Surya Namaskara. Basic Features

Continued from: Surya Namaskara. Symbolic and spiritual significance

Surya namaskara consists of live essential aspects. All of them must be done to gain the optimum results from the practice. These aspects are as follows:

Physical postures: there are twelve physical postures which correspond to the signs of the zodiac. During the sun’s apparent journey through the heavens it passes through each of these celestial houses in turn. It remains in each zodiac for about thirty days and is said to triumph over each sign as it enters its domain. Each position in surya namaskara corresponds to one of these signs of the zodiac.

Breathing: the whole movement of surya namaskara from start to finish is synchronized with breathing. Each position is associated with either inhalation, exhalation or retention of breath. Nothing is forced or unnatural, for the breathing corresponds to the pattern one would normally do in relation to the physical movement. Correct automatic breathing should occur naturally without any prior instructions. However, details of the correct relationship between movement and breath are given to ensure it is done perfectly, for it is air important part of the practice. Without synchronization between the breath and the movement many of the benefits of surya namaskara are missed.

Mantras: associated with each of the twelve positions of surya namaskara is a specific mantra. A mantra is a combination of syllables, sounds or phrases, realized by ancient sages, n»hich have been widely known in India for thousands of years. They are evocative sounds and through their power of vibration have subtle, yet powerful and penetrating effects on the mind and body. While doing surya namaskara, a particular mantra is repeated either silently or uttered aloud with each posiaon. When surya namaskara is combined with correct breathing and these bija mantras (seed sounds), the entire mind and intellect are energized. These bija mantras create a vibration and it is this which creates the energy. Mantras may or may not have specific meanings. but the vibrations which they create should reach every fibre of one’s being. The mantras of surya namaskara are energized sound. When repeated loudly, clearly and with devotion, these mantras give the greatest possible benefits to those who utter them, either m hastening the curing of an ailment, acquiring stability of mind and self-control, or dissolving tensions caused by modern living.

The bija or seed mantras are:

Om hram

Om hrim Om hrum

Om hraim

Om hraum

Om hrah


The full mantras, one for each movement of the exercise are:

Om Hram Mitraya Namah

Om Hrim Ravaye Namah

Om Hrum Suryaya Namah

Om Hraim Bhanave Namah

Om Hraum Khagaya Namah

Om Hrah Pushne Namah

Om Hram Hiranyagarbhaya Namah Om Hrim Marichaye Namah


9. Om Hrum Adityaya Namah

10. Om Hraim Savitre Namah 11.Om Hraum Arkaya Namah 12.Om Hrah Bhaskaraya Namah The meanings of these names of the sun are as follows:


1. Mitra – friend Ravi – shining Sunn – beautiful light

Bhanu – brilliant

Khaga – who moves in the sky

Pushan – giver of strength


7. Hiranyagarbha – golden centred

8. Marichi – lord of the dawn

9. Aditya – son of Aditi

10. Savita – beneficent

11. Arka – energy

12. Bhaskara – leading to enlightenment


However, before you attempt to integrate these mantras with each position we strongly advise that you first perfect the physical movements and synchronization of breath in surya namaskara to gain the maximum benefits.

Awareness: this is an essential element of surya namaskara. Without awareness the many beneficial results are reduced.

Relaxation-, this is not strictly a part of surya namaskara. However, it is a necessary supplementary practice that should be done without fail on completing your rounds. Any relaxation technique can be adopted, but the best method is shavasana.

Continue to: Sequence for Learning Surya Namaskara

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