Asana Vinyasa Part I: The Tantric Origins of Surya Namaskara
with Christopher Tompkins & Shiva Rea

Course Overview

Asana Vinyasa Part I: The Tantric Origins of Surya Namaskara

Part 1 of a 3-Part Course with Christopher Tompkins and Shiva Rea

Take an extraordinary journey into your own yogic heritage.

Part I: The Tantric Origins of Sūrya Namaskāra
– The Place of Namaskāra in the Daily Ritual of Tantric Yoga
“One circles the Axis of the maṇḍala for the ritual of bowing to the directions. One should first recite a verse and sprinkle the water consecrated with mantras from a conch shell. Next one should lower to the earth through the postures natural to a dog, prostrating in the shape of a staff (daṇḍa-vat); Then one arises from the earth in an ecstatic state after making an offering to the mūrti (symbol of the divine).”
– Nāradīya Tantra, ca. 12th century; one of the Tantric sources named by Krishnamacharya for his 1930s Yoga revival

Each session features

  • a 75 minute darshana (study) session with Christopher, based on his Sanskrit translations from Tantric Source texts
  • a 20 minute movement meditation sadhana based upon the practices revealed in each session with Shiva Rea, global vinyasa teacher who has been dedicated to the revival of namaskar and prostration practice within yoga
Description of Part I.
The first part of our course will reveal the forgotten role of Surya Namaskara (‘Sun Prostrations’) in daily Tantric Yoga practice, one which is widely (and erroneously thought) to have been invented by Krishnamacharya and his students in the early 20th century.
Students are introduced to Namaskāra, the rite of bodily ‘Prostration,’ as originally taught in source Tantric texts (5th – 16th centuries, A.D.), wherein this rite comprises part of a beautiful, devotional ritual prescribed for initiated Householders and meant order to empower and bless their daily Yoga practice. Part of the preparatory ritual known as Pradakshina (‘circumambulation’ around a sanctified space) which included spontaneous devotional dancing, singing, and reciting poetry, Namaskāra was specifically considered a Yogic rite, contrary to what is being reported in recent scholarship.
Students will learn how and why Sūrya Namaskāra was performed by all initiated Tantrics as part of their daily Yoga Ritual, in a specific sequence (krama, vinyāsa) engaged at each of the 8 directions while circling around the central ‘Axis’, or power center, of a householder Mandala (Self-consecrated practice space).
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