Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is a common sequence of Asanas according to Sanatan Dharma. The fundamental origin of Surya Namaskara lie in India where Hindus worship Surya Deva, the Sun God.
The Surya Namaskar is a combination of sequence of movements and asanas which can be practised on varying levels of awareness, ranging from that of physical exercise in various styles, to a complete sadhana which incorporates asana, pranayama, mantra and chakra meditation.
It is also considered as just a beginning vinyasa within a longer yoga series. It is one of the very famous type of physical exercises in Indian schools.
Surya Namaskara – History
Surya Namaskara has many references to it in several scriptures. The ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’ mentions it as ‘Surya-bhedana Kumbhaka’, while ‘Gheranda Samhita’ refers to it as ‘Surya-bheda Kumbhaka’.
‘Sritattvanidhi’, the ancient documented book of asanas, does not mention Surya Namaskara, but it does describe the asanas – ‘Sarpasana’, ‘Bhujangasana’, ‘Gajasana’, ‘Uttanasana’ and the series of asanas, similar to Surya Namaskara.
107 Canto of ‘Yuddha Kaanda’ of ‘Valmiki Ramayana’ mentioned the ‘Aditya Hridayam’, another ancient practice which involves a variation of Surya Namaskara. This Sun Salutation procedure was taught to Lord Sri Rama by Sage Agastya, just before his war with Ravana.