From our childhood, we all have seen elders performing salutations and offerings to Sun. Even the schools and institutions are promoting Surya namaskar to be a healthy practice. Matras and Slokhas chanted along. Why Sun Salutation? Like every other tradition, does this too have a health significance? In this modernizing era, not just scientists but even the public want to know about the scientific reason behind sun salutation benefits.
What are the Customs of Saluting the Sun and Why?
Sun Salutation majorly includes Surya Namaskar and other traditions. As I am more similar to Surya Arghyam, I will be talking majorly about that. In Hindu tradition, Sun represents Surya ( Deva or God) in Hindu Scriptures. Sun God or Surya is signifying to be the core of Universal Consciousness. We believe Him to be the materialistic creator of the planet Earth. Why special on Sunday? Sunday is for Lord Surya in Vedas and Scriptures.
The spiritual significance of the worship of the Sun God has been in practice for many centuries. Surya Arghya is one of the important ones. How to do Surya Arghyam? Preferably at the dawn, within one hour of Sunrise, we make offerings to Sun. Take a relaxing bath in tepid water. One takes a copper vessel filled with water and flowers. And then pours it slowly reciting Surya Mantra 11 times. There are numerous benefits of sun salutation, one being it activates the energy points of our body.
Health Benefits of Sun Salutation
Surya Namaskar is also a very famous practice. It is taking a lead among the youth. And it promotes blood circulation throughout the body and also helps in Vitamin D absorption. It is also considered to be a yogic practice.
All health practices are associated with religious beliefs. Why can’t we promote the benefits of sun salutation as just health practices rather than traditional rituals? Why is there an emphasis on Arghya and other traditional beliefs associated with Sun? Well, when one portrays a health practice as an ancient religious tradition, the reach is better. People’s devotion towards god is more than towards their own health. This strong belief is in accordance with promoting health practices by Preachers in Ancient India.
What are the Benefits of Sun Salutation?
Most of us know the health benefits of Sunlight. Brushing up, it is the major source of Vitamin D. How is Vitamin D important for our body? Vitamin D is essential for bone and muscle development in human beings. Specifically, Vitamin D3 is essential for digestive processes. Vitamin D3 in the digestive tracts can facilitate better absorption of Calcium and Phosphorous.
How Sunlight helps us absorb Vitamin D from Sunlight? Talking about the rays in Sunlight, Sunlight comprises of different rays like rays-UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. Of which UV-B is the most helpful for our health. When these rays strike our body, the chemical 7-dihydro cholesterol in the skin synthesizes into Vitamin D3 by certain chemical and biological processes. This Vitamin gets absorbed in our bloodstream and promotes well-being.
But why preferably at dawn? Exposure of our body to sunlight in the early morning would influence sufficient synthesis of vitamin D to our body. Exposure to sunlight during noon means exposure of skin to the scorching hot sun. There is a hazard of skin burn. Also, the possibility of Skin cancer increases when exposing skin to such intense sunlight. These are some of the benefits of sun salutation.