Sun Salutations are a fundamental series of poses in Yoga. Surya Namaskar (the Sanskrit word), means prayer to the sun, and for me is the confirmation of a basic trust in the world that the sun will rise everyday and we can count on that. We may take this fact for granted, but every time I do sun salutations I’m reminded of how important it is to feel this basic trust in something that never disappoints me.
Eric Erikson, one of the most prominent Psychologists of the 20th Century outlined the 7 developmental stages that we all go through in life. (* If you’re interested in knowing more about this you can Google Eric Erikson). The first stage is Basic Trust. If we are born into a family where we are nurtured and loved, we develop a basic sense of trust, starting with a trust in others. This leads us to trust ourselves, because when our caregivers take care of us, trust us and validate our feelings, we develop a basic sense of trust in ourselves and others. This basic trust makes it possible for us to make thoughtful, confident decisions in life, because we believe that our perceptions of how we see situations are accurate. This all leads us to the overall sense that there are good people in a good world where good things can happen to us.
There are times when we all feel hurt or betrayed by those that we trust. When that happens the world doesn’t feel like a friendly place. We search for someone or something that we can hold onto that is reassuring to help us regain our balance. Sometimes there’s someone who is available to help us, but I find it comforting to know that I also can turn to my yoga practice for help. In my mind Sun Salutations can be a daily reminder that we can always trust in the sun to rise, no matter what else is happening in our lives.