Surya Namaskar is the Sanskrit name for a sequence of twelve yoga asanas known as a Sun Salutation. The term combines Sanskrit words, Surya and Namaskar, meaning Sun and Salutation. The practice of Surya Namaskar started from the ritual of paying respect to the Sun God. In Vedic tradition, the Sun symbolises consciousness and the Divine.
The exact beginning of Surya Namaskar is not documented. Some believe it to be thousands of years old, while some believe that designed by the raja of Aundh in the 20th century to accompany ancient Vedic mantras which honour the Sun.
Surya Namaskar is traditionally a morning practice. The sequence engages all muscles, organs, systems and chakras. In addition, as one perfects the posture and learns to regulate breathing. In addition, the cardiovascular nature of the activity ensures to make the practitioners physically fit. According to yoga experts, repeated Surya Namaskar practice speeds up weight loss. In addition, the precision of the sequences leads to concentration and stillness of mind.
Surya Namaskar: A Holistic Approach to Weight Loss
It is a total workout for the body, mind and spirit. It is typically introduced at the beginning of a more extended yoga practice. Surya Namaskar is known for its numerous health benefits, including weight loss, toning, flexibility, endurance, and mental clarity. However, the number of Surya Namaskars needed for weight loss depends on the practitioner’s fitness level, health condition, current weight and level of practice.
The calorie-burning ability of Surya Namaskar is subjective. However, on average, performing one round of Surya Namaskar can burn approximately 13-17 calories for a person weighing around 150 lbs (68 kg).
No magic numbers guarantee weight loss unless combined with a well-rounded weight loss plan that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, strength training, and other healthy lifestyle practices.
When one is a beginner to yogic practice, 5-10 rounds of Surya Namaskar daily and gradually increasing the number of rounds over time can be a good approach.
This article will explore the numerous benefits of Surya Namaskar for both the mind and body, backed by scientific research.
Yoga, Surya Namaskar and Weight Loss: What Does Science Say?
Yoga is a way of life combining mindfulness, asanas, mudras, breathing, and several other elements. So confusing yoga with any other form of exercise is a limiting thought. Yoga is more than just physical activity. However, research shows that yoga can have a positive impact on metabolism. Power yoga, vinyasa, and ashtanga are physically the more challenging forms of yoga. On the other hand, restorative yoga is a slower form that primarily heals the system and reduces inflammation. However, even regular practice of restorative yoga ensures weight loss.
According to one study, restorative yoga effectively assisted obese women in losing weight, including belly fat. These results hold particular promise for those whose body weight makes practising more strenuous yoga challenging.
According to studies, sustained yoga instils behavioural change and weight loss, improves mindfulness, and relieves stress. According to a new study, yoga as part of a 6-month weight-loss program for obese or overweight adults was helpful in weight loss. However, the weight loss percentage did not differ basis the type of yoga practice ( restorative hatha yoga or more vigorous vinyasa yoga). In most forms of yoga, variations of Surya Namaskar or some parts of the sequence get performed. So, one can attribute Surya Namaskar and some of its sequences to be responsible for weight loss.
Only one published study has looked specifically at Surya Namaskar, which states that regular practice of Surya Namaskar may maintain or improve cardiorespiratory fitness and promote weight management.
Yoga is a combination of physical activity, mindfulness, and breathing that can positively impact metabolism and assist with weight loss, including belly fat. Restorative yoga can be helpful for those with obesity and mobility challenges, and sustained yoga practice can lead to behavioural changes, improved mindfulness, and stress relief. Surya Namaskar, a typical sequence in yoga, may contribute to weight loss and cardiorespiratory fitness.
Surya Namaskar and the 12 Asanas
The twelve asanas which comprise Surya Namaskar are:
- Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
- Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
- Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose or Low Lunge)
- Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose)
- Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight Limbed Salute)
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog Pose)
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose or Low Lunge)
- Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
- Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
- Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
Some Forms of Surya Namaskar
Sivananda Surya Namaskar
Sivananda Surya Namaskar involves a continuous sequence of twelve postures. Here, transitioning from one pose to the next is restorative and gradual. The sequence typically includes variations of forward folds, lunges, plank pose, cobra pose, and downward-facing dog, among others. The pace is moderate, focusing on inhalation, exhalation and holding of breath.
Ashtanga Surya Namaskar: Type A and B
The Ashtanga Surya Namaskar sequence is usually at the beginning of an Ashtanga yoga practice. It is a warm-up for the body, and the movement is in sync with breathing. It consists of two rounds of five sun salutations, each incorporating A and B variations of the sequence.
The A variation of Ashtanga Surya Namaskar includes nine postures, while the B variation includes 17. Both sequence variations include forward folds, lunges, plank pose, chaturanga dandasana (low plank), upward-facing dog, and downward-facing dog, among others. The primary difference between the A and B variations is that the B variation incorporates additional postures that focus on building strength in the upper body, particularly in the shoulders and arms.
