Sun Salutations – Practical guidelines
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 (Pradnya). 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.
You are at dis-ease when there is imbalance of Waat, Kapha and Pitta in the body. Daily practice in Surya Namaskar maintains steady state of these three, keeping the body in perfect health.
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 with the thought and sight of the Sun God.
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.
The word ?Moksha? means to be relieved from fear and tears. It is to get freedom from all types of woes and worries. This ?released state of mind? gives you absolute happiness. All the virtues ? the divine qualities which are nothing less than the GOD HIMSELF ? are the carriers that take you to the absolute happiness-the Moksha.
The starting shloka, the Sankalpa, the prayer, the concluding shloka, the Samarpan and the shloka of dedication are important in the process of ?know thyself?. If you can?t (or don?t want to) recite these shlokas give a thought to the meaning of each shloka while practicing Surya Namaskar.
Early morning is the best time for Surya Namaskar. Don?t eat any thing at least for five hours prior to Surya Namaskar.
Follow the body postures in each step very scrupulously. If it is not possible for you at the beginning you are free to make some minor changes, here and there, for the time being. But your final aim is to attain the perfect position.
All the diagrams merely indicate only outward body posture roughly. They are not the ideal state of Asana.
Each movement of the Asana should be divided into parts and performed gracefully.
While performing the Asanas keep your belly and hip part loose. Get the feel of the stretch and strain at the particular part of the body. The rest of the body should be free of muscle tension.
Go slow. Slow speed is for SharirShuddhi ? for cleansing the body of all sorts of toxins, fats, unwanted secretions and for restoring health. Each movement of the Asana should be graceful. Use all your physical ability to experience the stretch and strain on your body while performing the Asana
There are twelve steps in Surya Namaskar. You can count five seconds for each step of the Surya Namaskar. It means that one Surya Namaskar goes for one minute (and a bit more). This is the normal speed to perform twelve Asana / one Surya Namaskar. This speed ensures SharirVruddhi ? stedy progress in overall health and happiness. At the beginning, of course, you have to go very slow.
The body posture is important. If you have any problem at any step, revise all the given information, about the particular step, in the light of your problem. Your doubt will be solved. Make use of phone / E-mail to get your doubts cleared.
You can gain perfection in the Surya Namaskar after a long and steady practice. Be patient. Maintain slow and steady progress everyday to reach to the right posture of the Asana. Be one with the art. The Sun God will take you to the path of progress.
It is said that twenty-four Surya Namaskar, if done properly, are equal to five hundred sit-ups / pull-ups. It may be a statement of exaggeration. But it is worth to experience the physical fitness that you attain after you start practising Surya Namaskar. At the beginning of the practice, one Surya Namaskar consumes 02.30 KCL. This exercise burns out a lot of calories and reduces body mass and body weight.
If your physical capacity is to perform twelve Surya Namaskar at a time, perform only five. Give importance to use all the physical abilities to perform each and every Asana of Surya Namaskar.
The seven Chakras (the vital points), in your boy govern every of your activity. They motivate you to act, give ability to perform the act and get the action done. Doctors also give prime importance, directly or indirectly, to these vital points while treating a patient. Overall heath and strength is restored through Surya Namaskar.
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 the day.
After the practice of Surya Namaskar is over you better lay down in Shawasan / Yoga Nidra for some time.