Beginner Yoga How To

5 Things Shiva Rea Teaches That Take Sun Salutes to the Next Level

Once you flow into the healing, spiritual side of this common practice, you won’t go back to basic Namaskars.

Dive into Sun Salutations with Shiva Rea and discover the sequences, mantras, and mudras that originally accompanied this simple yet powerful ancient practice. This six-week online course is all part of YJ’s year-long mentorship program, Master Class, which gives you access to 8 additional workshops led by world-renowned teachers. Learn more about what to expect, and sign up today!

1. She (literally) redefines Salutations

In her Master Class, Rea returns to the ancient, soulful nature of Namaskar, long lost in modern translation. (The root of nama means “to bow” and in some cases “not me.”) “The word ‘salutation’ does nothing for our hearts, but ‘namaskar’ in its origin is a very transformative experience. It’s something that helps you release the burden of your personal obsessions every day and just come back to the essence,” Rea says.

See also The Origin of Sun Salutations

2. She gives Surya Namaskar’s sister salutation the credit she deserves

Moon Salutations lead us into a lunar state, awakening receptivity and reflection. But unlike ubiquitous Sun Salutations, they typically only make classroom cameos during the occasional full moon. However, this practice is a necessary respite from yang culture—and even the general prevailing preference of sweaty practices over softer styles. In her Master Class, Rea will teach you the benefits and fundamentals of Chandra Namaskar so you can harmonize your efforts. “It changes the paradigm, because now we’re talking about a balance between action/activation and relaxation/regeneration,” Rea says.

3. She says mantras are the next big thing in movement meditation

Practicing or cueing Surya Namaskars from the perspective of structural alignment or breath is the norm. While those instructions are important, initiating movement through sound vibrations can deepen your meditative state, boost your energy, and harmonize your brainwaves and heart rhythm. “It’s refreshing for modern practitioners to experience the power of sound, because we’re on the vanguard of sound healing. Moving with mantra is really satisfying,” says Rea, who offers surya and bija mantras in Master Class. Plus, ancient yogis originally used mantras in their movement meditations and prostrations, so practicing them is another way to connect to yoga’s source.

4. Speaking of prostrations…Rea teaches us to submit to the joy of surrender

“Chaturanga is wonderful for strengthening, but when you bring your bhava [feeling] brain, your heart, and your belly to the earth and put your hands in prayer, it’s supportive and grounding. The thing that surprises people about prostrations, or dandavats, is the inner therapy that takes place. When you give your strength to the earth, it brings your inner and outer world together,” says Rea, who offers Prana Flow Pranams as a standalone lesson in Master Class.

See also Shiva Rea’s Summer Prostration Practice

5. In fact, she teaches even more than two types of Namaskars 

And they all serve different purposes, such as cultivating joy, immune system support, relaxation, and stress release, Rea says. In Master Class, once you cover Classical Surya Namaskars, Rea will share a few important evolutionary practices, including Hridaya Namaskar, which activates heart consciousness and spreads it throughout your whole body. But don’t expect to contain the benefits on your mat. Namaskars create a shift of consciousness, first forming within and then reverberating to the people, students, and world around you.

Inspired to learn more?
Join Shiva Rea’s six-week Master Class to go deeper in your Sun Salutations and integrate the benefits of meditation in your practice. Sign up now!