Sunday, January 18, 2015

Five Steps to Sun Inspired Yoga

https://twitter.com/NaturePicturez/status/646708288315256832/photo/1


"Some view Sun Worship as a pagan and primitive thing. However, to love, admire and be grateful to the sun, the gorgeous sunrise, beautiful sunsets and the midday sun that warms the soul and greens the earth, the light and warmth it provides, is to be grateful to the Universe of which the Sun is a shining part that has produced all life. Loving and being grateful to the sun is far better than worshiping it.
Viewed in this light, it is a modern and scientific form of spirituality, albeit it has been with joyous and successful human civilizations since the beginning of time. It destroys darkness and is therefore detested by forces of Darkness. Its transient absence produces depression and its presence love, truth and joy.  Without the Sun life is not possible. Adopting the sun inspired yoga does not imply giving up any existing spiritual beliefs. it does not also add any new ones except for the fact that one expresses gratefulness to the worthy and beautiful in the universe and nature openly while enhancing the benefits it provides."
"If the only prayer you ever said was thank you, that would be enough"  Master Eckhart
" The breath of life is in the sun.", Khalil Gibran

"Yoga is an ancient Sanskrit word.  Since the term was invented a few thousand years ago, a lot of water has passed under the bridge and many new meanings having been given to it. Although some of the original yoga (not all) were associated with religion, modern techniques need not necessarily be associated with any. The ancient text by the father of yoga - Patanjali makes no reference to any religion and does not use any existing name for the Almighty, defining him as the Supreme being with infinite knowledge. The simplest way to understand yoga in the modern context is any technique or practice to improve mind, body and soul and making us more deserving for yet greater blessings from all of the universe that nourishes us every instant of our existence." Quoted from an early post by author
The various yoga practices as originating in eastern philosophy are numerous. Some involve physical exercises, currently the most popular ones.; many are connected with breathing methodologies, and the comprehensive ones that go beyond into the philosophy of life and living. The physical yoga exercises so emphasized in recent times constitute an eighth part of yoga (The third part) as described by Patanjali. Breathing methodologies (the fourth part) contribute another eighth part. Following all eight parts of the yoga is something for the most advanced of yogis only i.e only a few that reach sainthood. 

This note describes a modern scientific form of Yoga and worship that includes aspects from all the eight parts that can be undertaken by any modern human to improve life in  a huge manner very simply. It will  make wondrous contributions to your own personal life and even help you contribute towards reversing adverse climate changes taking place in the world..

Leading ancient civilizations including ancient Aryans, Armenians, Pharaoh Akhenaton, Romans, Incas and others have worshiped the Sun and built great temples and civilizations in this worship, but how are we to view Sun Worship in the modern scientific age? Modern humans enamored by physical sciences view the sun merely as a heavenly object. However, many scientists including this author believe that there is much more to the universe than just the physical universe that we can observe or the so called ghostly dark matter that we can merely guess at. We do not fully understand the unknown mysterious side of the universe.

Many believe that the universe as a whole has a consciousness, intelligence and power that is infinite, our own being only an infinitesimally small part of it, held apart by our own egos, desires and limited understanding. Any conscious practice followed to achieve greater unity with universal consciousness is yoga. The most visible symbol of Universal Power on our planet is the Sun and hence the present yoga, named here as Sun Inspired Yoga ( Surya Prerit Yoga in Sanskrit) is described in the following five steps:

1 Greeting the Sun: 

The first time a human sees the Sun every day after getting up or while going to work, greeting it and thanking it is a way to express thankfulness to the universe that has given us life. However, do not look at the sun directly with eyes open. That may harm. Look downwards with eyelids down. If you are familiar with the eastern namaste gesture, then doing that while briefly bowing to the sun is sufficient.  This author has done that for more than forty years. For those who wish a more elaborate greeting there is an ancient yoga called – Surya Namaskar that may be searched on Google. Several links would be found including Youtube videos e.g.see 

