The Surya Namaskar – Facts & Benefits You Need To Know

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Surya Namaskar
Image – Michael Pravin / Flickr

The Sun has been a source of both spiritual and physiological benefits since time immemorial. Life, as we know it, would not have been sustainable without the heat and light from the Sun. The Sun’s significance and its respect is an essential aspect of lifestyle for many civilizations. Incorporating their gratitude towards Sun is not just about beliefs but has many health benefits associated with it. Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a primordial form of offering respect to the Sun.

Surya Namaskar is not only significant for its conspicuous sign of respect but also its implicit benefits. By sparing only 10 minutes to perform this exercise, one can witness visible changes in their health. In today’s busy corporate life, incorporating a healthy routine can be a task. The Surya Namaskar is one such exercise that does not demand a lot of time and still qualifies as a panacea.  

Here are some of the secrets of Surya Namaskar that make it such a prescribed form of exertion.  

Maintain Discipline while Surya Namaskar 

Maintain Discipline while doing Surya Namaskar

Having a 9-to-5 job or hectic college life, discipline for a healthy lifestyle is lacking for many individuals. Taking time out, say an hour or two, to exercise can be challenging. Surya Namaskar can be of aid here.  

Very minimal yet effective, Surya Namaskar takes up only 10 minutes of your time. As the name suggests, Surya Namaskar is ideally an exercise to perform in the morning. More ideally, it was performed at the crack of dawn, right during the sunrise in the old days. In the present time, those who can manage to wake up that early are commendable in themselves. Even if one cannot be an early riser, performing the Surya Namaskar at any time of the day will still be equally beneficial.  

Incorporating the 10-minute workout in your daily life will help bring discipline to your life. Irrespective of one’s dynamic schedule, some sort of stability is necessary for all. Surya Namaskar can help bring that stability.  

Effective Burning of Calories 

Effective Burning of Calories through Surya Namaskar
Image – Akshay Gupta

To explain the benefits of Yoga may take up this entire article. Even after introducing modern workout regimes, the place of Yoga and its efficacies remain the same.  

Surya Namaskar is a form of Yoga. Moreover, it is a full-body exercise. In the modern counterpart workouts, a half an hour exercise may burn up to 199, 232, 298, 364, and 414 calories for weightlifting, tennis, football, rock climbing, and running, respectively. Performing the Surya Namaskar for half an hour burns 417 calories, the highest among all exercises above. A 10-minute regime of Surya Namaskar burns 139 calories.  

Surya Namaskar is known as ‘The Ultimate Asana’. Surya Namaskar is one of the most refined forms of exercise even in modern times, from strengthening your back and muscles to lowering your blood sugar levels. It helps with metabolism and blood circulation. For women, it aids in ensuring a regular menstrual cycle. It also helps cure insomnia. From burning calories to aiding in curing other elements, Surya Namaskar indeed has a lot of advantages. 

Surya Namaskar: A Cyclic performance of 7 asanas 

Surya-Namaskar-Steps

The Surya Namaskar consists of 7 asanas. These seven asanas are performed in a cyclic order resulting in 12 asanas in total.  All these asanas have individual benefits. Though some of the asanas are repetitive, here are the names and their advantages- 

1. Pranamasana

Surya-Namaskar Step 1 Pranamasana

Namaskar means a sign of greeting. It begins by and intends to greet the Sun. The exercise starts in a prayer position by standing upright. To begin the activity, this posture helps one calm their mind and body. 

2. Hastauttanasana  

Surya-Namaskar Step 2 Hastauttanasana

A stretching pose, this posture requires one to lift their hand and bend their back backwards gradually. While in this pose, slowly inhale. This helps to stretch their chest and abdominal region and bring the energy flow to their upper body. 

3. Padahastasana 

Surya-Namaskar Step 3 Padahastasana

The previous pose helps in beginning the exercises by stretching the abdominal area. This posture further massages the belly. One needs to slowly and thoroughly exhale and bend their upper body forward and try touching the floor. Make sure that your spine and legs are straight. This asana helps in digestion, enhances blood flow to the brain, and aids in women’s ailments. 

4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana 

Surya-Namaskar Step 4 Ashwa Sanchalanasana 

A runner’s beginner pose, this asana stretches our spine further and stimulates abdominal organs. After Padahastasana, start bending your right knee towards your chest and extend your left leg backwards. Raise your head and look forward. Throughout, maintain an equilibrium in breathing and perform it slowly.  

5. Parvatasana  

Surya-Namaskar Step 5 Parvatasana

The downward-facing dog pose, Parvatasana, helps strengthen your arms and legs. It also relieves the varicose veins. By breathing out and lifting your waist, the body makes an inverted ‘V’ pose. This pose also stretches the calf and spine muscles.  

6. Dandasana  

Surya-Namaskar-Step-6-Dandasana

Dandasana is also known as the Chaturanga Dandasana or the Four-Limbed Staff pose. It is a low plank pose that helps improve body posture. It reinforces the back muscles and spine and also stretches the shoulder and chest.  

7. Ashtanga Namaskar  

Surya-Namaskar-Step-7-Ashtanga-Namaskar  

In the Eight-Limb pose, Ashtanga Namaskar requires the chin, chest, hands, and knees to be on the ground. Only the hip needs to be in the air. This asana also helps in strengthening the chest, arms, and legs.  

8. Bhujangasana  

Surya-Namaskar-Step-8-Bhujangasana

The cobra pose, Bhujangasana, requires you to bring down your hip and, while inhaling, place your legs and midsection on the ground. Bend your back and keep your head up. Ensure even breathing. This asana is known to relieve tension from the back and spine. It is effective for mild sciatica and is therapeutic for asthma.  

9. Parvatasana  

Surya-Namaskar Step 9 Parvatasana

Here starts the cyclic repetition. Going back to the first step, the opening prayer posture is done again. 

10. Ashwa Sanchalasana 

Surya-Namaskar Step 10 Ashwa Sanchalanasana

In a repetition of the fourth step, the left leg is brought forward, and the right leg is stretched backwards.  

11. Padahastasana  

Surya-Namaskar Step 11 Padahastasana

Exact repetition of the Padahastasana pose.  

12. Hastauttanasana  

Surya-Namaskar Step 12 Hastauttanasana

Again, a repetition of the Hastauttanasana pose.  

This entire cyclic exercise can be undertaken as many times as one sees fit. With the asanas’ benefits, the whole Surya Namaskar helps in motoring the major body parts. From strengthening to stretching muscles, the exercise is perfect for weight loss and toning the body. If one performs the workout with proper regulation of their breathing and maintaining the postures, they can see visible results.  

Benefits of Surya Namaskar 

Benefits of Surya Namaskar 
Image – Wikimedia commons

Apart from the above benefits, the other secrets of the Surya Namaskar are- 

  • It stimulates our nervous system. 
  • Surya Namaskar helps strengthen the immune system. 
  • It helps in maintaining cardiovascular health.  
  • Results in glowing skin. 
  • Helps to detox the body. 
  • It helps deal with anxiety. 
  • Enhances cognitive functions. 
  • Aids in overall improvement of the mind and body. 

Yoga has been a part of scientific research and development for a long time now. Surya Namaskar, an exercise of Yoga, has many scientific benefits. A simple and effective workout, the Surya Namaskar helps in many aspects of one’s lifestyle. From good physical health to inner spiritual development, the Surya Namaskar helps spread a positive vibration in your body. By making the exertion a part of your daily life, from physical to psychological to spiritual, the secret of Surya Namaskar will surely improve your life.

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