Ha Tha and sun salutation
The first verse of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (one of the main texts of yoga) is, as you find in all the ancient texts, a showing of reverence to the god in which the knowledge has been handed down from. In this case, Adinatha or in another name Shiva. The Gheranda Samhita’s first verse is almost the same. This shows that the writer’s of each are from the same school and maybe even the same person.
Showing respect to your teachers is a good first lesson to take from this verse. Showing respect is a form of letting go of the ego, a letting go of the knowledge being yours. It gives energy to the knowledge and lets it grow and be set on fire inside the aspirant.
Ha and Tha (pronounced like taa, but with an aspirated th. It still has the t sound but then has a sound as if you were saying ha.)
Ha is the sun and Tha is the moon. This is the union that yoga is describing. The left main energy channel (nadi) of the body is Ida or the lunar channel. The right is Pingala or the solar channel. When these are both balanced at sun rise and sun set, sushumna nadi or the central channel is open. All yogic texts, expound about this very thing using different words for the sun and the moon detailing different meanings to the sentences that they are used in. It is kind of like the 12 names of the sun. Surya is the most well known. There are only ever 12 steps to a sun salutation because of each of the 12 names of the sun identify with each of the steps within the salutation. Each name is the name of the sun within a different sign of the zodiac. In each sign the sun has a different mood or personality. This shows the link between Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) and Yoga. They are both part of the same gorgeous wisdom that comes from the vedas.
The sunrise or sunset is also the only appropriate time to do a Hatha Yoga practice due to the nostrils being balanced equally and sushumna being open at this time. If practice was to be done at another time when only one nostril is open, that energy channel is dominant. You can imagine how the energy will flow at that time. it will create an imbalance in the energy by creating flow solely through that open nadi. There will be more written later about the nadis and this very subject.
There is so much wisdom hid within ever verse of ever shastra (ancient text). It is only thru a true teacher and ones own true practice that one will learn and grow from the teachings that are to be discovered.
So you see in the name Hatha Yoga that it is an energy science. The basis of a science of enlightenment.
Only when we take off the lenses of how we see can we truly learn and experience something new.
The 12 steps to a sun salutation are about the sun passing through the rasis or constellations that gives the change of personality and the 12 names.
The names of the sun are as follows with its personality in each as well.
Mitra : Meaning The Friend The Sun when he moves into Aries, where he is exalted and therefore at his most generous and friendly
Ravi Meaning The Radiant In Taurus (the feminine home of Venus) the sun exhibits his brilliant beauty
Surya Meaning The Giver of Beauty In Gemini the Sun concentrates on making people beautiful so they may enjoy one another
Bhanu Meaning The Catalyst of Emotion In Cancer (the 4th sign, feminine home of the emotional Moon) the Sun becomes the spark which ignites deep emotion
Khaga Meaning the Awesome In Leo (the Sun’s own sign) the Sun becomes royal and kingly, an object of awe and reverence
Pushna Meaning the Nourisher In Virgo (the 6th sign) the Sun destroys disease and nourishes health
Hiranya Garba Meaning the All-Inclusive In Libra (the 7th sign) the Sun illuminates our universal relationship to all beings
Marica Meaning the Destroyer of Darkness The 8th sign, Scorpio, is a place shrouded in mystery. Here, the Sun destroys darkness.
Aditya Meaning the Illuminator of the Way The 9th sign, Sagittarius, is the source of moral fortune. Here the Sun illuminates the correct path.
Savitra Meaning theThe Arouser Capricorn is the 10th sign of the zodiac, which is equivalent to the 10th House, which represents noon. Here the Sun wakes us and arouses our external impulses
Arka Meaning the Flash of Warmth In Aquarius (11th sign) the Sun flashes warmth to the world
Bhaskara Meaning the Liberator In Pisces (12th sign) the Sun illuminates the spiritual knowledge that leads to liberation
The mantras that are repeated for one set of suryanamaskar (12 sets total) are:
Om Mitraay Namah!
Om Raveye Namah!
Om Suryaya Namah!
Om Bhanave Namah!
Om Khagaya Namah!
Om Pushne Namah!
Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namah!
Om Marichaye Namah!
Om Adityaya Namah!
Om Savitre Namah!
Om Arkaya Namah!
Om Bhaskaraya Namah!