Sun is the soul of all.
As The Sun rises in its splendid glory, it lights up every cell in us; even the most minute living being gets rejuvenated. That’s the reason I enjoy worshiping The Sun the most. I do a Surya Namaskar as a daily ritual to pay my tribute to the Sun God – an essential element of our solar system.
Sarvatma ch divanatho manah: kumudbandhav: |
satvam kujo budhai: prokto budho vanipradayak: ||12||
devejyo jyansukhado bhraguviryapradayak: |
rishibhi: praktanai: proktashchaayasrunushcha dhukahda: ||13||
The Sun is the soul of all.
The Moon is the mind.
Mars is one’s strength.
Mercury is the speech giver.
Jupiter confers knowledge and happiness.
Venus governs semen while Saturn indicates grief.
Brihat Parasar Hora Shastra, ch 2 V12-13
I have taken this verse from Brihat Parasar Hora Shastra. Sage Parasar, father of the great Vyasa Muni, wrote this scripture to provide further insight into astrology.
Sages, swamis, and munis have always fascinated me. I love to listen to their stories and the siddhis they hold. When Swamiji recites verses or tells an account from the Puranas, I feel time must freeze, but the stories must flow forever.
Today’s write up is on Sun Salutation. Since my teenage years, I have a natural inclination towards Surya Namaskar. I find it a complete Yog (union) in itself. I have learned Surya Namaskar from various schools, but my heart reached its ultimate destination when I completed my Yoga teachers’ training course from Sivananda Kutir, Uttarkashi. (More in the end about my experience there.)
There is a beautiful rhythm in nature’s every action. Even The Sun follows this system. It follows a pattern – to rise every morning in the East and set in the West. The secret to success – a pattern. That’s why we are asked to do Sadhana at the same time and the same place regularly. But we do not follow this basic instruction, and instead, sometimes we sit in the living room, sometimes in the bedroom or sometimes even in the dining room for our prayers. What if The Sun did the same? Rise from the North or West or Southwest for a change, or even worse… not rise at all??? Oh, the entire world would go haywire! Right?!! So, it is crucial to be like The Sun and follow a pattern in your life… always make sure you get up and sleep at the same time. Even for food, regular timings need to be maintained. Quite difficult to achieve this, hai na?! Oh, my dear self-discipline can achieve this… It’s not rocket science!
Well, well, to gain success, we ought to be self-disciplined like our Sun.
During my turmoil days in the year 2015, I was broken down mentally, emotionally, and physically. It was then that I found my Vedic teacher who asked me about my lifestyle and daily routine before starting my course on Vedic literature. It was only when I discussed this with him; I realized I had no sleeping pattern at all… sometimes I would sleep as late as 2 a.m and rise by 10-11 a.m., no eating pattern, no regular Sadhana! After listening patiently to all of this, he put down the phone quietly and messaged me just two magical words–Surya Namaskar @ Sunrise.
Surprised that just these words could salvage my life, I embarked on my journey to practice Surya Namaskar. Believe me; I couldn’t achieve this for a few weeks. But slowly, I got into the habit and did a few sets of the Surya Namaskar religiously. I gradually got my calling and started doing pretty well in my new career. My general perspective in life changed, and things fell in place, all due to this pattern.
I was so amazed by the practice and its beautiful effects that I started telling all and sundry to do this at sunrise. Few did and felt good, and some never bothered to listen.
My Vedic teacher is one of the most humble human beings I have ever met. He gave away this secret so selflessly. Just doing Surya Namaskar @ Sunrise brought so much clarity to my mind that I found my path. I recommend this practice to one and all.
In this practice, there is a set of 12 asanas. Six asanas, each attributed to a different chakra, are done and repeated. These asanas give amazing flexibility to the spinal cord.
Keep in mind the following while doing the Surya Namaskar:
1. The best time to practice is at sunrise. As simple as this …when do you welcome your guest when they come home? When they enter your house, right. Similarly, a new sun, a new hope, a new dream, a new morning… Every morning! The Sun is giving you an opportunity every morning… go for it!
2. When practicing in the morning face East and during the evening, face West.
3. Avoid practice during midday as The Sun is at its peak. Doing it then increases your pitta dosha.
4. Beginners can practice 1-2 sets.
5. It goes in a rhythm, so maintaining the pace is essential. If your pace is slow, go slow; if fast, then go fast.
6. Be aware and mindful and concentrate on your breathing pattern.
7. To be more mindful, recite the mantras assigned for each asana. Attaching a pic below.
8. Always do both the left and right sides. This is done so that we maintain our Ida and Pingala prana.
9. One breath – one asana, to maintain consistency.
10. Use the same yoga mat as it will have your energy.
11. I use a cork mat as it’s organic with chakra symbols made on it. I don’t like the feel of plastic mats on my skin.
12. Sometimes I do 108 rounds, which can be achieved only by taking Sankalpa so that I don’t listen to my monkey mind!
13. And most important – Don’t forget to wear that cute little SMILE!
In case if one cannot do the Surya Namaskar, they can still benefit from the Surya mantra or sadhanas. Aditya Hridhayam Stotra or Gayatri sadhana are the suggested ones by my Guru, Om Swamiji. Attaching two of His videos for your reference.
You must be wondering that I am going and on about asanas. Don’t worry; I am a trained Yoga teacher from Sivananda Yoga ashram!
Joining the Sivananda Institute has been one of the best decisions of my life. Laxmi Duggirala, one of Swamiji’s’ devotees, accompanied me to the course. They taught us the proper form of every asana from the scripture Hatha Yoga Pradipika. At the Ashram, as a rule, we were served sattvic food only, and every Monday, there would be a havan by the local pundits. The experience there was truly heavenly. In my one-month stay, I lost about 6 kgs but gained immense knowledge about Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda, Karma Yog (ashram cleaning), Bhakti Yog (Satsangs), Jnana Yog (Bhagavad Gita &Vedanta classes) and Raj Yog(Meditation). This place is so well designed, and keeping themselves away from the modern world has done the entire trick. The Ashram being situated by the Ganges, the stay, energy, and the view were absolutely mesmerizing. No wonder it’s called the land of The Gods.
The walk by the Ganges in the early hours of the morning would feel divine. We would meditate on the rock which was washed by this holy river from time immemorial, ah… so blissful!!! I would just stare and listen to the most melodious song sung by the river during our free time. I would talk to Swamiji in my mind all the time and would thank Him for sending me to this abode for so much learning.
I am glad our scriptures and practices are preserved by these institutes, and the teachers there are so helpful and proficient. More on my yoga journey, maybe when the Sun is in Libra!
For all of you interested in knowing more about this temple of learning Yoga, please click on the link below and enter this wonderful place!
I am attaching a few of my yoga pictures to share my journey with you all.
Also, some of the books one can refer to do right asana practices are:
· The complete illustrated book of Yoga by Swami Vishnudevanada.
· Sivananda Yoga Teachers’ Training Manual.
· Surya Namaskar by Swami Satyananda.
Om Suryaya Namah!!!