Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskar are familiar to all yoga students, sun salutations are almost considered an obligatory warm up, however they are more than that and to see them as such diminishes their importance in your practice. Sun Salutations are complete in themselves, research has shown a home practice of sun salutations leads to greater feelings of happiness and calm in your daily life. Surya Namaskar is a great starting place for a home practice. Surya means sun in sanskrit, Namaskar is literally salutation. There is an element of cycle, of an unending circle within the practice
The first documentation of the sequence is traced back to Krishnamacharya - who is called the "father of modern yoga". Krishnamacharya taught Pattabi Jois and documented Surya Namaskar in the 1930's. Here is clip of Krishnamacharya in his 50's practicing yoga around that time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XF4sCV6aUY
(Min's students - there is a head stand version of the pidgeon variation we have been playing with in class recently at 7:06!! ) we might not try this one!
Surya Namaskar is the physical emodiement of the Gayatri Mantra, which thanks the sun for life - there are different variations of Surya Namaskar as adopted by different lineages of yoga; the one we tend to know best coming through the Ashtanga lineage, where they tend to have a Sun Salute A, and a stronger more physically demanding Sun Salute B. Sun salutations are traditionally practiced in the morning. We also salute the moon, in a practice quite different, and quite beautiful.
This month in our classes we are going to play with our sun salutations, with mini vinyasas that build strength and allow you to focus on breath, technique, and modifications. To explore stronger poses with the sun salutations such as upward facing dog and chair pose safely using blocks to find support.
Here is a beautiful recording and video about the Gayatri Mantra - it gives you a glimpse of how its beauty and energy can permeate you in your salutations and yoga practice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTjiWYPPe9A
Peace and Love, may the sun shine for you