When we think of summer we often think of vacation, relaxation, swimming and, of course, being in the sun!
The sun has long been revered in many cultures. Historically, this was most evident in India where people would pay homage to the sun with physical movement. This became known as the Sun Salute or Suryanamaskara. We may be familiar with the sun salutation or a variation of these movements. Classically there are 12 movements, performed upon waking and facing the East. Less familiar, even among serious yoga practitioners, is that each movement has a corresponding mantra which can be chanted aloud or silently. These mantras reflect the reverence for the sun as the nourisher of life, guardian of health and remover of darkness.
According to the Mantra Mala “This chant requests the sun to remove our physical, mental and emotional problems, to vanquish our enemies and to guide us in our every step.”
As we look forward to the summer and the fun it brings, let’s do our individualized asana practice facing east. Let’s hold the above bhavana (intention) as we feel the sun and give gratitude for its nourishment and illumination.