Continued from: One complete round
Awareness is an essential part of surya namaskara. If it is performed without any awareness or any attempt to be aware most of the benefits are lost.
If you have time it is preferable to stand for a few minutes in position one preparing yourself physically and mentally for the coming practice. The eyes should be closed. If you don’t have very much time, then thirty seconds is sufficient. Be aw are of your whole body and the breathing pattern. Try to feel that you are detached from your body and breathing.
See or feel a mental picture of the different parts of the body and try to relax them, but at the same time try to remember that you are merely witnessing. The different parts of the body and the breathing are something external; feel as though you are apart from them. Be aware of sensations, but again with a feeling of detachment, with the attitude of being the witness. Experience the peace that comes through merely being, without the confusion and tension of life or having to do something. During daily life most of us are continually extroverted, or if we are introverted it is usually of a morbid, self-deprecating form, just for a short time be introverted with awareness of your feelings. Do not plan for the future or regret the past. Live in the present, even if only for a short time. This can bring wonderful peace of mind.
When you are ready, begin the practice. Maintain awareness throughout. Your eyes may be opened or closed, although after mastering the practice it is better to keep the eyes closed. Witness the various movements of the body and the corresponding breathing. Don’t lose yourself in the practice, watch and be continually aware of every movement you perform. In this way surya namaskara becomes a very powerful practice. It not only harmonizes the whole body and mind, but it also develops the ability of awareness and concentration. These wonderful and practical benefits will carry over into your daily life.
An essential sequel to surya namaskara is relaxation. It is necessary to rest the body and allow the heartbeat and respiration to return to normal. It is also essential to intensify the feeling of mental peace and awareness. Any method of relaxation can be utilized, but we highly recommend shavasana because it is a scientific method which induces optimum relaxation of mind and body, at the same time intensifying the awareness.
The time spent on relaxation depends mainly on the time taken to perform surya namaskara. At least three or four minutes should be spent relaxing for every ten minutes of surya namaskara. At least five minutes should be spent relaxing if it takes twenty minutes to practise surya namaskara. It is important to relax the body until the heartbeat and respiration return to normal. The practitioner must use his own discretion in this respect.
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