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NAMASKARASANA POSTURE Stand facing east, the direction of the rising sun. Folding the hands reverently before the Lord Sun, place them on the chest to worship the Sublime Deity, just as they are placed for greeting any distinguished person (Plate 173).

After this, the arms, and in fact every part of the body, should be kept absolutely rigid. The arms are then raised and, at the same time, while the body from the feet to the waist and the extended arms are kept straight, the trunk, from the waist to the shoulders, is arched slightly backwards (Plate 174).

The arms are then swung forward and downward slowly, so as to touch the ground by the side of the feet, while the head touches the knees (Plate 175). While doing so, the body should not be bent at the knees.

Standing upright, again the left foot should be taken backwards with a jerk while the chest is kept expanded and taut (Plate 176).

The arms should be lifted upwards and backwards (Plate 177).

The left foot should be brought back to its initial position with a jerk while lowering the arms, and the right foot should be carried backwards (Plate 178).

Again, the arms are gradually lifted upwards and the chest arched slightly backward and kept taut (Plate 179).

Lowering the hands to touch the ground, the feet should be taken backward, while the buttocks are kept raised as much as possible and the whole body kept rigid (Plate 180).

Supporting the whole body on the hands and the feet, it should be lowered to such an extent that it should remain just above the surface of the ground but for the hands and the toes (Plate 181).

The chest should be pulled up and, while supporting the body on the hands and the toes, the chest and the head should be stretched backwards (Plate 182).

Then the feet should be brought forward between the hands with a jump. The waist should be lifted up and the legs should be kept absolutely straight while the head is kept on the knees (Plate 183).

End of cycle Then, the arms should be raised and, keeping the body rigid, the hands should again be folded in front of the chest (Plate 184).


SOORYA NAMASKAR (Salutation to the Sun)

SURYA-NAMASKARA (SALUTATION TO THE SUN) Surya-Namaskara is in vogue in India. Even those who are not familiar with the specialised aspects of yoga are conversant with Surya-Namaskara to some extent at least. SuryaNamaskara actually comprises sixteen components, but here only twelve have been detailed. This is, perhaps, because the Sun, with all its sixteen aspects, is said to be present only when the whole of Creation is in the throes of Final Dissolution; ordinarily, the Sun is visible only in its twelve aspects. The SuryaNamaskara with sixteen divisions is extremely difcult and it is, therefore, generally performed with twelve divisions. EFFECTS AND BENEFITS Surya-Namaskara is rated one of the best yogic exercises since, through it alone, the benets of asanas, mudras as well as pranayama can be attained. It induces the inow of pure vital air in sufcient quantities in the lungs, which makes the body glow like the sun. This is also the reason for its being called Surya-Namaskara. Like the sun, this exercise also has twelve divisional components. For each part of the body, there is, theoretically, a provision of a separate and distinctive type of Surya-Namaskara, so that not even the tiniest part of the body escapes its wholesome inuence. It broadens the .chest and beauties the arms. Dermatological disorders are prevented and those who already have them can be cured. It relieves constipation and stimulates digestion. Curing the abdominal complaints, it also reduces the paunch. Its practice makes the spine and waist exible. It is useful for all, but pregnant women should not continue its practice after the third month of pregnancy. Though popular and commonly known in this country, many do it without proper guidance and, therefore, do not derive any benet from it. It is a useful exercise for gunners and manual labourers and is particularly recommended for those of short stature or with crooked bodies. Some authorities hold that the practice of Surya-Namaskara is of advantage when performed in open air and bright sunshine. Continence and celibacy are easily achieved by its practice. Lethargic and lazy persons can also derive great advantage. Patients of hernia are warned against its practice. SuryaNamaskara should be performed in the morning since the exercise has a denite relationship to the sun and full advantage is only derived by its being performed at the right time.