Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits – Why is Surya Namaskar Good for you?
Sun salutation (Surya Namaskar) is an ancient Indian method of offering prayers to the rising Sun in the morning along with a series of physical postures with regulated breathing aiming at range of physical, mental and spiritual benefits.
Facing east, in the early hours of morning, one standing with serene mind offers prayer to Lord Sun (Surya in sanskrit) with Surya namaskar.
According to the Scriptures, if performed correctly, Surya namaskar does not strain or cause injury. If performed in the morning, it relieves stiffness, revitalizes the body, refreshes the mind and purifies subtle energy channels
Surya Namaskar Yoga benefits your every organ in the body including liver, stomach, intestines, heart, throat, chest, and legs.
Here are the 32 Surya Namaskar Yoga benefits
- Improves your mood and concentration, this benefit is similar to that which is achieved by exercise and relaxation techniques
- Adds a beautiful glow on your face
- Prevents hair greying, hair fall and dandruff, even improves the overall hair growth
- Surya Namaskar Yoga benefits for weight loss significantly –These asanas can do what months of dieting cannot.
- Helps in losing extra belly fat by stimulating sluggish glands like the thyroid gland.
- The most healthiest and natural way to be in proper shape as these asanas stretches the abdominal muscles
- Your body releases feel good chemicals which helps in removing the depression
- Overall General well being is accelerated thereby increasing the productivity and quality of life
- Boosts Your Mental Faculties
- Easy and better performance of mental functions
- Better performance of daily simple tasks involving dexterity and hand to eye coordination, to more elegant tasks like creativity and imagination.
- Increased sense of inspiration
- More keener mind
- Better functioning of the brain
- Enhanced memory
- Better functioning of the vital internal organs
- Decreases the intensity of symptoms of Alzheimers and other mental disorders.
- You start feeling more refreshed and exhilarated than when you started the asanas
- Boosts your positive energy
- Removes the negative energy trapped in your body
- Releases flush of energy
- Boosts the endurance power and reduces the feelings of anxiety, stress and restlessness
- Develops your intuitive ability and makes you more clear and focused.
- Helps keep your mind calm and body healthy
- Regulates and prevents the irregular menstrual cycles among women
- Improves the overall blood circulation
- Makes the body flexible
- Surya Namaskar is an excellent cardiovascular workout to improve the heart and lungs health
- Relieves the constipation
- Maintains the posture and body alignment
- Removes the lethargy and increases the alertness
- Excellent strengthening of the muscles of the back, hands. legs, ankles and hips
- The regular practice of the Surya Namaskar will have positive impact at the level of self confidence. These asanas result in the positive enhancement in the degree of self confidence.
Look after the root of the tree and the fragrant flowers and luscious fruits will grow by themselves. Look after the health of the body, and the fragrance of the mind and richness of the spirit will flow” – BKS Iyengar
Research Facts proving the Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits
Here are few research studies which support the Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits
- A study conducted in 2005 at a New Hampshire Psychiatric Hospital, which is an uncontrolled, descriptive type of study observed the effects of a single sun salutations yoga class on 113 inpatients. All these patients participated in this study are with mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia. After the yoga sessions, the average levels of tension, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and fatigue reduced significantly.
- Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn and few reputed scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles conducted a study and found that 12 minutes of daily Surya Namaskar Yoga for eight weeks significantly showed improvements in stress-induced aging.
- Another German research study published in 2005 conducted among two groups, (yoga group and control group). The Yoga group included 24 women who think themselves as “emotionally distressed” participated in a two 90-minute yoga sessions daily for a week for three months. After completion of the three months study, women in the yoga group reported marked improvements in the perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being. The findings of this study are the Depression scores in the yoga group improved by 50%, Anxiety scores by 30%, and Overall well-being scores improved by 65%. Initial symptoms of headache, back pain, and poor sleep quality also resolved much more often in the yoga group.
With regular practice, Surya Namaskar Yoga benefits by increasing your strength, flexibility, and vitality.
When you practice the Sun Salutations regularly, you will slowly start to notice some phenomenal benefits for your body and mind. These powerful and intense asanas have great benefits for your liver, stomach, intestines, heart, throat, chest, and legs.
Surya Namaskar Yoga benefits your whole body, from your head to your toes.
