Sun Salute Mantras

Surya Namaskar II heading

Here is a neat podcast I made for the Summer Solstice – it is the chant that (possibly) inspired the invention of Sun Salutes. (This is my opinion only, but it does feel pretty good to chant this chant along with the “classical” Surya Namaskar. And, in the classical sun salute, there is the same amount of movements as there are parts to the chant. )

The chant goes like this:

HRAM-HREEM-HROOM-HRAIM-HRAUM-HRAHA…HRAM HREEM HROOM HRAIM HRAUM HRAHA

(it’s just the same 6 syllables twice)

These 6 syllables are the bij (seed) mantras of the 12 names of Surya, or the sun, in long form of this chant.  What is a seed syllable? According to Georg Feuerstein they are known as seed mantras…

“…because they are the sonic seeds planted in the body-mind from which higher consciousness or awareness can sprout in a properly prepared Yoga practioner.  Such sacred germinal sounds play an important role in Tantric ritual but have been known and used since Vedic times.  They are not meaningless but are sonic representations of particular deities or other subtle realities. [1]”

So, in creating the bija mantra with our body through sound we, in a sense, align ourselves with the vibration of the idea or energy they represent.  It’s about “resonance.”

Devanagari Script of Surya’s 12 names (From Wikipedia)

The 6 syllables above are the sonic distillation of the following 12 names of Surya; notice the suffix –aya and the word namah.  I’m not great with my Sanskrit grammar yet so I’m not clear on what -aya  means, but namah means “hail to” or “Salutations to,” therefore: Sun Salutation! 

  • Om Mitrayanamah – HRAM
  • Om Ravayenamah – HREEM
  • Om Suryayanamah  – HROOM
  • Om Bhanavenamah  – HRAIM
  • Om Khagayanamah – HRAM
  • Om Pooshnenamah  – HRAHA
  • Om Hiranyagarbhayanamah  – HRAM
  • Om Mareechayenamah  – HREEM
  • Om Adityayanamah – HROOM
  • Om Savitrenamah  – HRAIM
  • Om Bhaskarayanamah – HRAHA
  • Om Arkhayanamah  – HRAUM
  • Om Bhaskarayanamah  – HRAHA

The following translation is adapted from the 12 names of Surya in from Shiva Rea’s training manual, Embodying the Flow – The Art of Teaching Vinyasa Flow (2011) [2] 

  • Mitraya/HRAM – Friend of All
  • Ravaye/HREEM – Shining one
  • Suryaya/HROOM – Source of Creation
  • Om Bhanave/HRAIM – One who Illuminates
  • Om Khagaya/HRAUM – Moves through sky
  • Om Pooshne/HRAHA – Giver of Strength and Nourishment
  • Om Hiranyagarbha/HRAM – One who is the Golden Womb (also a name for Bramha in his role at the beginning of creation
  • Om Mareechay/HREEM –  Rays of the Sun
  • Om Adityayanamah – HROOM – One who is The Infinite Cosmic Mother
  • Om Savitrenamah  – HRAIM – The Rising Sun (“Rouser” or Vivifyer)
  • Om Arkhayanamah  – HRAUM – The One who is the Source of Life Energy
  • Om Bhaskarayanamah – HRAHA – The One who leads to Enlightenment

So, you might see how it feels to listen to the bija mantras while you complete each step of the Sun Salute given in part 2 of this podcast.  (The beat I give in this mantra-cast should match up to the speed of part 2 if you’re inclined to put them together) Then, try chanting along or chanting yourself.

Or, try chanting one bija sound before each of 12 salutes. If any of the names of the sun resonates with you, meditate on that meaning in your mind, putting special emphasis as you create this energy’s sonic form.

This shows the sequence with bent knee lunge and ashtapranam ("inch-worm") variations.  It is from: http://siddharthssinha.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html

This is one of the most beautiful things about yoga – you are practicing creating a physical expression of the divine, or of the energy you wish to embody.  Enjoy the practice, and happy Solstice!

And, as always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me or visit one of my public classes.

[1] The Path of Yoga (Google eBook) (2011) Georg FeuersteinShambhala Publications; ch 2. 

[2] Embodying the Flow – The Art of Teaching Vinyasa Flow (2011) Shiva Rea and Special Guests; pg 30.