From the Jacket:
Surya Namaskara, or salutation to the sun, is an important yogic practice when the sun was worshiped as a powerful symbol of spiritual consciousness. From its esoteric origins Surya Namaskara has developed into a practice of twelve postures which weave together to generate prana (subtle energy), aiming towards purification and rejuvenation of the practitioner.
This book discusses in detail the full practice of Surya Namaskara, including the surya and bija mantras, points of concentration and extended guidelines to aid both practitioners and teachers. An in-depth physiological study of Surya Namaskara supports its present day use as a powerful therapeutic practice.
About The Author
Swami Satyananda was born at Almora, Uttar Pradesh, in 1923. in 1943 he met Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh and adopted the Dashnami sannyasa way of life. In 1955 he left his guru's ashram to live as a wandering mendicant and later founded the international Yoga Fellowship in 1963 and the Bihar School of Yoga in 1964. Over the next 20 years Swami Satyananda toured international 1987 he founded Sivananda Math, a charitable institution for aiding rural development, and the Yoga Research Foundation. In 1988 he renounced his mission, adopting kshetra sannyasa, and now lives as a paramahamsa sannyasin.
Surya namaskara is a well known and vital technique within the yogic repertoire. Its versatility and application make it one of the most useful methods to induce a healthy, vigorous, active life and at the same time prepare for spiritual awakening and the resultant expansion of awareness.
In recent years more and more people have moved away from mere ritual and are turning to yoga as a method for exploring and improving their inner lives. Though the need for techniques to enhance physical, mental and spiritual evolution has been recognized, the fast pace of modern living makes it difficult for even the most determined individual to implement yoga practice. And it is practice which is the most important and fundamental issue in terms of our betterment. It is with these thoughts in mind that this book has been written, for surya namaskara is almost a complete sadhana in itself, containing asana, pranayama and meditational techniques within the main structure of the practice.
For most of us, today's lifestyle accentuates mental tensions, worries and seemingly insoluble problems at many levels, such as personal interrelationships, economics and even geopolitical threats of war and destruction. At the same time the amount of sedentary or semi-sedentary work is increasing due to the increase in technology and labour- saving devices. This has led to a situation in which mental and physical ill health is increasing. Without an antidote there seems to be little hope.
Yoga practices are an ideal antidote to stress and are proving to be the basis of a powerful therapy for mental and physical diseases. Surya namaskara is an integral part of the yogic approach to these problems and can be easily integrated into our daily lives as it requires only five to fifteen minutes of practice daily to obtain beneficial results remarkably quickly. It is therefore ideal for even the most active indivi- duals, such as the busy businessperson, the parent with a family to manage and feed, the student who is facing exam- inations or the scientist who spends most of the day thinking.
This book is intended for all people interested in self- improvement. However, it must be remembered that it is only intended as a guideline. The main message we wish to convey is the importance of getting down to a daily routine and thereby discovering the effectiveness of this ancient technique through individual effort. You may have read that the practice of surya namaskara revitalizes the body and mind and helps to eradicate disease, but you must practise the technique in order to find out the truth for yourself.
As we begin to study and perform this series of asanas with pranayama, chakra awareness and mantra repetition, we find that few other exercises can match it for complete- ness. Surya namaskara is more than just a series of physical exercises. Of course, it stretches, massages, tones and stimulates all the muscles, vital organs and physical parts by alternatively flexing the body backwards and forwards, but it also has the depth and completeness of a spiritual practice.
Surya namaskara is a practice which has been handed down from the sages of vedic times. Surya means 'sun' and namaskara means 'salutation'. In ancient times the sun was worshipped as a daily ritual because it is a powerful symbol of spiritual consciousness. Worship of the outer and inner sun was a religio-social ritual which attempted to placate those forces of nature beyond man's control. It was initiated by enlightened sages who knew that these practices maintained health and led to greater social creativity and productivity.
Surya namaskara is composed of the three elements of form, energy and rhythm. The twelve postures create the physical matrix around which the form of the practice is woven. These postures generate prana, the subtle energy, which activates the psychic body. Their performance in a steady, rhythmic sequence reflects the rhythms of the universe, such as the twenty-four hours of the day, the twelve zodiac phases of the year and the biorhythms of our own body. The rhythmic superimposition of this form and energy on our present body-mind complex is the trans- forming force which generates the nucleus of a fuller and more active life and a greater appreciation of the richness of the world we live in. Try it for yourself and see.
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