SURYA NAMASKARA IS A MOVING PRAYER
BY CHUCK MILLER
The action of worshipping the Sun, “Surya” is the Indian name from the form of God represented by the Sun, the figure of Supreme Truth and Knowledge – the awakener of Consciousnes. Namaskara is the action of bowing in reverence. Traditionally, Surya Namaskara is done facing East in the morning before the sun has risen. It is important to practice cleansed and empty, presentable to the divine and ready to receive.
This is no ordinary act. Your full power of attention is focused on the present moment. Dive deep within yourself to discover the power of the sun that resides in every cell and impulse of who and what you are. Move slowly with awareness. Movement and breath are intimately linked. As the breath becomes deeper and slower the movements also follow. No hurry. Lengthening the breath is symbolic of and has the effect of lengthening the life span. The breath is a reflection of the cosmic inhale and exhale; the creation and dissolution. Cosmic and mundane arise from the same laws.
So begin with prayers. Standing, grounded with the feet together, stable and still. Bring the hands together; it´s the union of opposites. Place the hands, thumbs touching the heart center, to release any obstacles and allow the emotions to flow freely. The hands in this position resemble a flower ready to open. The heart venter is the abode of prayer. The sun within shines upon the flower in you heart. The light of truth and knowledge inspire the flower to blossom Gaze into this blossom as you bow in reverence to the greatness of the Sun.
Look toward the sun sometimes. Can you comprehend what it is? Then sun shines within us. It´s always there as a giver of all life. It never really sets – the earth just turns. As you breathe in the Light of the Sun, gaze upward. Raise your arms up to merge with that greatness. Open up to receive the power and strength. Grow easier in your body – lighter, warmer, taller.
As you exhale, give your breath back to the Light, fold your body, humbly saluting, “Namaskara.” Look down to the Earth and back for a change in perspective. As you inhale, keep the contact with the earth but look up to the Sky and fill yourself with Sun. Straighten you legs and back. Lengthen and fill your whole body with Prana. Explore.
Jump back as you echale, pursing all the air out as you land on the Earth, giving everything back and clearing the way. Feel what it´s like to be a being that lives this close to the Earth. Remember.
As you inhale, look up and pull forward, stretching the entire front of your body from your toes to the top of your head. Pull your chest through your arms, breaking open the “knot in your heart.”
As you exhale, lift your hips and push hard into the Earth with your arms and legs. When inverted, look back and up. Feel your breath move through your body, helping you to go deeper into the pose. Stay for a few breaths. Look up as you inhale, jumping your feet forward, floating your feet softly between your hands like a bird. Looking forward, your back and legs as straight as they can be. Fill in the blanks.
As you exhale, fold deep into a tight, compact form. Squeeze all the air out. As you inhale, look up and embrace the Sun again swinging your arms wide ascending and expanding. Pause at the top. Exhale slowly; push your arms back to your sides, coming back to where you started. This is one method.