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  • Writer's pictureSDYC

How do you salute the sun?

Pay homage to the Sun and everything it touches with a traditional Sun Salutation.

The sun, the sun. I salute the sun. I open my heart to everyone. The sun rises and the sun sets. The whole world in my heart rests. Again I rise ready to live, happy to be, and ready to give. The sun, the sun. I salute the sun. I open my heart to everyone. -Sydney Solis, Storytime Yoga

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is an integral part of many yoga practices and classes. And for good reason! The physical benefits alone are plenty.

Sun Salutations can help:

  • remove bodily and mental tensions

  • improve circulation

  • stimulate the nervous system

  • raise body heat

  • loosen and lubricate joints

  • increase flexibility in the spine

  • strengthen the muscles of the abdomen, pelvis, and spine

  • calm the mind via regulated breathing

  • invigorate and/or calm the body and mind

Beyond the physical, though, Surya Namaskar is also a deeply intentional and symbolic practice.

We know that Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit translates to Sun Salutation in English. But how?

Surya = Sun

Namah = To Bow or To Adore

Kar = Kri (verb) = To Do

Namaskar = I do the act of saluting or bowing with respect

The Sun has been revered in many cultures as the physical and spiritual heart of our world and the creator of life itself. There are a variety of theories on the origin of the Sun Salutation, but it was most likely first performed as a ritual prostration to the dawn. The dawn that gives life to earth's creatures, the rivers, seas, mountains, fields, stars, planets, the sun, the moon...ourselves. So, in practicing a traditional Surya Namaskar, we honor and salute not only the sun, but everything it touches.

Samasthiti with Anjali Mudra = Honoring Self
Tadasana = Honoring the Sky/Heavens
Uttanasana = Honoring the Earth
Lunge = Honoring Creatures on 2 Legs
Adho Mukha Svanasana = Honoring Creatures on 4 Legs
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana = Honoring Creatures with No Legs
Full Prostration = Honoring Everything Else Not Named

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