Surya Namaskar also improves and boosts blood circulation throughout the body, ensuring that your stomach, bowels, and nerve centers are functioning properly.
The poses of Surya Namaskar include a combination of deep breathing with a flowing movement. The asanas stretch out the entire front and back of your body, building strength over a period of time as you keep practicing the poses.
How long does it take to practice it?
It takes hardly 3 to 4 minutes to complete one round of Surya Namaskar. This makes it easy for people to do it daily for at least 30 to 40 minutes for about 5 to 6 days a week. However, be aware that you need to maintain and follow a schedule and try to do it at the same time every day if possible.
If you are a beginner, then be aware that it takes roughly two weeks to start practicing the 12 asanas of Surya Namaskar in one session itself. Within two weeks you would have developed sufficient body strength for completing the 12 asanas in one session itself.
Is there a correct pace of doing the Sun Salutations?
Surya Namaskar Yoga benefits the maximum if you can choose any pace from a 3-speed variation. The three paces are:
Slow pace: When done at a slow pace, it will help increase your body’s flexibility.
Medium pace: When done at a medium pace, it is useful in toning of your muscles.
Fast pace: Surya Namaskar, when done at a fast or rapid pace, is one of the best cardiovascular workouts you can get. This is ideal for achieving weight loss.
What is the best time to practice Surya Namaskar?
Anytime is the best time to do Surya Namaskar when you have an empty stomach
If you want to gain the maximum benefit from practicing Surya Namaskar, then it is best to practice the asanas in the morning as it revitalizes the body and refreshes the mind, making you ready for all the tasks of the day.
You should be doing it on an empty stomach and preferably during the early hours of the morning or dawn. According to yoga experts, you should not eat anything for four to five hours before you practice the Surya Namaskar.
The time of dawn is said to be the best time for performing Surya Namaskar because as the sun comes up, the rays of the sun help revitalize and refresh your mind and body.
This is not to say that you cannot practice it at any other time of the day. When you practice it in the afternoon, it will energize your body instantly and when you practice it in the evening or towards dusk, then it will help you unwind and relax after a long and tiring day.
How Many Sun Salutations per day?
Surya Namaskar for Beginners ideally just two to four rounds of the 12 asanas daily. You can gradually increase this number to as many rounds as you can comfortably do. It is recommended that you do at least 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar daily.
If on some days you do not have sufficient time to practice for a long time, then you can also limit it to one or two rounds of asanas. In its entirety, Surya Namaskar will help quieten your mind and boost your energy levels.
The number of times one should do the sun salutations actually depends on your physical abilities. For a healthy individual, minimum 12 Surya Namaskar per day is advised. There is no upper limit, though you should not go beyond 36 Surya Namaskar per day.
You should do the postures slowly and rhythmically. Have a complete awareness of your breath as you change from one posture to the other in a fluid motion.
Stay into each posture for at least 5 seconds and hold your breath as an when it is required. The purpose is to have complete awareness of your mind, body, and breath.
The number of times you do Surya Namaskar is not important. What is important is the quality of each posture that you are performing. You should feel connected to the significance and the feel of each and every posture as you are doing them.
When you understand your body, you will soon realize how much is too much and you will not exhaust or overstretch yourself while practicing the asanas.
Is there any scientific evidence of Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits?
Indeed there is. In fact, if you understand the science behind this technique, you will have the right outlook towards the asanas. According to many ancient Indian sages and yogis, it is said that different types of energies rule or govern the different parts of the body.
For example, the solar plexus which is located behind the navel is known to be connected to the Sun.
When you practice Surya Namaskar regularly, it will increase the size of the solar plexus.
Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits by increasing your intuitive abilities, strengthen your decision-making abilities, boost your creativity and leadership skills.
Similarly, there is a scientific reason attached to each and every posture of Surya Namaskar and hence practicing Surya Namaskar is highly recommended.
With the recent rise in obesity awareness and the increased understanding of the importance of physical activity in promoting overall health, greater emphasis has been placed on improving physical fitness to enhance quality of life.
Surya Namaskar, a component of Hatha Yoga, has been practiced by Asian Indians for hundreds of years and is often used in place of a typical fitness program.
