|Year : 2013 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 57-58
Dynamic Suryanamaskar Sun Salutations
Sri Vivekananda Yoga Anusandan Sanstan, Bangalore, India
|Date of Web Publication||21-Dec-2013|
Sri Vivekananda Yoga Anusandan Sanstan, Bangalore
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Bashyam S. Dynamic Suryanamaskar Sun Salutations. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2013;1:57-8
Editors: Krzysztof Stec
Publishers: Swami Vivekananda Yoga Prakashana, Bengalooru
Editions: First Edition, 2012
Second Edition, 2013
Pages: 296 Price: Rs 400.00, $25, Euro 20
The author learnt yoga from a teacher in eastern Europe and continued in Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla. He was a research scholar in yoga in University of Rajasthan. After a career as systems analyst in many global corporations, the author took to yoga full time having met his Guru. He has a master's degree in physical education from Benares.
'Sun is the sustainer of the universe comprised of movable and immovable'
Rk Veda (1.115.1)
The author projects 'both objective and subjective dimensions, based on his own practice, with which to verify dry techniques and methods. Convinced that information should be transformed into knowledge by the fire of practice and physical intensity in yoga eventually becomes transmuted into spiritual zeal and intensity, both of which are needed to bring about some real spiritual progress'.
In Sanatana dharma Surya is considered as 'Pratyaksha devata'-'The God one can see'. This is perhaps one reason that there are not many temples for Surya in India. One thinks of the famous Konark temple and a few others in Kashmir, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. There is also a proverb 'Suryanamaskar after one's eye becomes bad?' in Tamil (implying Suryanamaskar should be done to prevent eye problems). This may have its counterpart in other Indian languages. 'Suryo me chakshushi stitah' (Sun is reposited in my eye) is one Yajur Veda mantra. Another forceful adage is 'Arogyam bhaskarat icchet' (Pray to Surya for health).
The Sun can be studied from two perspectives: Scientific and mystic. The author has devoted a chapter for 'Sun according to science'. It is common knowledge that fusion of hydrogen into helium accounts for the enormous energy release which will sustain life in earth for millions of years to come. Hydrogen and helium make 98% of Sun while the balance 2% accounted by other elements. Information relating to ultraviolet/infrared light and precautions for absorption through skin (for in situ formation of vitamin D3) are useful particularly for those living in higher latitudes and snow covered areas. Applications of UV light in healing many diseases and benefits for human beings are mentioned with reference to medical work, for example activation of skin hormone 'solitrol'.
Many civilizations and religions across the globe have held Sun as object of worship. However, Hindu scriptures venerate Surya as God. The author has quoted profusely from Veda (Taittiriya Brahmana - Arunaprasna), Upanishad (Akshyopanishad/Suryopanishad), Srimad Ramayanam (Aditya Hrdayam in Yuddha kandam), Bhagavad Gita, Bhavishyottara Purana, and not the least the Nitya Vidhi referring to Sandyopasana. The author marvels at the Rsi's of yore for the yeoman service to mankind through Suryopasana.
"In the morning He is adored by Rig Veda, at midday by Yajur Veda, and in the evening by Sama Veda. He is Ravi, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, and Bhaskara. In fact, He is the trinity (Trimurti)".
Many gods in Hindu pantheon have 1,008 names. Surya has 12 prominent names (dwadasa nama) used while doing 12 posture Suryanamaskar, 108 names listed by the author and also has 1008 names. The 12 names figure in Aditya Hrdayam. Suryakavacam and Suryashtakam are other stotras on Surya.
A comparison between fitness program and Suryanamaskar is made by the author. The latter is on comparable levels of work out/energy expenditure as per World Health Organization (WHO) standards for fitness programs. While aerobic exercises or sports work on some groups of muscles and joints, Suryanamaskar activates/energizes/works all groups and joints. The fitness enthusiast can derive the same benefit doing Suryanamaskar on the terrace saving petrol and time needed to go to fitness center. In fact (s) he derives more benefits explained below. Thus, we see the importance of dynamic nature of Suryanamaskar as practiced and recommended by the author.
All fitness programs, flexibility training, jogging, swimming, etc., operate only at matter level. The element of controlled breathing or emotional involvement or the intellectual awareness of cosmic connection is not given importance by trainers and fitness enthusiasts. In Suryanamaskar one moves from physical/physiological level to pranic (appropriate pranayama with kumbaka-holding breath in or out) onto emotional culturing, interrelatedness between microcosm, and macrocosm; and finally to surrender to Surya about whom Brahma Sutras state; 'The word light (Sun) is to be understood as Brahman'. The practice also includes concentration and meditation on charkas for spiritual benefits to be learnt from a master.
Ayurvedic method of Suryanamaskar to balance doshas and a chapter on 'Dietary considerations' add to the holistic approach to Suryanamaskar. The author gives valid reasons for diet inclusions/exclusions.
Diverse practices are observed in terms of number of posture/movements in one cycle. There are 10, 11, 11-14, 12, 16, and 33 movements mentioned in books published on the subject. SVYASA uses 10/12 movement cycle. This book is based on 12 movements originally credited to Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh and later adapted by Swami Satyanananda Saraswati of Bihar School of Yoga, Munger.
The author describes in detail the number of cycles (each cycle consists of two rounds of 12 movements) for children, adolescents, and adults; combining with appropriate pranayama and duration for each cycle. Further four levels from beginner to advanced level are listed with instructions for each. Vibrations in the body during the chanting of bijamantra and 12 names are to be experienced. The author recommends passive observation of changes during every movement particularly when doing slowly. At the end of Suryanamaskar, savasana for 5-10 is absolutely necessary.
An interesting feature of the book is the chapter 15 titled 'Personal experiences' of 13 persons including the Chief of Aundh, Kirloskars, a dancer, yoga practitioners from Poland in first-person account, and some in a dialogue with the author. This chapter adds credibility to the claims made on 'Benefits of Suryanamaskar Practice' (Chapter 16) which touches every part/organ/group of muscles/joints and acclaimed for therapeutic benefits for a number of health problems. These have to be personally tested in one's own mind-body-intellect laboratory. Chapter 14 gives a review of psychophysiological effects of Suryanamaskar practice referring to many articles in medical and other journals of international standing. These references and data will be useful to researchers who look for experimental evidence.
I like to end with a quote from the book which combines science and mysticism regarding Sun; "The Sun has five important qualities; Ananta Pavitrata (absolute purity), Prana (vital life force), Niyama (rises daily and sets), Shakha (has capacity to produce food through heat and light), and Krimi Nashak (destroys harmful germs). These qualities make life easy, smooth, and regular".
In my opinion the book is excellent from conceptual research and practice framework. It will be a welcome addition to one's reference library. The charts could have been made in a bigger size and folded, which a practitioner could cut out and use for guidance till a level of proficiency is reached. A subject index would also help.