Classical surya namaskar is a traditional cycle of 12 asanas performed sequentially. The essential purpose of this practice is to awaken and expand your inner life force. There are different variations of how you can achieve this. This article focuses only on the mantra version of surya namaskar.
There are 12 surya namaskar mantras to be chanted – one for each of the 12 postures – and the focus is on the sound and vibration of the different chants. When chanted clearly and loudly in one breath, the effect of deep breathing is achieved. The breath slows down naturally as the practice becomes more contemplative. It raises the practice from the level of the body and mind to one of spirituality.
Each chant focuses on awakening the energy flow to a specific area of the body. All 12 mantras begin with AUM – the universal mantra – and each line of the mantra invokes a different aspect of the solar energy to which you connect your mind through that vibration of the sound and the posture. The sequence is demonstrated below:
follow the first three minutes of this YouTube video to see this practice. (The video also includes an additional practice of surya namaskar with SO-HUM mantra, for those also interested in this variation).
How to remember surya namaskar mantra
The easiest way to learn the surya namaskar mantra is to remember that each line starts with AUM and ends with NAMAHA, and in between is the name of the different aspect of the sun-energy you are connecting to through that vibration of the sound and the posture.
Another way is to sit down and visualise each posture while chanting the mantra – you can record the words from many internet sources; but the best way is to regularly practice the postures together with the mantra so that you learn to associate each movement with the appropriate words. The more you practice, the more spontaneous each mantra will arise as you perform the posture. There is no shortcut – you simply need to practice.
How surya namaskar is incorporated into our 200-hour YTTC
In our 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course, we introduce the 12 surya namaskar mantra concept. The students learn the words of the chant by practicing with the teacher and become aware of the mantra as they visualise the posture. The next step is for the teacher to chant while performing the pose, and the students follow; finally, the teacher and students chant together as they perform the postures. This process helps them to remember the chant and gives them the experience of the mantra and posture combination.
How surya namaskar is incorporated into our 300-hour YTTC
In our 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course, we develop the practice of the 12 surya namaskar mantra so that students chant with the teacher for a longer time, and at the end of the practice, remain standing, simply chanting the mantra. In the silence following the completion of the practice, students experience how their prana (their energy) is flowing throughout their bodies. Many students have remarked on the sense of peace they feel at the end of this practice.
Chanting all kinds of mantras – including the 12 surya namaskar mantra – is integral to every yoga program and class held at the Vedic Yoga Centre. Every aspect of yoga taught at the Vedic Yoga Centre has only one purpose – to bring your mind into the present moment. Mantra is just one of these practices.
If you want to chant with us at the Vedic Yoga Centre, you can join our different yoga programs. You can select from a short retreat, such as a beginner yoga and meditation course, or a more extended program, such as our 200-hour YTTC.