It consists of a series of postures (asanas) that are repeated 12 times per round.
Only one published study has looked specifically at Surya Namaskar, measuring the energy cost of individual asanas (Sinha et al., 2004).
However, practitioners typically perform several rounds of the asanas during a session.
Here are the details of a Study conducted on Six healthy Asian Indian men and women (18-22 years) who had trained in Surya Namaskar for over two years who participated in this study.
Testing was completed in a single session lasting about 30 min. To measure heart rate and oxygen consumption while performing the four rounds, participants were connected to a heart rate monitor and the Oxycon Mobile Metabolic System.
Results: Participants exercised at 80% of age-predicted maximal heart rate (HRmax) during Round 2, 84% during Round 3, and 90% during Round 4. Average intensity during the four rounds was 80% HRmax, sufficient to elicit a cardiorespiratory training effect. Oxygen consumption averaged 26 ml/kg/min during each round, resulting in an energy expenditure of 230 kcals during a 30 min session for a 60 kg individual.
Conclusion: Regular practice of Surya Namaskar may maintain or improve cardiorespiratory fitness, as well as promote weight management.
Surya Namaskar for Women
- Women needs to give a break for Surya Namaskar during menstrual cycles
- Women may perform few asanas only until fourth month of pregnancy, later to be discontinued till child birth and can be resumed three months post delivery
Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits for Weight Loss
Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits for Weight Loss are consistent and healthier.
What does research says about the Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits for Weight Loss?
A Study conducted on 30 persons who were overweight/obese with the ranges of weight 70-82.5 kg and height 155-167 cm. These persons were in the age range of 25-30 yrs.
They were divided into two equal groups of 15 subjects each. One group was treated as an experimental group and another one as control group.
The training of Surya namaskar was given to only experimental group. The control group was not given any kind of yogic exercise.
The training programme of 30 days was organized for 60 minutes daily practice
of Surya namaskars at 6.00 to 7.00 a.m.
The tests were conducted on two occasions 1.Before the training of Surya namaskar and 2. After 30 days of practise of Surya namaskar. After the completion of the practice period, the weight of subjects of experimental & control groups were measured compared and the results were statistically analyzed.
Results of a study have shown that one month regular practice of Surya namaskar causes weight loss in the obese persons. Surya namaskar is a moderate physical exercise which is linked with the breathing. It consumes calories moderately without much fatigue or exhaustion.
In this study the obese persons have lost almost 4 Kgs in one month which is considered physiologically normal. The diet of these persons was not
controlled and still the weight loss effect is seen.
That means obese persons will have to continue such moderate exercise of Surya namaskar for more than one month till they reach their weight loss target.
Many studies have shown that doing Surya Namaskar even for one minute helps you burn up to 3.79 calories. One full round of Surya Namaskar takes roughly 3 minutes and 40 seconds to complete, thereby burning 13.91 calories in one entire session.
However, the results will vary from person to person as the number of calories burnt will also depend on individual body weight and other factors.
3,500 calories imply to one pound of fat, therefore you need to burn roughly 250-500 calories per day if your goal is to lose a pound every week. Thus, an individual of average weight needs to perform:
- 18 minutes of Surya Namaskar for burning 250 calories
- 25 minutes of Surya Namaskar for burning 350 calories
- 40 minutes of Surya Namaskar for burning 500 calories
This is a rough estimate and the actual amount of calories burnt will vary from person to person, as discussed above.
A gesture of showing gratitude to the sun, Surya Namaskar is a complete workout for the entire body. The 12 asanas of Surya Namaskar Yoga Benefits by bringing your body, mind, and breath together.
Providing a wide range of benefits, the Surya Namaskar is truly the ideal yoga workout in today’s stressful world.
The sun is the basis of life on our planet earth. Without the sun, there would be no life on our planet. Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutations is a method of paying respect or showing gratitude to the sun that has been practiced for many years.
Providing a complete body workout, the Sun Salutations involve 12 sets of exercise or yoga poses that actually translates into performing 288 yoga asanas.
Best done at sunrise, the Sun Salutations, when performed slowly and steadily, helps tone our muscles and also relaxes the entire body. At a slow pace, the This also functions as a meditative technique. When these 12 asanas are done at a fast pace, it works as an excellent cardiovascular workout.