Sep 1, 2022

Book Review: Surya Namaskara by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

 I have become a big fan of books published by the Bihar School of Yoga. Backed by science, detailed explanation of the physical body, and the subtle energy body, many of their books are easy to read and provide a good grasp of the Yoga philosophy.

The latest book I read from their collection is this little insightful book on the practice of Surya Namaskar. It is one of the powerful practices, that impacts our physical and mental health in myriad ways.

The book starts with how the Sun worship is part of many cultures. It then elaborates on the 12 steps in detail and guidelines to keep in mind while practicing the flow. The 12 Sun mantras for each pose are also provided, along with their meaning. The author has elaborated on how Suryanamaskar practice benefits our various organ systems, more specifically our endocrine system.

The recommended daily practice is 6 rounds performed slowly and then 6 quickly.

What fascinated me while reading the book is how each posture can vitalize various chakras, when done with awareness. It was also amazing to read about the psychodynamic effects of each asana - how we shift from introversion to extroversion, and how we experience various states of our mind while doing the asanas.

It was also eye-opening to read about how the practice needs to be customized depending on whether you are a Pingala dominant or an Ida dominant individual. A Pingala dominant individual is supposed to slow down their practice and do only a few rounds, whereas an Ida dominant individual is supposed to slowly increase the number of rounds and also speed them up.

A few key takeaways:

"Suryanamaskara teaches us to tune into our own capabilities and limitations."

"A healthy body and an active life are the basis of spiritual development."

"The quality or quantity of food matter little if the body is unable to digest, assimilate and utilize it efficiently"

"In case of slipped disc, sciatica and disc degeneration, the forward bending postures of surya namaskara will aggravate the problem."

The textbook style of writing may not appeal to everyone. It is certainly a valuable book for Yoga practitioners and teachers.

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