Updated: Sep 6, 2019
The weather hasn't been kind, I have had the fire on over the last couple of days and it is definitely starting to feel autumnal. An of course with Autumn comes the shorter days, longer nights and the loss of our primary source of light, the sun. For thousand of years the Hindus revered the sun called Surya. They saw the sun as the creator of life and one way to honour the sun was through Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations.
Sun Salutations are as rich in symbolism as they are in their physical benefits. Surya means 'the sun', Namaskar stems from namas, ‘to bow to’ or 'to adore'.
It drew my mind to the I have done so many sun salutations in my life, too many to count. My first encounter with yoga was in 1993. I was at university and we had a guest teacher, Simone Clifford. She was an Australian choreographer and performer, a passionate teacher and a stickler for technique. Apparently she now runs a pilates studio in Australia which totally makes sense. The first exercise we did with her was a version of salute to the sun or sun salutations.
There are 12 positions or postures that are performed in a cyclical pattern. They represent the 12 hours of the day and night, 12 months of the year and the 12 signs of the zodiac connecting with the stars and the planets. Each Sun Salutation begins and ends with the joined-hands mudra touched to the heart. They are composed of 3 elements: form, energy and rhythm. Traditionally, Sun Salutation is best performed outdoors, facing east, the location of the rising sun.
Physically it loosens the joints and massages the internal organs as well as being a spiritual practice. 108 sun salutations are traditionally performed at the Summer and Winter equinox at the new year. It allows us to mark the passing of time and celebrate the gift of life and energy we receive from the sun.
To celebrate the Winter Solstice, I will be hosting a Winter Restorative Yoga workshop by candlelight on Wednesday 18th December 2019, 7.00 - 8.15pm at Gilsland Village Hall