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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Suryanamaskaras,a health tonic

The name itself indicates that if one practices daily would get tremendous amount of energy as it involves very active movements of all the joints.
Performing suyanamaskar on a daily basis we can add new factor to our lives an ordered, sequential, systematic, energizing, cleansing series of postures,breathing, mantras,chakras stimulation..It's like  health tonic taken everyday before breakfast.

In ancient times SUN was worshipped as daily ritual as its powerful symbol  of spiritual conciousness.Sun salutations or Surya Namaskaras,the word Surya means  Sun ,namaskaras means Salutations .Now people have moved away from the ritual and turning  to yoga as a method for keeping fit and healthy.

Beginners may find it difficult to stretch the spinal column and limbs to maximum range due to stiffness.First one must learn the steps slowly holding the steps for few counts ,once they are perfect in each movements then the next step would be the breathing pattern while moving their body and limbs.Just flow from one posture to another  like a dance so that its enjoyable.

Best time to practice is either sunrise or sun set.ideally when you practice face east or west side.Never practice Suryanamskar after meals, practice after 3 hours of meals.

If one wants reduce weight or for obesity then preferably in the evening hrs repeat more Suryanamaskaras. If one wants to keep themselves  fit and energetic throughout the day then in the morning hours slow suryanamskars and less numbers also are enough.Slow suryanamskars  stimulates chakras and both the nadis and fast suryanamaskars stimulates Pingala Nadi.Each asana stimulates  the natural flow of prana up and down and blockages are removed.

Yogic technique esp Suryanamaskars are an antidote to stress and powerful therapy for mental and physical diseases.

This series gives such a profound stretch to the whole body that few other forms of exercise can be compared to it.
There are no rules as to how many one can practice suryanamaskars everyday how ever if one shouldn't exert themselves too much .To avoid breathlessness one should practice with proper rhythmic breathing then one can even practice 108 with ease.since suryanamaskars increases energy and heat in your body and so one need to be careful during summers.

As with the practice of so many years and teaching I found that , it has benefited people of all age groups and of different health complaints too eg diabetes or High pressure or thyroid or lack of  flexibility or hormonal imbalance or obesity etc.
Its more than just physical exercise as it tones, stretches, massages and  stimulates vital organs.

It's a complete Sadhana itself as it contains Asanas, Pranayama And meditational techniques as well as chakra awareness.It consists of 12 physical postures of backward forward bendings, flexing and stretching the spinal coloumn and limbs through their maximum range.

While practising each Asanas of Suryanamskars one should try to locate the chakras associated with it while holding the postures for 30 secs to 1 min.

1st Step Pranamasana- Anahata Chakra(in the spine behind the sternum;trigger point is at the sternum.)

2nd Step-Hasta Uttanasana-Vishuddhi Chakra(in the spine behind the throat;trigger point at the throat pit)

3rd Step-Padahastasana-Swashistana Chakra(in the sacral area of the spine;trigger point lies just above the pubic bone in front of the body)

4h Step-Ashwasanchalan-Ajna Chakra(in the center of the head;half way between the eyebrow centre and back of the skull;trigger point at the eybrow center)

5th Step-Parvatasana or Dandasana- Vishuddhi Chakra(in the spine behind the throat;trigger point at the throat pit)
6th Step-Ashtanaga Namaskara-Manipura Chakra(in the spineat the level of the navel;trigger point at the navel itself)

7t Step-Bhujang Asana-Swadhistana Chakra(in the sacral area of the spine;trigger point lies just above the pubic bone in front of the body)
8th Step-Parvatsana-Vishuddhi Chakrasana(in the spine behind the throat;trigger point at the throat pit)

9th Step-Ashwa Sanchalan-Ajna Chakra(in the center of the head;half between the eyebrow centre and back of the skull;trigger point at the eybrow center)

10th Step-Padahasta asana--Swadishthanasana(in the sacral area of the spine;trigger point lies just above the pubic bone in front of the body)

11th Step-Hasta Utthanasana--Vishuddhi Chakra(in the spine behind the throat;trigger point at the throat pit)

12th Step- Pranamasana- -Anahata Chakra(in the spine behind the sternum;trigger point is at the sternum.)
I f you are going to practice 108 salutations then you can keep track of it by taking one round as 12 salutations.
Each round consists of 12 Suryanamaskars according to 12 different sun god names---
Om mitraya namaha---Salutation to the friend of all
Om ravaye namaha--Salutations to the shining one
Om Suryaya Namaha--Salutations to the who induces activity
Om Bhanave Namaha--Salutations to who illumines
Om Khagaya Namaha---Salutations to who moves quickly in the sky
Om Pushne Namaha---Salutations to the giver of strength and nourishment
Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha---Salutations to the golden cosmic self
Om Marichaya Namaha---Salutations to the lord  of Dawn
Om Aditya Namaha---Salutations to son of Aditi the cosmic mother
Om Savitre Namaha---Salutations to stimulating power of the sun
Om Bhaskaraya Namaha---Salutations to who leads us to enlightment

