In the never-ending quest for better health, some are turning to an ancient ritual called surya namaskar.
Also known as sun salutation, because it means greeting the sun, surya namaskar originated from the Hindus in India as a form of yoga practice. The Hindu god of the sun was named Surya and each morning, worshipers would conduct a series of movements to attain a better sense of awareness.
It is still regularly practiced in Indian schools and is preferably done on an empty stomach. Its movements are designed to warm up the body and improve a person’s health by doing so.
Yet, can this 2,500-year-old ritual actually provide better health in today’s world?
First, the concept is to greet the morning sun by standing straight and facing toward the golden, shining celestial body. Keep your body aligned and your feet together when doing so.
Put your hands together in a prayer pose and start taking deep breaths. While inhaling, raise your arms above your head. Tilt slightly backwards and look up your hands. Then slowly exhale and start leaning forward until you are behind over with your hands on either side of your feet. Your forehead should be roughly touching your knees.
Take your right feet and move it backwards, but your left feet should remain between your hands which are still pressed against the ground. You should be in a half straddling position right now. Tilt your head slightly upwards. Then, move your left feet backwards to where your right one is with your hands remaining the same. This puts you in a near push-up position, though your buttocks should be sticking out in the air a bit. Raise your hips a bit more and tuck your head inward a bit so that you are in an inverted V-position.
At this point, start leaning forward until only your hands, feet, chest, and forehead are touching the ground. Then continue forward and raise your head up so you are arching your back.
Now, you go through the entire process in reverse.
At a quicker rate, it is a cardiovascular workout. It also is said to improve your digestive system and get your blood circulation flowing. The inhalation process helps detox your body.
So there are some practical uses for this ritual. In that sense, conducting this ritual on a regular basis would seem to help get the day started right.
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