Surya Namaskara

Surya Namaskara  also known in English as Sun Salutation (lit. "salute to the sun") is a common sequence of asanas. Its origins lie in India where its large Hindu population worships Surya, the Hindu solar deity. This sequence of movements and asanas can be practised on varying levels of awareness, ranging from that of physical exercise in various styles, to a complete sadhana which incorporates asanapranayamamantra and chakra meditation. It is often the beginningvinyasa within a longer yoga series. SÅ«rya Namaskāra may also refer to other styles of "Salutations to the Sun".


The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the oldest known hatha yoga text does not mention "Sun Salutations" but mentions a sūrya-bhedana (sun-piercing) kumbhaka (II, 44 and 48-50) while the Gheraṇḍa Saṁhitā mentions sūrya-bheda kumbhaka (58-59). The oldest documented book with clear depictions of asanas is the Sritattvanidhi, though there is no mention of "Sun Salutations" in the text, it does describe the asanas "Sarpasana" (Bhujangasana), "Gajasana" (Adhomukh Swannasan), "Uttanasana" and series of asanas done in tandem, similar to Sūrya Namaskāra.


Incidentally the translator of the ancient Sritattvanidhi., Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, was also responsible for arranging for Sri. T. Krishnamacharya to teach yoga at Yogaśālā in Mysore sometime around 1930. Sri. T. Krishnamacharya's teachings are largely responsible for the modern version of Sūrya Namaskāra as seen in modern day Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and the Visesha Vinyasa Sun Salutation subroutine from Vinyasa Krama Yoga, as well as a host of other popular forms of yoga. K. Pattabhi Jois claims to have taught exactly as he had learned from Krishnamacharya, though other than personal testimony, there seems to be no other evidence as to the precise content of Krishnamacharya's teachings. While Krishnamacharya's specific sources for his yoga teachings are unclear, it is said that he learned from Sri Ramamohana Brahmachari in the Himilayan Mountains (perhaps Muktinath where his son has visited , but certainly somewhere near the Gandaki River in Nepal) beginning in 1916; however, the source of his teaching (at the Mysore Yogashala or otherwise) is not otherwise documented. Krishnamacharya's son attests to his father having developed some of his teachings himself. There is the possibility that he may have been influenced by the Mysore Palace Gymnastics Tradition.

Raja of Aundh

Another indication as to the origins of SÅ«rya Namaskāra is the 1928 Indian publication of "The Ten Point Way of Health" by Raja Bhavan Rao Srinivas ("Bala Sahib"), Pant Pratinidhi of Aundh (1868–1951; Raja of Aundh 1909-1947), followed by later publication in England in 1938. The Raja claims to have practiced the series as a child. And some sources report that only after extensive practice and analysis (and potentially modification) himself did he finally publish the book. Thus, the true origin of the series remains unclear, though it has to be noted that Raja of Aundh, himself never claimed to have invented Surya Namaskar. Further he actually stressed on the ancient origins of this procedure. He helped in popularizing surya namaskar as a simple physical exercise for all round development of an individual in India. He introduced it in schools as a form of education and encouraged even the ordinary man to be physically fit by performing surya namaskar every day. Still, how exactly SÅ«rya Namaskāra came to be included in the yogic practices of Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga remains unclear.


Step Asana Breath Images Chakra Position BÄ«ja
Sanskrit Transliteration
1 Pranamasana exhale 1Pranamasana.JPG Anahata Heart ॐ ह्रां om hrāṁ
2 Hasta Uttanasana inhale 2Urdva Hastasana.JPG Vishuddhi Throat ॐ ह्रीं om hrīṁ
3 Hastapaadasana exhale 3Uttanasana.JPG Swadhisthana Sacrum ॐ ह्रूं om hrūṁ
4 Aekpaadprasarnaasana (one foot back, lift head, hands often on earth ) inhale 4godhapitham (l‘iguane).JPG Ajna Third eye ॐ ह्रैं om hraiṁ
5 Adho Mukha Svanasana / parvatasana exhale 5adho mukha shvanasana.JPG Vishuddhi Throat ॐ ह्रौं om hrauṁ
6 Ashtanga Namaskara suspend 6Ashtanga Namaskara.JPG Manipura Solar plexus ॐ ह्रः om hraḥ
7 Bhujangasana inhale Bhujangasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpg Swadhisthana Sacrum ॐ ह्रां om hrāṁ
8 Adho Mukha Svanasana exhale 5adho mukha shvanasana.JPG Vishuddhi Throat ॐ ह्रीं om hrīṁ
9 Ashwa Sanchalanasana (opposite foot forward from 4, hands often on earth ) inhale 4godhapitham (l‘iguane).JPG Ajna Third eye ॐ ह्रूं om hrūṁ
10 Uttanasana exhale 3Uttanasana.JPG Swadhisthana Sacrum ॐ ह्रैं om hraiṁ
11 Hasta Uttanasana inhale 2Urdva Hastasana.JPG Vishuddhi Throat ॐ ह्रौं om hrauṁ
12 Pranamasana exhale 1Pranamasana.JPG Anahata Heart ॐ ह्रः om hraḥ




2 Surya Namasakras are practised per cycle.

In the table, the following first 12 mantras corresponds to the 12 asanas in Surya Namasakara and can also be chanted or repeated mentally during the performance of each corresponding asana. They can also be pronounced at Pranamasana.

Salutation Sanskrit Transliteration
1 ॐ मित्राय नमः om mitrāya namaḥ
2 ॐ रवये नमः om ravaye namaḥ
3 ॐ सूर्याय नमः om sūryāya namaḥ
4 ॐ भानवे नमः om bhānave namaḥ
5 ॐ खगाय नमः om khagāya namaḥ
6 ॐ पूष्णे नमः om pūṣṇe namaḥ
7 ॐ हिरण्यगर्भाय नमः om hiraṇya garbhāya namaḥ
8 ॐ मरीचये नमः om marīcaye namaḥ
9 ॐ आदित्याय नमः om ādityāya namaḥ
10 ॐ सवित्रे नमः om savitre namaḥ
11 ॐ अर्काय नमः om arkāya namaḥ
12 ॐ भास्कराय नमः om bhāskarāya namaḥ
13 ॐ श्रीसवितृसूर्यनारायणाय नमः om śrīsavitṛsūryanārāyaṇāya namaḥ