With summer here, everybody is rushing out to catch a tan, exposing their bodies to the source of all energy and power – the sun.
The rays of the sun bestow and preserve health and also have tremendous antiseptic properties. These rays can penetrate the body’s cells and work wonders for people who suffer from Tuberculosis, Rheumatism, Anemia, Eczema, Colds, Coughs and Rickets.
The best time to expose yourself to the healing properties of the sun’s rays is early morning just after sunrise for a short time. This exposure can be combined with a yoga practice called Suryanamaskara. It means Salute to the Sun; ‘surya’ means sun and ‘namaskara’ means greeting.
Suryanamaskara combines several yoga postures with rhythmic breathing, sunbathing and prayerful contemplation of the healing power that the sun represents.
We face the early morning sun as we practice bathing our whole body in the life-giving rays of the sun, the giver to the world of light, life, joy and warmth.
Suryanamaskara consists of a series of 12 postures which flow smoothly and gracefully from one to the next. As time goes by your practice will be perfected, so initially go slowly and be patient as perfection takes practice.
Salute to the Sun
To begin with, breathe as you would normally do. This means you might take a couple of breaths in between each posture to start with. The breathing instruction below is when you move from one posture to the next.
- Stand upright with your feet slightly apart. Place your palms of your hands together in front of your chest. Exhale.
- On an inhalation slowly swing your arms above your head, bending your trunk as far back as is comfortable – tighten your buttocks to support your lower back.
- On an exhalation slowly swing your arms and body forward and down without bending your knees. Place the palms of your hands squarely on the ground, fingers pointing straight in front and parallel to your feet. Bury your face between your knees.
- Stretch your right leg back as far as it can go while exhaling. Flexing your left leg at the knee bend it and let your thigh be in close contact with your torso. Look up.
- On an exhalation stretch your left leg back and form a plank by straightening your legs, back and arms.
- On an exhalation, flex and bend your elbows, keeping them close to your body. Dip your body and touch the ground with your forehead, chest, knees and toes – your buttocks are raised. Hold this position briefly on empty lungs.
- Now inhale, gently roll your head up and backwards, straightening your arms, dropping your pubic bone onto the ground, bend your spine back as far as possible.
- As you breathe out, swing your hips up and back and assume an inverted V position with your heels and the palms of your hands resting flat on the ground. Make sure that your arms are straight and your head is in alignment with your arms.
- On an exhalation, swing your left leg forward and place your foot next to your left hand. Let your left thigh be in contact with your torso and look up
- On an exhalation swing your right leg forward next to your other foot. Keep your palms on the ground, straighten your knees and bury your face between your knees
- On an inhalation slowly swing your arms above your head, bending your trunk backwards as far as comfortable – tighten your buttocks.
- Exhale and stand upright. Place your palms together in front of your chest.
These twelve postures represent one round of Salute to the Sun. You can do this every morning and slowly build up to twelve rounds per day. These rounds will kept you flexible and build up your stamina and energy levels to keep you feeling alive and well throughout your day. .