Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans
Sun Salutation Yoga Sequence: Surya Namaskar Mantras
The Sun Salutation is a graceful yoga sequence with a minimum of 12 steps, performed at dawn, facing the rising Sun and worshipping the Sun God in Hindu mythology. This yoga sequence was generally practiced in the traditional, religious way and was earlier. never considered a part of Yoga. Over the years this practice has evolved from the ancient origins and is today, an integral part of the yoga practice.
These 12 steps, when practiced with mantras, represent the 12 names or manifestations of the Sun God. Hence, in the given Sun Salutation of 12 steps, the mantras for each pose/step are included and it is left to the practitioner to make the choice.
When the mantras are recited, it goes without saying that the 12 steps are NOT TO BE done in a dynamic way where emphasis is placed on breath. If one wants to practice this Sun Salutation Sequence in a dynamic way, then one could recite the entire mantra at the beginning of the Sun Salutation practice.
In this yoga sequence, emphasis should be given to the spinal column at each yoga pose along with breath movement. The stretching of the body here in different ways gives maximum range of flexing the spine; this further helps in preparations of other asanas, making it part of the regular yoga routine. Therefore, practicing Sun Salutations at the beginning of a yoga session is essential and acts as a great way to warm up and increase the flow of blood throughout the body.
It is left to the individual to repeat this yoga sequence based on their capacity, but a minimum of 6 rounds (3 pairs) is important to start with.
Sun Salutation Yoga Sequence: Surya Namaskar Mantras: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions
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The 12 steps in the Sun Salutation sequence is a great way to open the joints and the various muscles in the body and when done with the right kind of inhalation and exhalation, the flow of prana is smooth, energizing the entire body.
A. Begin to stand at the centre of the short end of the mat.
B. With feet placed close to each other and hands left hanging towards the sides, close your eyes and take breaths working on making the breathing slow and deep.
C. Stand here in Tadasana, taking 8 rounds of breathing preparing the body and the mind for the practice of Surya Namaskar.
A. Inhale - stretch the arms up and back to go into Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arms Pose.
B. Make sure the movement of the arms is in sync with the inhalation, and once stretched exhale.
C. Using the abdominal muscles here, while expanding the chest will help flex the lower back deeper. Go slow for the first time and understand the stretch felt at the entire back and at the neck while in this pose.
D. This pose helps one to take deep breath, using the maximum of the chest muscles along with the diaphragm. Here the opening of the lower back and the upper back happens slowly going into the counter movement in the next pose.
E. Chant the mantra as you go into the pose
OM RAVAYE NAMAHA
(Salutations to the shining one)
A. Exhale - bending forward with the torso flexing the hips to go into Uttanasana or Standing Forward Fold Pose.
B. Exhale completely here and reach for the floor with the palms and try to bring the face close to the knees or the place where one is comfortable.
C. This pose helps to tone the abdominal muscles while pulling the belly in and further helps to improve digestion. A great pose to reduce the excess belly fat. Improves the flexibility of the spine while opening the hamstrings and the calves muscles.
D. Chant this mantra while bending forward
OM SURYAYE NAMAHA
(Salutations to he who induces activity)
A. Exhale - bring the left leg back and place it close to the right foot while raising the entire lower back upward taking support of the palms on the floor to go into Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose.
B. Exhale completely here and begin the slow breath and watch for the stretch at the hamstrings, the shoulders, the hips and the neck.
C. A great pose, giving the entire body a complete stretch and with the flow of blood in both directions towards the feet and towards the head. Helps to gain muscle strength at the arms, hands, shoulders and the legs.
Make sure the palms and the feet are firm on the floor as one does not want to lose balance and get injured.
D. As you go into the pose chant
OM KHAGAYA NAMAHA
(Salutations to he who moves quickly in the sky)
A. Inhale - bring the knees, chest, and the chin to the floor while exhaling completely to go into Ashtangasana or Eight Limbed Pose.
B. Balance the body on your toes, chest and the knees while raising the lower back upwards, watching for the stretch at the base of the spine - sacrum.
C. This pose flexes the hips, the joints are put to maximum pressure, the focus on balancing the body plays a great role and hence keeps the mind free of unwanted thoughts with this focus. This pose also helps one gain confidence and encourages positive thoughts.
D. Chant the mantra here in your mind if breathing is difficult while going into the pose
OM PUNSHNE NAMAHA
(Salutations to the giver of strength)
A. Inhale - release the hips and place the entire lower body on the floor, while raising the chest and the upper body off the floor to take the back in a backbend while resting the palms on the floor in Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana.
B. Using the abdominal muscles, stretch the lower back to go in a back bend, lifting the abdomen, chest and the neck and gaze upwards.
C. Exhale here completely. This pose improves the flexibility of the spine and strengthens the chest and shoulders while making sure the breathing is smooth and deep.
A great pose again to gain self confidence and strength in the entire body as well as the mind.
D. While going into the pose with inhalation chant
OM HIRANYA GARBHAYA NAMAHA
(Salutation to the golden, cosmic self)