Classical Yoga: Surya Kriya and Surya Shakti
Isha seeks to bring back classical yoga in its purest form – not studio yoga, not book yoga or the various innovations that are brought in around the world without an understanding of the basic principles – but proper classical yoga, which is a phenomenally powerful science. It is a system that is precisely and meticulously put together as a means of reaching higher dimensions.
Last week in the Classical Yoga series, we looked at Angamardana, a unique system of yoga that strengthens the physical and energy systems. This week, we examine ways of aligning our systems with the Sun, the source of the planet’s energy.
The earth and the moon are significant in the way they affect life, but the sun is the source of all energy. Sadhguru tells us: “If the sun’s rays do not fall upon this planet, there is no possibility of life, it’s finished. If the sun disappears right now, in a few hours’ time, everything will turn into solid ice. All the oceans, as well as your blood, will turn into solid ice. Solar energy is fundamental even within your body. Your body is maintaining a certain temperature; the immediate mechanism may be something else but essentially, all that generates heat upon this planet – whether in the form of life or in the form of inanimate material – all of it is solar energy, finding its expression in so many different ways.”
The basis of all spiritual sadhana which is physical in nature is to get us in sync with the cycles of nature. Sadhguru says, “If you are in tune with the cycles of the sun, then physical health, wellbeing, vitality, energy, these things you don’t have to bother about – they are just there with you.”
One solar cycle is about twelve-and-a-quarter years. If our physiological cycles run in sync with the sun’s cycles, physical health will be great, mental balance will be perfect, and life will happen effortlessly. So, how are we to get in tune with the sun so that our cycles run in twelve-year cycles, not less?
Sadhguru talks of three processes to align with the sun, the most profound being Surya Kriya. Placing them in context, Sadhguru calls the widely practised Surya Namaskar a “country cousin” of Surya Kriya, while yet another process called Surya Shakti would be a “far-off relative.” He elaborates: “If you want to just use this system as a physical culture to become physically strong, you do Surya Shakti. If you want to be physically fit, you want to have aerobic exercise and you want your heart strong, but you also want to have a spiritual element in it, you do Surya Namaskar. But if you want a strong spiritual process in the physical process that you are doing, then you do Surya Kriya.”
Surya Kriya is the fundamental practice and a powerful process of activating the sun within us. This is a refined process that needs enormous attention in terms of the geometry of the body. Surya Namaskar evolved out of Surya Kriya. Comparing the two, Sadhguru says, “Surya Namaskar is largely a way of saluting the sun, bringing balance between Ida and Pingala. It also activates samath prana which is the manifestation of the sun’s energy in the body. But Surya Kriya has more spiritual intentions and more powerful connotations attached to it which need to be taught carefully and learnt with a certain level of involvement. It is very important that it is practiced with care because anything that is powerful has to be handled properly; otherwise, it will not be safe to handle them.”
Editor’s Note: Isha Hatha Yoga programs are an extensive exploration of classical hatha yoga, which revive various dimensions of this ancient science that are largely absent in the world today. These programs offer an unparalleled opportunity to explore Upa-yoga, Angamardana, Surya Kriya, Surya Shakti, Yogasanas and Bhuta Shuddhi, among other potent yogic practices.