The sun coming out is always something to celebrate, but even more so in the summer when almost everything we do revolves around taking advantage of the warmth, light and longer days that come hand in hand with a brilliant summer. Pub gardens, lazy days on the beach, long walks, BBQ’s and finally managing to get to that early morning yoga class because it’s light so early – what better way is there to celebrate the summer sun than a few rounds of Surya Namaskara?
Surya Namaskara is the Sanskrit term for sun salutations; there’s archaeological evidence from northeast Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwest India dating back 3500 BCE of yoga depicted on the seals of Harappan, meaning a form of this moving meditation has been practiced for other 5,500 years! The first written record of sun salutations were around 1500 BCE in the Rig Veda, the oldest collection of sacred Hindu scriptures, and outlined movements and mantras to be offered at sunrise and sunset.
Since then, the practice has grown and changed, and now the sun salutations familiar to most yogi’s are a set sequence of asanas linked through breath and flow, often practiced in Ashtanga and Vinyasa. While this sequence helps us create strength, balance and peace of mind; traditionally they’re seen as a prayer in motion that celebrates the life-giving force of the sun.
While it’s not always performed with such intentions, linking breath and movement often has a deeply energising and calming effect and connects us to all the other yogi’s around the world breathing and flowing.