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Surya Namaskar Origin And Satya

30 May 2020 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy



Ancient origins of Surya Namaskar

Surya Namaskar has been used to practice in ancient for many centuries as a ritual in the form of worship to the Surya Deva, Sun God. When and how it originated, as the ancient view, there is one story that relates to Hanuman, the monkey King of the epic, Ramayana that we know that we will find fascinating how Hanuman almost swallowed the Sun from this writ.

Hanuman, the great monkey God, was one of the prominent characters in the epic of Ramayana. This story has been representing the origin of Surya Namaskar, relates to Hanuman’s childhood. There are two parts to the story. The first part where Hanuman tries to swallow the sun is known quite well and the second part which relates to how the practice of Surya Namaskar evolved is quite new for all.

The Origin story goes:

Hanuman was born with supernormal powers, the great monkey hero. As a child he was a greedy eater. One day when his mother went out, he was hungry and looking for food. He looked outside and saw the Sun just rising on the horizon in front of him. He misunderstood it for a ripe mango and wanted to eat it. Using his supernormal powers, he took a big leap and rose to grab the sun to eat. He grabbed the sun and tried to put sun into his mouth to eat.  As soon as he put the sun in his mouth, the earth began to get swallowed in darkness. The gods in heaven finally got worried about the situation and requested Hanuman to release the sun.

The stubborn child refused release the sun. Indra, the Lord of all gods, had to use his weapon, the diamond thunderbolt, vajra yantra and threw it at Hanuman. The weapon stroke the Hanuman’s jaw. Due to the pain, Hanuman suddenly opened his mouth and dropped the sun. Thus, it was possible to bring the universe back to sunlight. But the thrust of the vajra broke his jaw, known as Hanu, giving him the nickname as a brave name by which we know him today, “Hanuman, the one with the broken jaw.” The gods, as punishment for Hanuman’s impunity, temporarily took away Hanuman’s powers.

Only after they were threatened by Vayu Devata, the wind god, Hanuman’s father, they realized their mistake and gave Hanuman a boon that would give him special powers of strength, speed, shape-transform, a gift for brahma power, a prodigious memory, and the qualities of a true lover of God, all of which would be restored to him in the future when he would meet and serve Lord Rama.


In the meantime, Hanuman, as a growing child, he needed an education. His mother, named Anjana, taught him to approach sun, the perennial teacher, to teach him about all holiest epics. Initially, the sun refused Hanuman’s request and said that it is not possible to learn from him as he is constantly on the move. Hanuman persisted and assured the sun that he would keep a step with the sun while getting his education.

The sun agreed and imparted all the knowledge of the vedas and other shastras to Hanuman. Due respect, Hanuman offered to pay his “guru dakshina” ,as  traditional  fees for Guru but the sun refused. Hanuman then decided to pacify his Guru through the practice of Surya Namaskar which he dedicated to the sun and began practicing it regularly. That is how the practice of Surya Namaskar was in practice till today.

Further Information

As stated earlier, the practice of Surya Namaskara was not explained and practiced in any of the ancient Yoga manuals. As per the yoga historians, the story goes back about 157 years ago, in 1920 B.S when there was a king in the state of Aundh, now in Maharashtra. The king was both a yoga practitioner as well as the practitioner of the Surya Namaskar rites as a form of sun worship. He came up with the idea of integrating Surya Namaskar, which has the combined merits as physical, mental, emotional as well as a spiritual point of view into his daily yoga practice.

Surya Namaskara, in some form or another, is an integral part of most styles of yoga that are practiced today. Integral Yoga, the style that we practice and teach today, Yogi Vashistha, Shivananda, Satyananda, Kripalu, to name just a few of the more commonly practiced styles today – all include some variation of Surya Namaskar as a part of their yoga routine. As we know, most yoga practices have their origins in the ancient yoga texts related to the philosophy and practice of yoga. We will find that no mention has directly been made of the practice of Surya Namaskar in any Hatha Yoga Texts and Yoga Darshana as well.

But Surya Namaskara is mentioned indirectly and secretly in Hatha Yoga Texts under Shatakarma as a Vaatasaara kriya which is very sacred and conceal as well. As this view, Surya Namaskara is the series of manoeuverses to fill the intestines with air. It is a kind of kriya of drinking air. This credit goes to Swami Adhyatmananda and later Dr. Prakash C. Malshe, a Cardiologist in Haridwar India scientifically did research and shared this knowledge to populace.

Vaatasaara Kriya:
“Vaatasaaram param gopyam dehanirmalakaarakam;
Sarvarogakshayakaram dehaanalavivardhakam”  G.S. 1.16.
It means that Vaatasaara kriya is to be kept conceal. It is a great purifier, destroyer of all diseases and increases the body heat.

The Sun Salutation is a graceful sequence of twelve positions with twelve mantras performed as one continuous flow of different individual asanas. Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing. It activates the nadis and chakras for kundalini awakening.

  1. Paranaamaasana- OM Mitraya Namaha ~ Salutations to the friend of all  
  2. Hasta-uttaanaasana- OM Ravaye Namaha ~ Salutations to the shining one
  3. Paada-hastaasana- OM Suryaya Namaha ~ Salutations to he who induces activity
  4. Anjaneyasana- OM Bhaanave Namaha ~ Salutations to he who illuminates
  5. Dandaasana- OM Khagaya Namaha ~ Salutations to he who moves through the sky
  6. Ashtaanga Namaskaara- OM Pushne Namaha ~ Salutations to the giver of strength and nourishment
  7. Bhujangaasana- OM Hiranyagarbhaaya Namaha ~ Salutations to the golden cosmic self
  8. Adho Mukha Svaanasana-  OM Marichaye Namaha ~ Salutations to the rays of the sun
  9. Anjaneyasana- OM Aadityaya Namaha ~ Salutations to the son of Aditi (the cosmic mother)
  10. Paada-hastaasana- OM Savitre Namaha ~ Salutations to the stimulating power of the sun
  11. Hasta-uttaanaasana-  OM Arkaaya Namaha ~ Salutations to he who is fit to be praised
  12. Paranaaamaasana- OM Bhaashkaaraaya Namaha ~ Salutations to he who leads to enlightenment

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