The Surya Namaskara cycle (sun salutation) is an ancient prayer to Lord Surya, the Sun God. As we move from winter to spring, we praise the warmth of the sun when it meets our face and skin. We enjoy the warmth, light, and energy it brings. Life on Earth would cease without the Sun and its gift of solar energy. As Michiganders, we welcome the sunshine with open arms after a long winter! However, we all sometimes forget to be thankful for the gifts of nature or we take certain things for granted. The daily prayer of Surya Namaskara helps us give thanks to the Sun every day and stay connected to Mother Nature. In fact, we just celebrated Earth Day as a reminder for us to give back to nature and take care of her.
In the mantra for Surya Namaskara, Lord Surya has 12 names. Before each cycle of the sun salutation, we sing or chant one name of Lord Surya, in the sequence of the mantra, then repeat the next name of Lord Surya before the next sun salutation cycle… and so on until the 12th salutation is complete. The mantra reminds me that I’m doing this continuous cycle of poses to show gratitude to the Sun and internalize its miraculous energy. If you’re not able to do all 12 sun salutations, that’s ok! Build up to it and go at your own pace. You can still recite the full mantra before you get started to help you learn it.
When done with quick movements, Surya Namaskara provides freedom of movement, agility, flexibility, and improved blood circulation. The brain becomes active and the future feels brighter! Young people are encouraged to practice with the quick movements. Surya Namaskara can also be done more slowly, with support, for a gentler practice and/or for menstruating or pregnant women (avoid jumps and quick movements).
There are several variations of Surya Namaskara. The sequence provided has two options for different practice needs. It also provides the Surya Namaskara Mantra (with translations) for your practice. There is also a recording of the mantra below so you can listen and practice it before you get started.