Often we flow through Surya Namaskara, or Sun Salutation, multiple times during our practice, but how many of us have paused to think about the meaning behind this beautiful practice?
The Sanskrit word “Surya” literally means “the supreme light”. “Namaskar” is derived from “Namaste” which means “bowing to you”, thus the English name, Sun Salutation.
The sun is the origin of many things and the source of life on the universe. The ancient Yogis saw our hearts as our “inner sun”; the origin of every ounce of our being.
The mind, on the other hand, is represented by the moon. In that sense, even the mind is limited in what it can know and has to reflect light that shines from our hearts, just as how the moon derives its light from the sun.
Surya Namaskara provides a myriad of physical benefits such as:
– Increase flexibility in the spine
– Stretch and tone muscles
– Remove toxins
– Massage internal organs
– Improve cardiovascular fitness (when done at a fast pace)
– Invigorates nervous system
Going beyond the physical benefits, Surya Namaskara also serves as a form of moving meditation. By connecting body and breath, the practice of Surya Namaskara becomes like a Yogic dance; celebrating our existence and honouring our heart, which knows no boundaries and is the very source of our existence.
Honouring our hearts both literally and figuratively expands the meaning of our existence and enables us to live fuller and more meaningful lives. Physical care of our hearts is done in the form of cardiorespiratory exercise, keeping the heart physically active. This can be done by moving through multiple rounds of Surya Namaskara at a fast but yet steady pace. It also means being mindful of what we feed our bodies with as excess saturated fat would force our hearts to work unnecessarily hard under extra pressure.
Caring for our hearts also means meeting its emotional needs and being sensitive to it. It is thus important for us to constantly draw our attention and focus inwards when we are both on and off our mats. Over time, I’ve realised that one can only reap the mental and emotional benefits of yoga if we draw our focus inwards. By being mindful during my practice, I often find negative emotions and toxic energy within me being released and greater peace and clarity can be found.
That extra peace, liberation and freedom sprinkled upon my life is so magical. Remember to connect with your inner sun, breathe through it, & let go of everything that doesn’t serve you.