Starts September 2, 2019
Ends September 7, 2019
19:00 - 19:01
Free of charge
Surya Namaskar, Salute to the Sun or Sun Salutation, is a practice in yoga as exercise incorporating a sequence of some twelve gracefully linked asanas. The asana sequence was first recorded as yoga in the early 20th century, though similar exercises were in use in India before that, for example among wrestlers. The basic sequence involves moving from a standing position into Downward and Upward Dog poses and then back to the standing position, but many variations are possible. The set of 12 asanas is dedicated to the Hindu God Surya. In some Indian traditions, the positions are each associated with a different mantra.
The name Surya Namaskar is from the Sanskrit Surya, “Sun” and Namaskar, “Greeting” or “Salute”.Surya is the Hindu god of the sun. This identifies the sun as the soul and source of all life.
Indian tradition connects the 17th century saint Samarth Ramdass with Surya Namaskar exercises, without defining what movements were involved.
Ancient but simpler sun salutations such as Aditya Hridayam, described in the “Yuddha Kaanda” Canto 107 of the Ramayana, are not related to the modern sequence.
The anthropologist Joseph Alter states that Surya Namaskar was not recorded in any Haṭha yoga text before the 19th century.
In the 1920s, Bhawanrao Shriniwasrao Pant Pratinidhi, the Rajah of Aundh, (1868–1951; in office 1909-1947) popularized and named the practice, describing it in his 1928 book The Ten-Point Way to Health: Surya Namaskars.At that time, Surya Namaskar was not considered to be yoga; the pioneer of yoga as exercise Yogendra wrote criticising the “indiscriminate” mixing of sun salutation with yoga as the “ill-informed” were doing. It has been asserted that Pant Pratinidhi invented it, but Pant stated that it was already a commonplace Marathi tradition.
The yoga scholar-practitioner Norman Sjoman suggested that Krishnamacharya, “the father of modern yoga”, used the traditional and “very old” Indian wrestlers’ exercises called dands (Sanskrit: daṇḍ, a staff), described in the 1896 Vyayama Dipika, as the basis for the sequence and for his transitioning vinyasas. Different dands closely resemble the Surya Namaskar asanas Tadasana, Padahastasana, Caturanga Dandasana, and Bhujangasana. Krishnamacharya was aware of Surya Namaskar, since regular classes were held in the hall adjacent to his Yogasala in the Rajah of Mysore’s palace. His students K. Pattabhi Jois, who created modern day Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga,and B. K. S. Iyengar, who created Iyengar Yoga, both learnt Surya Namaskar and flowing vinyasa movements between asanas from Krishnamacharya and used them in their styles of yoga.
The historian of modern yoga Elliott Goldberg writes that Vishnudevananda’s 1960 book Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga “proclaimed in print” a “new utilitarian conception of Surya Namaskar” which his guru Sivananda had originally promoted as a health cure through sunlight. Goldberg notes that Vishnudevananda modelled the positions of Surya Namaskar for photographs in the book, and that he recognised the sequence “for what it mainly is: not treatment for a host of diseases but fitness exercise.”