Iyengar Surya Namaskar
In Iyengar Surya Namaskar, each pose is held longer. It is a modified version of the traditional sun salutation sequence developed by the late yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar. It emphasises proper alignment, slow and relaxed movement, and the usage of props in the form of blankets, bricks, straps etc. This form focuses on maintaining proper alignment and technique in each posture of the sequence. The lengthier hold leads to a deeper understanding and connection between each pose and the practitioner.
The three most known forms of Surya Namaskar are Sivananda, Ashtanga (Type A and B), and Iyengar. Each form involves a sequence of yoga postures, but they differ in the number of postures, the pace, and the focus on alignment, breathing, and strength-building.
100 Surya Namaskars: Why is it considered the Holi Grail of Weight Loss?
Performing 100 Surya Namaskars, or Sun Salutations, is highly talked about as a magical solution to becoming size zero. This practice involves performing the complete sequence 100 times in a row. That means performing 1200 reps of the poses continuously. The sequence consists of dynamic movements that engage multiple muscle groups, including the arms, legs, and core. Also, this can lead to an increase in muscle mass and an improvement in overall body composition.
The practice can help improve cardiovascular health and boost metabolism, aiding in weight loss. For example, suppose one eats mindfully and has no other health conditions. In that case, one will likely lose weight with 100 Surya Namaskars. On the other hand, if one performs any other exercise at the same intensity, it may result in equal weight loss.
Weight loss is possible when the body burns more calories than it consumes over time. Therefore, a consistent and well-rounded exercise routine and a healthy diet are essential for weight loss. However, Surya Namaskar can be a valuable addition to a weight loss regimen.
So How Much of Surya Namaskar is Optimum?
Yoga can help you lose weight, so practise it as often as possible. Start small if you are a beginner. Begin with a 20-minute practice and work your way up from there. Depending on your fitness level, 5 to 10 rounds of Surya Namaskar and gentle stretchings like Tadasana, Cobra, Bridge, and Savasana are excellent ways to build a routine.
You can use this to increase your flexibility and strength while avoiding injuries. Take a day’s break every week.
Performing 12 Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations) is considered a magical solution to weight loss due to its ability to engage multiple muscle groups, boost metabolism, and improve cardiovascular health. However, a consistent exercise routine and a healthy diet are also essential for weight loss. Starting with 5 to 10 rounds of Surya Namaskar and gentle stretches is an excellent way to build a routine and avoid injuries.
Health Benefits of Surya Namaskar
Improved Blood Circulation
The process of inhaling and exhaling during Surya Namaskar helps oxygenate the lungs. In addition, the healthy circulation of new blood throughout the body is a great way to rid the body of carbon dioxide and toxic chemicals. The body and mind, after that, feel relaxed and fresh.
Improves the Digestive System
Surya Namaskar enhances the efficiency of your digestive system by enabling the digestive organs to perform more effectively. The forward bend posture assists in increasing improving your gut health. According to studies, it is especially helpful in dealing with digestive issues in old age people.
Luminous Skin and Lush Hair
Surya Namaskar gives you glowing skin and healthy hair. Surya Namaskar stimulates blood circulation, which aids in reviving the face’s natural light, prevents wrinkles, and makes your skin appear younger and more vibrant.
Strengthens Muscles and Joints
You stretch and strengthen your muscles, joints, tendons, and skeletal system by performing the Surya Namaskar. The changes also help your spine’s flexibility. In addition, as you practise the poses, you become more flexible and agile, improving the function of your vital internal organs.
Destresses The Body and Mind
If done correctly, yoga poses help calm and soothe the brain. Conversely, Surya Namaskar postures like downward dog and cobra pose gently stimulate the nervous system, ease anxiety, and strengthen it, all of which have positive support.
Surya Namaskar, a yoga practice, has several health benefits, including improved blood circulation, enhanced digestive system, better skin and hair, stronger muscles and joints, and reduced stress and anxiety.
Always check with your doctor to ensure that Surya Namaskar does not worsen your existing condition. According to a study, performing yoga incorrectly will negatively affect various body parts. Therefore, to achieve the desired outcomes, practise the sequence correctly under the direction of a qualified yoga instructor. In addition, before performing any yoga posture, people with obesity, injury, heart conditions, high or low blood pressure, and diabetes should always consult their doctor and a yoga instructor.
Before Surya Namaskar, sit on Padmasana or Vajrasana and focus on your breathing while chanting Om or regulating your breathing. You may include Pranayama for about 5 to 10 minutes. Once you complete Surya Namaskar, go into Yoga Nidra.
To prevent injury, perform the postures on a clean mat, carpet, or rug. You should also practice the sequence at least after 2-3 hours of having a meal. Apart from your practice, focus on what you eat. Please include salads, fruits, and fibre in your diet. For a healthy digestive tract, consume 8 to 10 glasses of water daily, at the very least.
