The sun salutation chant is an accompaniment to the surya namaskar series of 12 asanas. While the sun salutation as a series is not technically in the Hatha Yoga canon of poses, it is done quite often as a warm-up, cool-down, or integrated into a yoga practice session alone.
Step-by-Step Sun Salutation Chant
This is a rough outline of every pose and chant through one cycle of the sun salutation. It should be used for reference only, as the pronunciation of a chant along with that proper body pose for each asana should be taught by a yoga instructor.
- Pranamasan Begin in Mountain Pose, standing with feet together, spine straight, palms pressed together at the chest. Exhaling, chant Om mitraaya namaha (Salutations to the Friend of All).
- Hasta Uttanasana Arching your back (and in some versions, bringing the arms straight up overhead) inhale a full breath. Om ravaye namaha (Salutations to the Shining One).
- Pada Hastasana Bending over at the waist, extend the arms down to touch the toes. Exhale and Om suryaaya namaha (Salutations to he who induces activity).
- Ashwa-sanchalan-asan Extend the left or right foot backwards (you will alternate when the next sun salutation is done) into a deep lunge or Horse Pose. Inhale and chant Om bhaanve namaha (Salutations to he who illumines).
- Parvatasana Extend the other leg back and lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog Pose. Exhale with a Om khagaaya namaha (Salutations to one who moves through the sky).
- Ashtanga Namaskar Holding the breath, lower your arms keeping your body straight, also known as Plank position. The chant for this is Om pooshney namaha (Salutations to the giver of strength and nourishment).
- Bhujangasana Pushing up with your arms and keeping the legs straight, arch the back into Cobra pose. Inhale and chant Om hiranayagarbhaaya namah (Salutations to the Golden Cosmic Self).
- Parvatasana Exhale moving the hips back into Downward Facing Dog. Chant Om mareechibhyoh namaha (Salutations to the Rays of the Sun).
- Ashwa-sanchalan-asan Return the left or right leg (whichever was extended the first time) into the lunge. Chant Om adityaaya namaha (Salutations to Sun of Aditi, the Cosmic Mother) with the inhalation.
- Pada Hastana Exhale as you bring the other leg up, feet next to each other, so that you are bent at the hips. Chant Om savitre namaha (Salutations to the Stimulating power of the Sun).
- Hasta Uttanasana Inhale and bring the arms up, all the way overhead into a slight back bend. The chant that goes with this pose is Om arkaaya namaha (Salutations to he who is fit to be praised).
- Pranamasana Exhale and lower the arms back into namaste, keeping the full body in Mountain Pose. After you chant Om bhaaskaraaya namaha (Salutations to the one who leads to enlightenment) you are ready to begin the chant again, using the opposite leg.
Variations in the Sun Salutation
The sun salutation can be done either in a slow, meditative way or in a very quick and energetic series of movements. There are "seed" (bija) mantras that can be chanted for the initial six poses, then repeated for the final six:
- Om Hram
- Om Hrim
- Om Hroom
- Om Hraim
- Om Hraum
- Om Hrah
Even with the quick series of poses, the purpose of yoga is not to get out of breath, and it is recommended that you only do as many repetitions as you can do while maintaining a steady inhale-exhale cycle.
Concluding the Chant
There is one final sun salutation chant that can be said at the end of all of the repetitions, which is:
- Shree Chhaya Suvaryalaamba samet
- Shree Surya narayan
- Swaminey namah.
- Om namoh Narayanaay
This is only one example of several variations of the sun salutation chant which can be done. Remember, though, that there is no substitute for hands-on, personal instruction in an actual yoga class.