A simple way to begin your day on the right note is by offering salutations to the sun, giver of energy and life, writes SENSEI SANDEEP DESAI. Are you new to yoga? If you are, then a good way to start your practice is with Surya Namaskar.
When you are pressed for time, Surya Namaskar is all you need to do to get through the day, provided of course you have no physical condition that prevents you from performing it. It is a good idea to first consult your doctor and then learn the asanas from a trained yoga instructor so you do it correctly and voluntarily.
When performed daily, Surya Namaskar can invigorate the body, helping you to develop a sense of being grounded. It’s traditionally done at dawn, before the mind gets busy with the day’s activities.The dynamic movements of the Surya Namaskar root you, so you can continue to grow and flourish from this foundation. In addition to its several health benefits, Surya Namaskar increases the awareness of your bandhas or subtle internal locks, thereby enabling you to keep your energy contained and properly channelled.
After repeating Surya Namaskar two or three times, you can begin to feel the inner fire being kindled, slowly. It’s this fire that burns away all the impurities and toxins of the body. If you have just embarked on a journey, you want to follow the alignment closely so as to avoid any risk of injury. After you have stood with your feet next to each other, the first thing to do is to find the centre of your body. This is done by tuning into the pelvic floor. Then the hands are taken into prayer position in front of your heart, followed by one deep, resonant breath. Now you are ready to begin your practice of Surya Namaskar.
The first step involves raising your hands above the head on an inhalation. The second step is about bending from the waist all the way down, bringing your head to the knees. As you do this, you need to raise the knee caps all the way into the pelvic floor. During the third step, you lift your spine, create the space behind the pubic bone and look up.
The fourth step, which is the hardest, requires you to lower down into a push-up position. While performing this move, it’s important that you apply the basics of healthy alignment, especially of the shoulders, and keep your legs as engaged as you can. Then you roll over your toes, lift the spine and look up. After this move, you release into the Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward facing dog posture and take five deep, steady, long breaths. This pose is a rest posture. Then you look forward and step to the front, lift your spine and look up. This is a repeat of the third step. Now, you fold forward and down, a repeat of the second step. Next, you come up all the way with the hands raised high, a repeat of the first step. Thereafter, you assume Samasthiti or neutral position.
Closing postures like Sarvangasana and Urdhva Dhanurasana help heal the body after an intense practice. With these poses, you can feel a meditative calm enveloping your body. When performed daily, sarvangasana or the shoulder stand can heal thyroid dysfunction and balance out the glandular system. By allowing the breath to become long, steady, slow and deep, you are able to find a sense of inward tuning with the mind and a sense of body relaxation.
The practice of yoga works on the belief that we carry a huge baggage of old habitual patterns, which are known as samskaras in Sanskrit. These samskaras are like almonds. They are ‘sowed’ in the field of our consciousness and they sprout when they are nourished through attachments and desires. The fruit that this tree bears then, is pain and suffering.
The central idea of yoga practice is to weed out from the soil of our consciousness, all of these almonds, including the deeply buried ones; then put them in the frying pan over agni also known as tapas (internal fire), the purification-by-fire process. You heat them up to the point where they no longer have the capacity to sprout and bear the fruit, that is, suffering. Just the way we get addicted to pleasure, a hobby or activity, we get addicted to these samskaras. Samskaras carry the root of our suffering. The process of inner fire purification with yoga helps to sweep away every negative samskara that brings you pain and misery.
This will prompt you to do spiritual sadhana and make the world a peaceful place. He is a successful yoga practitioner who, while exiting the world, makes sure it’s a better place than he first entered it.