Surya Namaskar: A Means to Effortless Meditation

Swami Ishwarananda

On the Siddha Yoga path, meditation is one of the essential practices.

For the practice of deep meditation, the physical body needs to be fit, strong, and flexible. Your well-being is important for maintaining a steady, comfortable meditation posture that will enable you to meditate without interruption for extended lengths of time—nirantara, without interruption, and dirghakala, for extended time

Surya Namaskar is one of the elemental sequences of asanas, or postures, in hatha yoga. The performance of Surya Namaskar is worship of the deity of the Sun, Surya Devata. It is comprised of twelve postures representing the arc of the sun from sunrise to sunset. As practitioners move through these postures, they bring forth within themselves qualities of the sun, such as radiance, flexibility, vitality, and constancy.

Surya Namaskar is performed by synchronizing the postures with the breath. When done with intent and with focused awareness of the connection between the flow of the movements and the power of the breath, practitioners experience the awakened kundalini energy pulsating in every cell of the body. Then it is easy to enter the state of meditation.

The power of Surya Namaskar is further enhanced by repeating mantras along with the sequence of postures. The scriptures of India praise the power of mantra. Specific mantras are associated with each deity, ritual, act of worship, spiritual practice, stage of life— even with each activity. Whenever any mantra is repeated, aloud or silently, the practitioner experiences the qualities of the deity inherent in the mantra.

Mantras carry blessings. They calm the mind. They bring tranquility to the senses. Mantras support practitioners in attaining their goals.

The Surya Namaskar mantras represent different names of Surya Devata, the sun. When each mantra is silently repeated along with its corresponding posture during Surya Namaskar, the practitioner experiences the attributes of Surya Devata.

Practitioners of Surya Namaskar combine the postures, breathing, and repetition of the mantras to establish a vinyasa, or flow, which creates a beneficial synergy of the mind, body, breath, and heart.

On the following pages are illustrations of the twelve sequential postures of Surya Namaskar and their corresponding mantras which consist of AUM followed by the bija mantra, and the surya mantras.

If you have an established practice of Surya Namaskar, you are welcome to study and apply the mantras as you move through the postures. From day to day, observe how this practice is invigorating your body, stilling your mind, and supporting you in your practice of meditation.

If you’re new to the practice of hatha yoga and would like to establish Surya Namaskar as a practice, I recommend that you learn from a qualified hatha yoga teacher. This will allow you to understand the structure and benefits of each posture and establish a solid foundation for your practice of Surya Namaskar, Salutations to the Sun.

In the Yoga Sūtra (2.46), the sage Patañjali says this about meditation posture:

Āsana (posture) should be steady and comfortable.1

Practiced regularly, Surya Namaskar will support you to develop a steady and comfortable meditation posture. One of the great benefits is that you will be able to meditate effortlessly for longer periods of time.

Observe and contemplate the ways in which Surya Namaskar strengthens your practice of Siddha Yoga meditation and brings forth the qualities of Surya Devata in your being—radiance, flexibility, vitality, and constancy. Marvel at the powerful connections between the postures, the mantras, and deep meditation.

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1I K Taimni, The Science of Yoga, (The Theosophical Publishing House, 1975), p. 252