Surya Namaskar is an offering
The Sun God, Surya, is portrayed as riding a chariot with seven horses, twelve wheels and eight spokes on in each wheel. He is accompanied by his two wives, Sanjana and Chaaya, and his charioteer is the dawn god. The seven horses represent the 7 days of the week, the twelve wheels the 12 months of the year and the eight spokes the eight traditional divisions of the day within the Hindu tradition. This goes to show how specific Yoga is. Nothing is casually places, all we do in yoga (lineage based yoga) can be traced back to a fact, or story of sorts. The specificity of it all is what makes Yoga such a powerful practice, and why so many of us continue to feel called to keep its roots alive.
Surya was also known to be Hanuman’s teacher. Hanuman is a very important character in the epic Ramayana. Here is a sweet story from ‘Yoga Mythology, 64 asanas and their meaning’ by Devdutt Pattanaik:
“As a child, Hanuman was so strong that he jumped to the sky to eat the rising sun, thinking it was a golden fruit. When he grew up, he wanted to learn everything about the world, and he asked hi mother how he could achieve this. His mother pointed to the sky and said that the sun sees everything and maybe he should talk to him. Hanuman went to Surya and said he wanted to learn everything that the sun god saw and everything that he had observed of the world. Surya, however, said that he had no time teach, since he travelled all day and rested all night; he would not be able to pause even for a moment for Hanuman. So Hanuman decided to ride in front of the sun’s chariot each day so that Surya could teach him while they were traveling. The sun god warned that his glare would be unbearable, and the pain and the heat would be intorelable. Hanuman replied that it did not matter, for knowledge cannot come without suffering; one must work hard to acquire it. Impressed by his determination, Surya agreed an that is how Hanuman was educated. He spent thousands of years staring at the sun from sunrise to sunset, listening to everything that the sun had to say. Immersed in knowledge, he realized his divine potential. He transformed from Hanuman the monkey, with finite knowledge and strength, to Hanuman the god, with infinite wisdom and power. HE thanked his teacher and expressed gratitude by designing the Surya Namaskar.”
This is what having a dedicated practice is. We seek out a teacher, or a lineage that speaks to our heart. Once we find it, we dedicate our time, hearts, minds and bodies to it. The path is not always easy, sometimes things arise that are unpleasant, but we show up. The practice eventually starts to open us up from within, giving us so much more then the initial effort put in, we transform, like Hanuman, into a stronger, infinite, rooted Self.
“Within the Upanishads, Surya or the Sun God, revels that in us - and in everything around us - is the divine potential (Brahman) to expand the mind and realize infinity.”