Follow this with 15 minutes to 30 minutes of physical exercise. If you do not know yoga asanas then just a brisk walk followed by some bending exercises will do.
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for details see: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3022611/Sun-worship-at-summer-solstice.html

2. Honoring the Sun by planting trees: 

The rays of the sun bring life and blessing to all life forms on the planet everyday. However, when these rays fall on barren, arid and desert lands that lack moisture, then these rays are reflected back or partially wasted. Covering the soil with concrete chokes mother earth but planting a tree on it adds life to it. If trees are planted on the same land and assisted by care and watering for the first two or three years, they develop deep roots and can survive on their own later. Everyday of their lives, trees absorb the sun's ray converting it into useful bio matter, absorbing carbon emissions and releasing life giving oxygen. Some scientists, including this author believe that trees help stabilize climate extremes and the reduction of trees and forests on land have contributed to such extremes ( see here). Trees are also a great source of food that includes their fruits and nuts as well as foliage of some trees such as the white mulberry (read this) and drumstick tree (read here). With increasing population on the planet, whenever trees are planted, the first choice should be food trees. A tree adds many blessing to the life of the one who planted it ( read here). During times of the year when it is neither too hot nor too cold do try and enjoy picnics in the open wild countryside in sunshine on Sundays, the special day of the sun. It is a wonderful idea to combine such picnics with planting useful trees that can be provided with some care in subsequent picnics. This idea of combining picnics with planting trees comes from a children's story book.

A Person who has decided to bring Sun Yoga into his life must plant a least one tree, preferably more, every year of their adult lives, beginning with areas around their homes and then even venturing out into the city and countryside. A very useful aid in this direction is to plant trees in indoor pots and enjoy them for a couple of years before transferring them into ground at a stage when they are too big for the pot and nurturing them for a couple more years outdoors too - from the crib to the wide world in a manner of speaking. Trees are an adornment of Mother Earth, the only life giving daughter of the Sun from amongst several daughters.


3. Honoring the Sun with a sustainable life style

Do try and avoid wasteful use of the Earth's resources. Recycle whatever you can. Kitchen waste and garden leaves are easily composted. News papers cut is squares can replace paper napkins and drying clothes in the sun saves electricity.  You might try learning from an Asian how to clean with water after defecation instead of toilet paper. It is far cleaner once you learn the technique and saves use of paper.Read more about it in humorous note here
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/08/keep-it-clean-down-under.html

Using plastic Christmas trees saves trees. Kitchen cloths can be cut out of torn clothes and so on. Modern lives need electricity for their living. While this may come from burning fossil fuels or dangerous nuclear energy it can also come directly from the sun through solar photo voltaic. A Sun yogi must try to install at least some of a Solar PV in his home at the first available opportunity to meet part or all of their electricity needs. If their city allows linking to the grid and getting the benefit of feeding the grid, all the more better. If not, they must in the very least, campaign with their governments for that policy in any forum they have access to.

An important way to lead a more sustainable life is to minimize or avoid the use of food that perpetuates violence to other life forms. This implies preferring a vegetarian or Lovegan Diet to one with meat. There are very many posts on foods in this blog if the interested reader searches through (read here). However, we do not recommend a vegan diet that is the other extreme where even milk products and eggs are avoided but rather strive for the keeping of cows and hens in a more humane manner on farms. There is a post on Farmer Joe in this blog that describes a way in which that might be done. The source of all food is the Sun. Even water came later as plant cells (cyano bacteria) produced oxygen and that combined with early hydrogen, the primal gas to produce water. Therefore, a use of such a gift from the sun that is not wasteful is to honor and respect this gift and qualifies us to receive more and more of it.

