Why is Surya Namaskar Good for you?
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 postures 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.
With regular practice, Surya Namaskar gives a person 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. The whole body, from your head to your toes, benefits from performing the Sun Salutations.
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.
What is the best time to practice Surya Namaskar?
If you want to gain the maximum benefit from practicing Surya Namaskar, then it is best to practice the postures in the morning. 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 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 the benefits of Sun Salutations?
Indeed there is. In fact, if you do not understand the science behind this technique, you will not 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, 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.
Is there a correct pace of doing the Sun Salutations?
You can choose any pace from a 3-speed variation in order to reap the maximum benefits of this technique. 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.
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.
Surya Namaskar benefits for weight loss
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, keep in mind that 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
Do keep in mind that 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 helps bring 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.