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Surya Namaskār

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Sculpture depicting the 12 asanas of Surya Namasakara A in Terminal T3 at IGIA Airport, New Delhi, India, created by Nikhil Bhandari.[1]
Sun Salutation practised at a public yoga event.

Surya Namaskar (Sanskrit: सूर्यनमस्कार IPA: [suːrjɐ nəməskɐːrɐ]; IAST: Sūrya Namaskāra), or Sun Salutation, is a Yoga practice incorporating a sequence of gracefully linked asanas.[2][3] The nomenclature refers to the symbolism of Sun as the soul and the source of all life.[4]

Mark Singleton makes the controversial claim that the sun salutation is relatively a modern practice that developed in the 20th century.[5] Many other authors have disproven this, including Joseph Alter, Srivatsa Ramaswami, and Christopher Tompkins. There is evidence to suggest that the sun salutation was used by famous Indian king Shivaji and Marathi yogi Ram Das during the Mughal invasion of India.


Supposed modern originsEdit

Some scholars attempt to attribute modern Surya namaskar practice to Tirumalai Krishnamacharya teachings, specifically his student K. Pattabhi Jois.[6] It includes modern day Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and the Visesha Vinyasa Sun Salutation subroutine from Vinyasa Krama Yoga,[7] as well as a host of other popular forms of yoga.[8]

In his work The Yoga Body, Mark Singleton states Sūryanamaskāra may have been invented by Patinidhi Pant, the Rajah of Aundh, despite the Rāja's explicit claims that the sun salutation was already a commonplace Marathi tradition in his book.[9] He adds that there is no explicit textual evidence that the Sūryanamaskāra sequence was practiced prior to the early 20th century.[10] According to Alter, while Pant Pratinidhi of Aundh called the practice as surya namaskar,[11] how exactly Sūrya Namaskāra came to be included in the yogic practices of Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga in India remains unclear.[12]

His Holiness Meherban Shrimant Raja BHAVAN RAO SHRINIVAS 'BALA SAHIB', Pant Pratinidhi of Aundh (1868–1951; Raja of Aundh 1909-1947)[13] occupies an important position in the history of surya namaskar. He helped to popularize surya namaskar as a simple physical exercise, introducing it into schools and encouraged ordinary men to be physically fit by performing surya namaskar every day.[14] Some Western scholars classify surya namaskar as a modern physical exercise invented by Raja of Aundh.[15][16] The Raja of Aundh himself however never claimed to have invented Surya Namaskar, but rather stressed an ancient origin for this procedure.[14]

Other referencesEdit

Indian Navy personnel perform Surya Namaskar on board INS Sunayna on International Yoga Day 2015.

Early English publications record some ancient methods of sun salutation; however, they do not seem to be related to the modern Sūrya Namaskāra as seen in Yoga practice today. It is widely believed in the state of Maharashtra that Shivaji Maharaj, Sage Samarth Ramdas and the Marathas have performed Sūrya Namaskāra as a physical exercise to develop able bodies.[17]

Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms pose)

Aditya Hridayam[18][19][20] is another ancient practice which involves a verbal variation of Sūrya Namaskāra. It is a procedure of saluting The Sun, taught to Rama by Sage Agastya, before his fight with Ravana. It is described in the "Yuddha Kaanda" Canto 107 of Ramayana.Surya Namskara complete guide steps with mantra whos writes in Puran[21]


The following lists a typical Surya Namaskar cycle, but many variations are possible.[3]

Asana (position) Photo Breathing Chakra Bīja
1 Pranamasana   exhale Anahata Heart ॐ ह्रां om hrāṁ
2 Hasta Uttanasana   inhale Vishuddhi Throat ॐ ह्रीं om hrīṁ
3 Uttanasana   exhale Swadhisthana Sacrum ॐ ह्रूं om hrūṁ
4 Ashwasanchalana (one foot back, lift head, hands often on earth )   inhale Ajna Third eye ॐ ह्रैं om hraiṁ
5 Adho Mukha Svanasana   exhale Vishuddhi Throat ॐ ह्रौं om hrauṁ
6 Ashtanga Namaskara   suspend Manipura Solar plexus ॐ ह्रः om hraḥ
7 Bhujangasana   inhale Swadhisthana Sacrum ॐ ह्रां om hrāṁ
8 Adho Mukha Svanasana   exhale Vishuddhi Throat ॐ ह्रीं om hrīṁ
9 Ashwa Sanchalanasana (opposite foot forward from 4, hands often on earth )   inhale Ajna Third eye ॐ ह्रूं om hrūṁ
10 Uttanasana   exhale Swadhisthana Sacrum ॐ ह्रैं om hraiṁ
11 Hasta Uttanasana   inhale Vishuddhi Throat ॐ ह्रौं om hrauṁ
12 Pranamasana   exhale Anahata Heart ॐ ह्रः om hraḥ

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Indian Express (4 September 2010). Destination Delhi.
  2. ^ Carol Mitchell (2003). Yoga on the Ball. Inner Traditions. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-89281-999-7.
  3. ^ a b Jane MacMullen (1988). Yoga Journal: Ashtanga Yoga. September/October. Active Interest. pp. 68–70.
  4. ^ Krishan Kumar Suman (2006). Yoga for Health and Relaxation. Lotus. pp. 83–84. ISBN 978-81-8382-049-3.
  5. ^ Mark Singleton (2010). Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice. Oxford University Press. pp. 180–181, 205–206. ISBN 978-0-19-974598-2.
  6. ^ Donahaye, Guy (2010). Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K Pattabhi Jois Through The Eyes of His Students. USA: D&M Publishers Inc. ISBN 978-0-86547-749-0.
  7. ^ Ramaswami 2005, p. 213-219.
  8. ^ Singleton 2010, p. 176.
  9. ^ Mark Singleton (2010), Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-539534-1, page 124
  10. ^ Mark Singleton (2010), Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-539534-1, pages 180-181, 205-206
  11. ^ Alter 2000, p. 99.
  12. ^ Alter 2004, p. 23.
  13. ^ S.P.Sen, Dictionary of National Biography; Institute of Historical Studies, Calcutta 1972 Vols.1-4; Institute of Historical Studies, vol 3, p.307
  14. ^ a b Royal India: A Descriptive and Historical Study of India's Fifteen Principal States and Their Rulers By Katherine H. Diver, Maud Diver, (year 1942)
  15. ^ Joseph S. Alter, Yoga in Modern India: the body between science and philosophy, Princeton University Press (year 2004)
  16. ^ Joseph S. Alter, Gandhi's Body: Sex, Diet, and the Politics of Nationalism, (year 2000)
  17. ^ (Editor) Mujumdar 1950.
  18. ^ Master Murugan, Chillayah (20 October 2012). "Surya Namaskara -Puranic origins of Valmiki Ramayana". Silambam. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  19. ^, Aditya Hrudayam with English translation
  20. ^ Translation of Ramayana by Griffith
  21. ^ Surya Namaskar Mantras


External linksEdit