Before performing Surya Namaskar, you must check with a doctor to ensure it is safe for your condition. Practising yoga incorrectly can negatively affect the body. To prevent injury, perform the postures on a clean surface and practice the sequence at least 2-3 hours after a meal. Additionally, focus on eating a healthy diet and consuming enough water for a healthy digestive tract.
Instead of practising Surya Namaskar as a standalone activity, you can integrate it into your daily routine by breaking up the twelve asanas into smaller segments of two or three asanas each. For example, you can perform a warm-up routine of Pranamasana, Urdhva Hastasana and Uttanasana before your morning walk and repeat this sequence a few times before moving on to the next set of asanas. You can perform these sequences while taking breaks from work or during other idle times throughout the day to make it more manageable and sustainable.
The Final Word
In conclusion, Surya Namaskar is a holistic practice offering numerous mental and physical health benefits. In addition, it promotes overall fitness and well-being. Surya Namaskar provides a total workout for the body. It increases blood circulation and detoxes the body. Regular practice of Surya Namaskar can tone the muscle, improve muscle fat ratio, and help manage weight.
Surya Namaskar positively impacts mental health. The synchronised breathing and mindful movements help calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve concentration. In addition, practising Surya Namaskar at dawn takes you closer to the circadian rhythm. It helps create a deeper connection with oneself, leading to a calmer state of being.
Incorporating Surya Namaskar into your daily routine can be a powerful tool for achieving a balanced and healthy lifestyle. So, embrace the practice of Surya Namaskar and experience the transformative benefits it can offer for your mind and body.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Surya Namaskar?
A: Surya Namaskar is a sequence of 12 yoga poses typically performed in the morning to offer symbolical prayer to the Sun God. It involves a series of breath-synchronised movements that can enhance strength, flexibility, and general well-being.
Q: Is Surya Namaskar effective for weight loss?
A: Combining Surya Namaskar with a balanced diet and regular exercise helps you lose weight. It aids in boosting heart rate, enhances metabolism, and encourages calorie burning, which can help lose weight. Weight loss, however, also depends on various other factors such as dietary habits, metabolism and overall lifestyle.
Q: How many Surya Namaskars should I do for weight loss?
A: You should perform Surya Namaskars to help you lose weight, depending on your degree of comfort and fitness. For beginners, it is advised to start with five rounds (10 sets) and then gradually increase the repetitions as stamina improves. Advanced practitioners should strive for 15- 25 rounds (30 to 50 sets) or perhaps more. For personalised advice, always speak with a certified yoga instructor.
Q: How often should I do Surya Namaskar for weight loss?
A: It is advised to perform Surya Namaskar at least 3-5 times weekly to lose weight. The frequency may change based on your fitness level, schedule, and other elements. It is crucial to find a balance that supports you and your body while considering your overall health.
Q: How long does it take to see weight loss results with Surya Namaskar?
A: Surya Namaskar for weight loss produces a variety of results. Consistent practice and a good diet and lifestyle may produce positive results in a few weeks to months. However, results vary depending on a person’s overall health, frequency, and intensity.
Q: Are there any precautions I should take while doing Surya Namaskar for weight loss?
A: It is crucial to warm up appropriately, maintain proper form, pay attention to your body, and refrain from overexerting yourself when performing Surya Namaskar. Beginners should take it slow and build their way up. For safe and beneficial practice, it is suggested that you speak with a certified yoga instructor, especially if you have any medical concerns.
Q: Can beginners do Surya Namaskar for weight loss?
A: Yes, beginners too can perform the Surya Namaskar to lose weight. However, it’s crucial to begin gradually and under the supervision of a teacher. Beginners should concentrate on mastering proper form and breathing methods and progressively increasing practice intensity as their level of fitness rises. It is crucial to exercise mindfully and refrain from exerting yourself excessively.
Q: What is the best time to do Surya Namaskar for weight loss?
A: The best time to perform Surya Namaskar depends on your schedule and preferences. You can do it in the morning to get your day started or in the evening as part of your nightly routine. The goal is to remain consistent and choose an optimal time for your body and you.
Q: Can Surya Namaskar be done during periods for weight loss?
A: Yes, you can perform Surya Namaskar during periods. To practise comfortably, however, you must pay attention to your body. The best course of action is to avoid vigorous exercise and instead choose gentle motions if you experience pain or discomfort during your menstrual cycle. It is best to avoid inverted positions and gently vary your poses. It’s best to get personalised coaching during menstruating.
Q: What are the other benefits of doing Surya Namaskar besides weight loss?
A: Surya Namaskar has several advantages for your health. It improves digestion, and blood circulation, reduces stress, and enhances general mental and physical well-being, helping to increase flexibility, strength, and stamina. It can also aid with posture and balance if done correctly and consistently.
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