The sun is the source of all energy and the supporter of all life-forms. In India, it is more than just a star and Indian culture respects and worships this powerful source of energy as a deity. Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation,is one way Hindus have always paid respect to the “sun god” and in turn gain enormous health benefits.
Surya Namaskar, also known in English as Sun Salutation is a well-known sequence of twelve asanas. The obvious characteristic of Surya namaskar is the fact that it exercises the entire body. The Sun Salutation is a graceful sequence of twelve postures performed as one continuous exercise. Each position is reverse of the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternatively expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing.
Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar is Yoga postures, breathing, mindfulness, meditation, bandhas, gaze, alignment etc- all rolled in one! It’s considered the most complete exercise routine! Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskar has many benefits and if done regularly can not only help you lose flab but can also help you combat diseases. The read some of these benefits, look at the original article here.
For the last many weeks, we have paid attention to the Yamas and Niyamas, 2 of the 8 limbs of Yoga. Those are the moral and ethical parts of Yoga which, if practiced, allow you to become a better version of yourself by avoiding behaviours that produce suffering and difficulty, and embracing those that lead to states of happiness.
The next limb of Yoga is the asana which only represents a small percentage of what Yoga is about but is however the most popular in our western culture. Asana translate in sanskrit as “sit”; bringing the practitioner to sit in each posture with a combination of ease, strength and equanimity.
One of the most famous asanas is probably downward facing dog (adho mukha shvanasana), therefore our classes this week will have an emphasis on this pose.
Without falling into the trap or religion/ no religion, god/ no god, this niyama is a good reminder of our connection to this planet and the universe we are a part of. Surrendering to the bigger picture and softening our opinions, being open minded that we are not better nor worse than the next person as we all belong here in this lifetime.
Faith is a personal choice and opinion. One thing nearly every religion has in common is “treat others as you would wish to be treated”.
In our yoga practice we may find light bulbs with some “aha” moments which may change the way we perceive things and people. Realising that we are so small compared to the rest of the universe; maybe we are not as important as we think we are and therefore it is ok to let go of ego, become more open, more connected to everyone and everything. In this place, what we call love has the opportunity to root and spread it’s pollen wide and afar.
Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself. -Chinese Proverb
Svadhyaya is a sanskrit word that means “self-study.” In the eight-limbed path, it is one of yoga’s five Niyamas and it is fundamental in yogic philosophies.
Svadhyaya takes real effort in order to gain greater insight into our own true nature.
For most of us, this is a paradigm shift, as we grow up spending nearly all of our time studying everyone else. We are more concerned about what others think about us, instead of focusing on our own opinion.
Poses on the mat give us direct feedback and we realise insights into ourselves.
To “realise” means to “make real”. Therefore, Svadhyaya is the practice of realising that our life is really real. While yoga is a practice, it is not a dress rehearsal. This realisation of full awareness influences the way we live.