As an alternative to the 12 names of the Sun there is series of Bija Mantra which create evocative sounds and have no literal meaning but set up powerful vibrations of  energy with in the body and mind.
these are-
Om Hraam
Om Hrem
Om Hroom
Om Hraim
Om Hrah

According to the research done Suryanamaskar   practice before the class begins, makes the children receptive responsive and communicative.they use their energy constructively.
The benefits gained through regular practice of Suryanamaskar far surpass ordinary physical exercise yet at the same time enhance sports due to its effect on Manipura Chakra solar energy centre.when Asanas are performed with Pranayama leads to balanced systems of energies at both physical and mental levels.

Let's see how each asana in Suryanamaskar helps us to grow physically,mentally and spiritually.
1st step Pranamasana(Prayer pose)----induces a state of introversion, relaxation and calmness activates anahata chakra. This pose and last pose of the series marks the begining and end of the transit  of sun's passage from dawn to dusk.It represents the peace and tranquillity and beauty of the sunrise and sun set.

2nd step--Hasta utthanasana---stretches the body upward and backward .Muscles of the back and neck are relaxed and front of the chest and abdomen are stretched and this with deep inhalation massages the abdomen improves digestion.Upward stretch gives traction to spine helps spongy disc tone the spinal nerves. This also increases metabolism as it targets Vishuddhi Chakra, Thyroid gland and Prana lifted upwards.

3rd Step-PadaHasta asana---it massages the abdominal contents esp the livers, kidneys, gall bladder, pancreas, adrenal glands, uterus and ovaries,corrects menstrual irregularities and good flow to spine and calf muscles and hamstrings relieves from varicose veins,tones the whole body and pressure is exerted on all the major endocrine glands and major emphasis on swadhistana chakra.Prana is channelled to lower regions of the body through the exhalation.

4th Step Ashwa sanchalasana--gives a backward bend to spine and relaxes the back muscles and abdominal musles are also stretched pelvis is pushed down and  forward as one leg is placed forward while other is stretched back.Concentration at ajna chakra locked with Mooladhara chakra.Prana moves upward with inhalation along a nadi which can be felt along the front of the thigh running upward along the side of the body to Ajna chakra region.If your sinuses are blocked you will feel an immediate relief as each side is stretched.

5th step Parvatasana--Physcially strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms shoulders and legs, the back muscles relax .Manipura Chakra is stimulated.Meeting of Prana and Apana may take place. Breath can be held as external retention.

6th Ashtanga Namaskar--develops chest strengthens the arms,shoulders and legs.Back muscles are relaxed.Manipura is stimulated and one can feel the spinal cord sqeezed  from top to bottom.

7th Bhujang asana--gives dynamic stretch to chest and abdomen relieves many ailments like asthma,constipation,indigestion,kidney,liver problems so on.
Due to inhalation Prana tends tomove upward and awareness is more on swadhistana chakra.

Suryanamaskar as a Therapy
In human body organs all work together so any failure of any one system has effect on whole body and disease is inevitable.From yogic view point ill health is resullt of imbalance in the energy system of body.However  good and law abiding he may be.
If used a therapy then practice slowly by being aware of each pose,breath and chakras.
while performing Hasta Uttanasana expands chest, so tend to inhale complete and Padahastasana we exhale completely.
So all the pockets of lungs are expanded , stimulated and cleansed.respiratory dieases excess mucus ,sluggishness,lethargy is removed,cardiac muscles are strengthened,coronory arteries are stimulated less chance of heart attack, increases circualtion in lymph nodes  so combats infection.

Massages all the abdominal organs esp Bhujangasana and  Hastasana,gently massages the kidneys and strain impurities from the blood and excrete them in urine via the bladder,take a glass of water before practising suryanamaskar will help.
skin-as Surya-namaskar produces perspiration speeds up circulation and enhances elimination of wastes through digestive and urinary systems leads to clean glowing complex.
As whole body is systematic stretched and compressed to maximum content stimulates circulation in the while spinal column and all the nerves.
During the practice ,the throat area is alternatively pressed and then stretched stimulates normal balanced secretion of thyroid gland.
So overall Surya-namasakar targets all the endocrine glands so balances secretion of hormones which in turn helps  functioning  of all organs.

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