Pranamasana – The Prayer Pose
Pranamasana or the Prayer Pose is the starting pose for Surya Namaskara or the Sun Salutation poses. In Pranamasana, the palms are held together in the prayer pose. The word ‘Pranam’ has a Sanskrit root and it means ‘to pay respect’; and asana means a pose. Hence the name Pranamasana.
Pranamasana is a common gesture used in India and many eastern countries to show respect and a popular way to greet others especially elders, seniors, gurus and guests. In India, the word for greeting is “Namaste” which means that – I bow down to the Self in you. The Self or the Jiva is said to be located at the heart center. Hence the palms are brought together touching one’s own heart when bowing down and greeting others. This gesture with the hands is called Pranamasana.
How to do Pranamasana (The Prayer Pose)
- Stand erect with the feet held together.
- Bring the two hands together and the palms touching each other at the chest level. Look straight ahead.
- Breathe in normally. This will give a sense of relaxation.
- This asana is done in the beginning and end of the Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskara. A particular mantra is also chanted while it is practised as part of Sun Salutation. The Sun Salutation consists of 12 poses, each is done chanting a particular mantra for the Sun God.
Mantra chanted during the 1st pose: Om Mitraya Namaha
Mantra chanted during the 12th pose: Om Bhaskaraya Namaha
Benefits of Pranamasana (the Prayer Pose)
- Pranamasana is used as the most common form of greeting in India and many eastern countries.
- It forms the first and last asana of the Surya Namaskara series of poses.
- It creates a sense of relaxation and concentration for beginning the Surya Namaskara poses.