Surya Namaskara – Sun Salutations – the sequence of 12 postures we practice as a warm-up in the beginning of class, are a wonderful to begin a simple home practice.
It is recommended for beginners to practice 2-3 rounds (one round is practiced on the right side – right foot steps back and forward into lunge – and then repeated on the left side to balance the body)
For Intermediate level, practice 3-12 rounds fast (1 full breath per pose) to warm-up the body or 3-12 rounds slowly (1 full 3-count breath) for spiritual / meditative benefits.
It is also recommended to practice during sunrise or sunset, naturally. Surya Namaskara also helps to balance Pingala Nadi, the energy channel that corresponds to the right nostril and left brain, which flows with solar / masculine energy.
The 12 postures represent the 12 zodiac signs and the 24 hours in a day.
They also have mantras you can chant internally as you focus on your breath to help you stay grounded in the present while also adding an element of devotion to your practice.
In addition, to create a moving prayer, I also recommend adding your own original prayers or dedications to each round of Sun Salutations which helps you bring 100% dedication to each asana you perform.
For a slow practice:
Surya Namasakara Mantras:
1 – Prayer Pose – Om Mitraya Namaha – salutations to the friend of all
2 – Raised arms – Om Ravaye Namaha – salutations to the shining one
3 – Forward bend – Om Suryaya Namaha – salutations to he who induces activity
4 – Lunge – Om Bhanave Namaha – salutations to he who illumines
5 – Down dog – Om Khagaya Namaha – salutations to he who moves quickly in the sky
6 – Knee/chest/chin – Om Pushne Namaha – salutations to the giver of strength
7 – Cobra – Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha – salutations to the golden cosmic self
8 – Down dog – Om Marichaye Namaha – salutations to the Lord of the Dawn
9 – Lunge – Om Adityaya Namaha – salutations to the son of Aditi, the cosmic mother
Aditi- means boundless and free, in the Vedas Aditi is the mother of the celestial gods, the mother of all creation
10 – Forward bend – Om Savitre Namaha – salutations to the Lord of Creation
11 – Raised arms – Om Arkaya Namaha – salutations to he who is fit to be praised
12 – Prayer – Om Bhaskaraya Namaha – salutations to he who leads to enlightenment
For a fast practice the Beeja mantras can substitute and be repeated.
1 – Om Hraam
2 – Om Hreem
3 – Om Hroom
4 – Om Hraim
5 – Om Hraum
6 – Om Hrah