4. Emulating the Sun

Watch how disciplined the Sun is in following its timing and course for billions of years every day. Humans may learn from this by bringing order and discipline in their own lives, by being true to their word, being punctual and well ordered in their actions. Watch also how the sun serves all life without expecting anything in return. A human may attempt to do just a little of that by helping those more vulnerable - plants, animals and other vulnerable humans such as the very poor, children and the aged according to opportunity and abilities. Just in case you have been influenced by authors like Ayn Rand and believe that welfare of the poor and vulnerable is not a good idea, just ask yourself one question - Would you too like that no one cares when you are in need of care? Remember one may get from the Universe what one puts into it or in the very least believes putting into it. This practice helps to increase Love, Truth and Simplicity in life along with love of beauty and laughter, so necessary to escape the evil or mundane and evolve to states of bliss instead. If you cannot find the time to do a little good deed on weekdays then do one on Sundays at least, the special day dedicated to the Sun from the beginning of human civilization.

A very powerful way to help the poor is to speak, write and campaign for the rights of the poor and prevent exploitation by the powerful through unfair laws and practices. These latter are leading to increasing inequalities in the world leading some to homelessness. While the few wealthy on the planet enjoy numerous homes and properties, many of the poor persons around the world are forced out of their homes in the name of development needs by occupying their ancestral lands and homes. While some wealth inequality is natural as are the different sizes of trees in a forest, the current ones are obscene with one percent of the worlds population owning almost as much wealth as the rest of the 99 percent.

The reader may like to look up an earlier post on - entropy yoga - for more details of this step. The present yoga includes and goes beyond entropy yoga in a direction that includes the inspiration from the Sun and does not alter or contradict anything of entropy yoga. While entropy yoga stresses on developing order and discipline in speech, thought and actions yet another yoga - The Kriya Yoga as illustrated by Baba Haidkhan, a Himalayan Mystic, stresses on other aspects such as the incorporation of love, truth and simplicity in one's life along with love of beauty and laughter, all marks of a sunny personality, and worship of the Almighty through love. While the original Kriya yoga as described by the father of yoga - Patanjali - and its contemporary elaboration by Baba Haidakhan are generic in the sense that they permit freedom to choose the form of worship, inspiration and devotion, the present Sun Inspiration Yoga concerns specifically the drawing of divine inspiration from the Sun while also honoring scientific sensibilities and the needs of the modern age.


5. The Sun Meditation

Practicing twenty minutes of mindful breathing every day facing the sun and exposed to the rays of the sun is an immensely beneficial exercise. However do not stare at the sun close your eyes and keep a downward glance to protect your eyes and do not continue to sit in the sun if it becomes too hot and uncomfortable.. This yoga may be done outdoors if the weather permits or indoors facing a window through which the rays of the sun come through. Expose your face and as much skin as possible to the sunshine at a time and season when the rays are pleasant rather than too hot and hurt. Early summer mornings or the winter sun are great. Wear the minimum necessary clothing as permitted by the weather so as to get maximum benefit of sun on skin. Modern humans are missing sunshine because of new life styles. If the day is cloudy, you can do the yoga indoors facing the expected direction of the sun.

You may read about the benefits of sunshine in an older post in this blog. More about mindful breathing is also described in an older post here. The best position to practice this yoga is to sit cross legged with the back and head straight. If you find it difficult to keep your back straight, a back rest may be used. Alternatively, it can be practiced sitting in a chair too. In place of mindful breathing, if one prefers, one may repeat the exercise while listening to sacred music or mantra. You may choose any sacred music that touches your heart. The favorites of this author are the chants of the Gayatri Mantra by Vedic Aryan Monks or the musical chants of - Om Mani Padme Hum - by Tibetan Monks. In case you know of other inspiring pieces available for listening and downloading free on the net do let us know by posting a link to it in the comments. it will be appreciated. The sacred piece may be from any religion just as long as it delights the heart and soul because the sacred worship of future is beyond science and religions. With sunshine it is not just the flowers that blossom, all life does.

"If you read the five steps mentioned here and have begun pursuing them and made some progress on all five steps, that does not necessarily make you a sun worshiper but it definitely makes you a new age yogi that receives blessings from one of the brightest parts of the universe in additions to the blessings all life receives from all of the universe irrespective of their pursuits. May the Sun, the brightest visible symbol of divinity for those on earth brighten your life and banish any obstacles that arise in your journey through life."

