For thousands of years the Sun has been honored as the physical and spiritual heart of our world.
My beautiful morning on top of Haleakala allowed me to see the Sun rising as the dawn of consciousness.
I now understand that this “outer” Sun can reflect a lightness of energy through your “inner” Sun.
Until this morning I understood the yoga pose Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) had incredible physical benefits and the use of them at the beginning of practice was a wonderful way to warm my body. I was not necessarily connected and mindfully engaged while practicing them.
As we journeyed our way to the top of the Haleakala Volcano, otherwise known as “The House of the Sun”, I was not prepared for the beauty that we were about to witness.
All I knew at that moment was that I was on a fun adventure with my daughter and if I was lucky it was going to be a clear morning and we would see a beautiful sunrise.
We arrived at the top of Haleakala about 5:00 a.m. with an expected sunrise of 5:55. At a little over 10,000 feet about sea level, 3,000 feet deep and 7.5 miles long this extraordinary spot is also a spectacular place to observe the moon and stars—if you are as lucky as we were and get a perfectly clear night/morning.
When we stepped out of the van into the coolness of the break before dawn, you could see Venus so clearly that it was as if you could almost reach out and touch it. Considering that Venus is named after the goddess of love and beauty….I found myself wanting to jump up and take some of Its energy with me for my journey….unfortunately I couldn’t quite reach her.
As the sun began to bestow life into this new day—the most beautiful, scenic phenomena of a blanket of clouds appeared before us. The clouds seemed to reach the end of earth.
The rainbow array of colors set the scene that one could only dream Heaven must look like.
At the sighting of the first sun ray, the vibrations of the Hawaiian chant/prayer that is sung at sunrise poured over everyone. This voice that came out of nowhere was wondrously powerful and felt like it could be heard for miles.
Everyone fell silent and still—in awe of what was happening.
The voice was coming from a woman that apparently sings there often. She continued singing non-stop until the full circle of the sun was made visible. When she stopped everyone turned to see where this beautiful voice was coming from and broke out into gratitude for the blessing of being present while she performed her worship.
That moment was a gift.
It made it so very clear to me why sunrise is one of the most spiritually favorable times of the day—in lots of different religions—and why it could be beneficial to have a daily morning practice. Until this experience I have always preferred practicing at night.
I have been in airplanes many times as the Sun was rising and setting—trust me when I tell you it is not the same as standing outside in the crisp, fresh air watching the Sun break dawn as if you are a part of what is going on. The world seemed still at the moment waiting for the emergence of the Sun to display her eternal cycle of rebirth.
I know this sounds dreamy and overdone—but it’s really not. It was simply magical, intensely spiritual and will forever give new meaning to my Sun Salutations.
Until that morning my Sun Salutations were used to physically awaken my body—after my experience on Haleakala, my Sun Salutation will never be just physical. They have now taken on a new life of their own.
Historically, Sun Salutations were practiced facing East, at sunrise to receive the healing energy of the Sun—I now understand the significance and the importance of this practice timing and direction.
According to yoga teachings, our bodies have both positive and negative energies flowing through them. Sun Salutations help equalize the energies streaming through all 7 Chakras.
Sun Salutations can be practiced vigorously in order to generate heat within your body and cleanse your body and mind or they can be practiced as a moving meditation. I do both—depending on what my body and mind need on that given day.
By actively and mindfully engaging my entire being in my Sun Salutations, I have set in motion an understanding of how to kindle my inner fire—with the intention to radiate love and happiness into the world. This has added a profound spiritual awareness to my practice.
Try performing your Sun Salutations with this sense of attention to add meaning and to increase your natural energy allowing the connection between your mind, body and spirit.
Sun Salutations are meant to celebrate that our souls are a source of light, just like the Sun.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photos: courtesy of the author