The word Hatha means, “Ha” means sun, “Tha” means moon. Without sun and moon, there is no Hatha Yoga. So, historically, because I am not a scholar, I do not know when they used this name for the first time as Namaskar or Surya Namaskar. But the practice, the practice, the way- it’s taught different ways in a few different places. I’m not talking about the distortions. I’m saying, consciously taught in different ways in a few different places for different purposes.
Within the ashram I think largely many people are practicing four different versions of Surya Namaskar. I practice a different version that makes it five. Largely, it’s called Surya Namaskar, because mainly to activate the solar plexus, to generate the heat in the system, to raise the samath prana or the solar heat in the system.
When we say solar, it is not just symbolic – I want you to understand, all heat that you experience on this planet is essentially from the sun, stored and released in many ways. All hydrocarbons have formed the way they have formed essentially because they are all sun-baked. If you take a piece of wood and burn it, it is only releasing the solar energy. If solar energy is taken away, the whole planet will freeze into solid ice. Research says in 18 hours time, all the oceans will become solid ice in 18 hours. If the sun vanishes right now, by day-after-tomorrow morning, everything will be solid ice, nothing will be liquid. So everything is run by solar power.
You may think we are generating power by thermal or by gas or by this – no everything is happening because of solar power. Only exception could be – I’m not sure about this, I would like to know the technicalities of it- could be the breaking of the atom. That is not solar, and that’s why it is considered the most effective and the most dangerous, because you are not using the normal powerhouse of the solar, of this system which is the sun.
So when we activate the sun in the system, the body begins to glow and shine, everything. If you have certain types of problems which manifest usually in the form of excess mucus in the system, not just in your nasal passages, all over the mucus levels can rise. One who is doing Surya Namaskar, for him, his glandular secretions and mucus levels will be very easily balanced, and in good shape. And this determines a lot of things about you not just your physical health. Your physical health, your psychological health, your spiritual possibility, everything is determined by this, depending upon how much of solar energy within you or in other words, how balanced are your secretions. If your glandular secretions are slightly imbalanced, it’s very hard even to sit here and listen, forget about meditating or doing something else. It’ll make you feel crazy, because chemistry will go wonky.
So this is one of the simplest and the most effective sadhanas to bring that balance. Now when we commence the Hatha Yoga school, we will start teaching a certain form of sun-related practice, very much like Surya Namaskar, but it’s called Surya Kriya because it involves a certain level of breath and other things.
Surya Kriya is an effort, and a wonderful effort to bring your system in synchronicity with the rest of the solar system. Surya namaskar, and there is one more called Surya Shakti, these are country cousins. Finer things if you tell people, not everybody will understand. So, you kind of make it, dumb it down a bit. If you bring a certain synchronicity with yourself and the larger body – this [self] is a smaller body, the larger body is the solar system. If these two things are together, your physical, psychological and material well-being will happen without effort. Everything that you do will happen well.
So, Surya Kriya is the practice. Surya namaskar is dumbed down a little bit. Surya Shakti further dumbed down, more for building muscle and physical culture. It’s very aerobic in nature. It’s a complete exercise. You don’t need any equipment. If you are in a hotel room, wherever you are, you do the necessary Surya Namaskar or Surya Shaktis, you will see you are completely fit