A Brief Summary:

Very briefly the five steps may be summarised as:

1. Greet the sun in love and gratefulness daily
2. Plant in the very least a couple of trees every year of your active life
3. Live simply while avoiding waste
4. Enhance love, truth, compassion, discipline and order in your life
5. Practice twenty minutes of meditation daily, whenever possible and pleasant, in sunshine.


The Sunshine Group of Ten

While it is good to pursue one’s spiritual development independently, many persons find it easier to do it as a group. Certainly, the combined activities of the group helps to keep one on track rather than get distracted by much else of the world that tends to distract us all. Any individual may create such a group by first adopting a group spiritual philosophy. If the philosophy of Sun Inspired Yoga is adopted, then one may invite other interested friends to joint meditation sessions, discussion, listening to inspirational music, picnics in good weather combined with tree planting in the countryside and forests etc. It would be best to keep the group to less than ten i.e. nine other persons aside from the group founder. Other family members such as as spouses and kids would also be regarded as family members of the ten who shall most certainly join in the picnics etc. The leader or co-coordinator may try and maintain a file/ ring binder with names, addresses and numbers etc. of group members as well as reading material as the leader/founder/Master of the group. One could begin by keeping a color print of this page (from Kinko’s or someone like that) and then add more prints of the links therein gradually. A group aside from their spiritual activity also becomes a social support group in times of need, an extended family blessed by the Sun. Each member of the group may become a co-coordinator in their own right and launch another group of his or her own so as to be a part of two groups. Such a group shall be the Sunshine Group of Ten. If you do create such a group and share the news here as a comment to this post, that would be wonderful and may help connect you with other such groups elsewhere.


The Novella, "Mystic and the Blossoms" available at Amazon and other places is the story of a  Mystic who is a Surya Inspired Yogi or Sun Inspired Yogi. Aside from the fascinating story of a village, the novella includes the spiritual philosophy associated around this yoga for an interested reader, except that instead of solar PV it has use of other forms of solar energy because solar PV was not an economical thing when the first edition of the novella was published in 1992 and the story was written as early as 1984. The same spiritual philosophy is contained in the various spiritually related posts of this blog.

NOTE: After writing this post, this blogger Googled for Sun Yoga and found that others have also used the term differently including at http://sunyoga.com. The differences with earlier definitions are in the details and emphasis. The present description emphasizes more on life style steps and less on physical exercises called Asanas and more on mindful breathing rather than breath regulation called Pranayama. To distinguish the present version, the name of the yoga has now been updated to Sun Inspired Yoga

A subsequent googling for "Sun Yoga" showed that sun yoga mats are also available. They appear to be good mats although rather than using fancy design certain plain colors are best as described in an earlier post on entropy yoga mats. Just shows how popular the subject has become!

UPDATE JANUARY 23, 2015: My efforts at campaigning for a rooftop solar PV policy in India has finally borne fruit today as described here: http://steamcenter.blogspot.in/2015/01/a-new-rooftop-solar-pv-policy-for-india.html

UPDATE FEBRUARY 20, 2015: For special sun inspired yoga apparel by Reebok see
http://milled.com/Reebok/9Rjg8BUqYR9J5Hn-

UPDATE MARCH 5, 2015:  A wonderful site for sunshine group members to check out:
http://sunfriend.com/

5 comments:

Ashok said...

Since I posted this a couple of days ago, the post has generated interest (as seen from stats) and therefore I have added more information and links while also a slight change in nomenclature from simply Sun Yoga to Sun Inspired Yoga

Vinod Khurana said...

Dear Ashok ji,
A wonderful and very informative write up. Thank you very much indeed.

Ashok said...

My Pleasure Vinod. Hope it has made you a Sun Yogi :)

Rebb said...

Ashok, This is great, I can see. I will come back to this later when I have time to read it more slowly.

Ashok said...

Thanks Rebb, do come back and also contribute your thoughts to it. As before it seems we have shared thoughts at about the same time.