Inhale up to 4 seconds and exhale in 4 seconds. Stay relaxed.

Modifications

For a spiritual experience, mantra can be chanted while practicing this pose.

Mantra during the 1st pose: OM MITRAYA NAMAH

Mantra during the 12th pose: OM BHASKARAYA NAMAH

What not to do?

Do not try this pose if you have a lot of tension in the neck and you are unable to align it with the spine.

Avoid the asana if you have recently had an abdominal surgery as this pose stretches abdominal muscle.

Make sure your hands grace the heart chakra. This chakra when touched, aids in connecting you with your inner self.

If you are pregnant or suffer from any kind of respiratory disorder, then try not to put any kind of strain while inhaling and exhaling.

Shruti Singh

Shruti Singh is a creative writer, a blogger and a yoga enthusiast. She has been practicing yoga since a few years now. And she has not looked back ever since. She claims that yoga has spiritually inspired her. And, she wishes to inspire others by sharing her thoughts and insights on it.

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