Suryia Namaskar & the Zodiac

In my own sadhanna (spiritual practice) I do the classical hatha yoga set of twelve sun salutations (suryia namaskar series), but intuitively feel that these must be linked to the twelve zodiac signs also.  Here's an explanation of Suryia Namaskar

Here are some images from internet linking them to the chakras:

And here are the mantras that normally go with each pose:

David Frawley has a chapter in his book Ayurvedic Astrology:  Self-Healing Through the Stars entitled "The Chakras and Yogic Astrology".  Here the assignment of chakras to planets and signs relates to the Sun as the solar nadi (pingala).  It's important to remember there are many meanings of Suryia, the Sun, so context is important.  Here is his illustration:

From David Frawley's book Ayurvedic Astrology

Notice that these chakras do not align or have anything to do with the ones in Suryia namaskar (above images).  In Suryia namaskar, we acknowledge the Sun as a representation of the Higher Self consciousness, while the esoteric meaning of the zodiac in Vedic astrology has more to do with the sacred number 13 that really represents the 7 chakras (6 days + 6 nights) - see my post on sacred geometry, name and number (TOC).  I'm not sure whether the two systems can work together or not.  They seem at odds with one another.  Then again, Vedic symbolism is holographic - the same appearing everywhere in different ways, so one must accept the unity in diversity that Life brings in the human experience!

An interesting re-interpretation

Instead of chanting the mantras for Suryia namaskar, I contemplated each pose as somehow representing the sign associated with the month that the Sun passes through.  This gave me some interesting ideas!  And insights into the houses and signs of the horoscope chart.  It makes sense to me.    I like to use the set given by Swami Visnu-Devananda as I think it is the original one:

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  1. The first one, the standing pose with hands over the heart in Namaste, would be Aries and the first house - the "I" standing tall.
  2. Next Taurus with the hands above the head like horns of the bull, the second house.
  3. Next Gemini looking at 2 legs representing the twin nadis (same as Ashwini), and the 3rd house.
  4. Next left leg steps forward (the feminine/lunar side) representing the 4th house and Cancer.
  5. Next Leo the lion standing on all fours and the 5th house.
  6. Next the prostration pose that is the 6th house and the deeper meaning behind Virgo the virgin, symbol of purity (and associated with the throat chakra).
  7. Next Libra and the 7th house.  The head is looking up while the sun sets in the 7th so I'm thinking this could symbolize the beginning of the ascension phase represented by this second half of the chart.
  8. Scorpio and the 8th house, looking downward at hidden things below.
  9. Sagittarius with the right leg stepping forward and the 10th house, representing the masculine/solar aspect of ego asserting itself
  10. Capricorn and the 10th house.  I'm not sure how this one relates.
  11. Aquarius and 11th house in another back bending pose, jubilant and open to the world.
  12. Finally Pisces and the 12th in the resting pose.

So that's how I think Suryia Namaskar fits.  All this pulling and stretching of nadis does actually stimulate prana flow, same as some of the Taoist practices.  This changes the assignment of chakras somewhat compared to what David Frawley has given, but I think that's more a result of different philosophical models not fitting together being used in different contexts.  My point is that the chakras are the basis for all the models.

[note to myself:  Yoga Mala: The Seminal Treatise and Guide from the Living Master of Ashtanga ...
By Sri K. Pattabhi Jois]