Sun Salutation, is a series of postures that warms, strengthens, and aligns the entire body. Originally called Surya Namaskar, is a series of 12 poses performed in a certain sequence, thus creating a flow called vinyasa.
In Hindu mythology, Surya is the sun god and is worshipped as a symbol of health and immortal life. “Surya is the Soul, both of the moving and unmoving beings”. The Sun Salutation originated as a series of prostrations to the sun, traditionally, performed at dawn, facing the rising sun. In time, each of the twelve positions came to have its own mantra, each celebrating an aspect of the sun’s divinity.
Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing. Practised daily, it brings great flexibility to spine and joints and keeps the waist trim. It limbers up the whole body in preparation for the asanas (postures).
Beside being a warm-up for the rest of the asanas, Surya Namaskar is also an excellent exercise for weight loss and offers numerous health benefits other than physical, relaxing the mind and leading it to meditation.
For many people, to sit and meditate might not be easy because the natural tendency of the body and mind is to move, to fluctuate. When you sit still in meditation, the transition can be challenging because your body and mind are not used to being quiet, motionless, or to observing all the sensations, emotions and thoughts without preference towards any. This is why we first move in a dynamic sequence that helps the mind focus on one thing alone – the movement of the body. As this is challenging for the body, it helps to quiet the mind as well.