Just posted an outdoor video for Surya Namaskar A over at the youtube channel and thought I’d share a few thoughts on the sun salutation.
In my personal practice, the sun salutation in all its various forms, is pretty much the backbone (my vinyasa roots run deep). As a teacher, I use it in full to warm up the body before holding poses as well as use it as a transition between standing and seated poses.
A literal translation of Suryanamaskara is “sun-salute”. Encoded in those simple words though is the idea of acknowledging and honoring not merely the material sun (the source of life on our particular planet) but the source of all light and life.
So, where did this series of asanas come from? The suryanamaskara that we know now may well be a modern development dating back to the 1930s with Krishnamacharya in Mysore, India. However, the seeds of the practice are said to be contained within rituals codified in the Vedas, which were written over 3000 years ago.
Explore a hundred different yoga sites and your searches will yield at least a dozen different “traditional” suryanamaskara. The one I normally warm up with is the variant of the A series with a lunge to step back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog) and to step forward into Uttanasana (standing forward fold). With enough practice, the flow becomes second nature, a moving meditation. The mind falls in line with the body via the synchronization of breath with movement.