“Like the sun, we are in a state of transformation.” Among the hum of chatter on Palolem Beach, (one of Goa’s iconically-perfect, palm-fringed beaches), my yoga teacher’s voice rings with a clarity and assurance. As she denotes, the world around me is in flux, from the folding red and orange glow of the Arabian sea, to the tumble of the shells under the ocean’s froth, and to the sinking sun behind the clouds.
Yoga, becoming popular with hippies in the 1960’s, inspired a movement which boosted the popularity of yoga practices in Goa, and there seemed no better place for me to consider the connection between yoga and the movement of the sun. Read on for Yoga in Goa: The Connection Between Sunsets and Yoga!
1. The Sun (Surya) as the Source of all Life
In Palolem, the pace of life is slow and unruffled, each day, I tune into the impact of the movement of the sun upon life. Here, people rise with the sun, fetching materials, preparing business, or digging into bhaji pao.
Dependent upon the pull of the moon and the sun upon the tides, they filter onto the beach throughout the day, and when the sun finally begins to set, the southside becomes a haven of meditation, yoga, and mindfulness. But why does the sunset bring such a desire for meditation and movement?
My teacher explains how, in Hinduism, one of the prominent religions in Goa, that the sun is revered as the physical and spiritual heart of the world, and the creator of all life. As an expression of gratitude for life and energy, practicing yoga before the setting sun magnifies our thankfulness for the process of life and light.
2. Sun Salutation: Saluting the Sun
As the name suggests, the Asana practice of the Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) literally “salutes” the sun, acknowledging its powers. We thank the sun for its energy and surrender to its forces.
3. Uninterrupted Meditation
Sunsets and sunrises are thought to be more conducive to creating a state of uninterrupted meditation, according to the Yoga Journal. This is because energetic pathways (nadis) of the body are supposedly linked to solar and lunar energy. The ida nadi is feminine energy and linked to the left nostril and the energy of the moon. Pingala nadi is masculine energy and linked to the right nostril and the energy of the sun.
4. Connection with the Universe
My connection to the universe seems heightened when performing yoga at sunset. All senses are tuned into the world around me, and I feel able to practice yoga with an expanded consciousness and tangible connection to the world around me.
5. Setting Intentions at a Time of Transition
As a time of transition, the moving sun sets the ideal surroundings for which to set intentions, an integral part of many yoga practices. It helps to set new goals for the future whilst the present practice inspires and nurtures growth.