Add the attitude of gratitude to your Sun Salutation practice with sun salutation mantras. That's when through Surya Namaskar, you can honor not only the Sun but also the whole Nature. (Honoring the creation brings in a sense of sacredness to your yoga practice.)
I stand on my yoga mat, getting ready to start my Sun Salutation practice. My hands are folded in front of my chest, in prayer position. I chant the first mantra for Sun Salutation, my hands go up and then as I recite the second sun salutation mantra, they come down and touch the floor, as if bowing to this higher power – the Sun. I have a gentle smile on my face as I carry on with each Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) posture and coordinate it with a mantra recital. My whole Surya Namaskar practice turns sacred. This is what mantra chants can do to the Sun Salutation practice, which can otherwise seem like a physical exercise intended to lose weight or stretch and tone the muscles.
Sure, sounds good, you say. But what are Sun Salutation mantras?
Mantras refer to a combination of syllables, sounds, or phrases, which can be chanted or sung. In case of Sun Salutation, they are sung in praise of the Sun. Chanting mantras extends Sun Salutation benefits; it has subtle yet penetrating effects on both mind and body. There are 12 mantras which praise different qualities of Sun and add a profound spiritual touch to the entire practice.
How to chant the Sun Salutation mantras?
The only rule to remember is to chant them with gratefulness. Each sun salutation mantra has a specific meaning, but it is not important to delve into what each mantra means.
For instance, Om Bhaanve Namaha means 'one who brings light'. When you recite this mantra, feel a sense of deep gratitude to the Sun for giving us light and making life possible on Earth. Similarly, addressing the Sun as a friend with the chant, Om Mitraaya Namaha, where we look at this glowing ball as our friend.
How to include mantras in Surya Namaskar?
You can either chant the sun salutation mantras verbally or in your mind.
Now let's see how you can chant the mantras while doing the Sun Salutation sequence. One set of Sun Salutation comprises two rounds – one with the right leg, one with the other. It is ideally recommended to practice 12 sets of Sun Salutation daily. But you can choose your own number, according to what seems comfortable. If you choose to do 6 sets or more, chant one mantra each at the start of every new sequence. Recite the first mantra as you start one set, finish the two rounds in that set and then start the next set with the second mantra and so on. This way, you would have chanted 12 mantras with 12 sets of Sun Salutation.
If you practice less than 12 rounds of Sun Salutation – 2 or 4 – you can recite one mantra each with every posture in the sequence. This would make it 12 mantras corresponding to 12 poses of Surya Namaskar.
|Sun Salutation Pose||Sun Salutation Mantra||Meaning|
|Pranamasana (Prayer pose)||Om Mitraaya Namaha||Who is friendly to all|
|Hastauttanasana (Raised arms pose)||Om Ravaye Namaha||The shining one, the radiant one|
|Hasta Padasana (Hand to foot pose)||Om Suryaya Namaha||Who is the dispeller of darkness and responsible for bringing activity|
|Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)||Om Bhaanave Namaha||One who illumines, the bright one|
|Dandasana (Stick pose)||Om Khagaya Namaha||Who is all-pervading, one who moves through the sky|
|Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with eight parts or points)||Om Pooshne Namaha||Giver of nourishment and fulfillment|
|Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)||Om Hiranyagarbhaaya Namaha||Who has golden color brilliance|
|Parvatasana (Mountain pose)||Om Mareechaye Namaha||The giver of light with infinite number of rays|
|Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)||Om Aadityaaya Namaha||The son of Aditi – the cosmic divine Mother|
|Hasta Padasana (Hand to foot pose)||Om Savitre Namaha||One who is responsible for life|
|Hastauttanasana (Raised arms pose)||Om Aarkaaya Namaha||Worthy of praise and glory|
|Tadasana||Om Bhaaskaraya Namaha||Giver of wisdom and cosmic illumination|
It is a good idea to chant the sun salutation mantras with the proper intonations. You could learn the correct mantra chanting along with the video.
Include these mantras in your daily practice of Surya Namaskar and feel a sense of oneness with the Sun.
(Based on inputs by Krishan Verma and Dinesh Kashikar. Written by Pritika Nair.)