Surya Namaskar or the 'Sun Salutation' is a set of 12 different postures performed continuously one after the other. This yogic practice was created to express gratitude to sun which supports all forms of life on the Earth. Performing Surya Namaskar regularly can not only strengthen your body, but also fill you with immense positive energy that improves our overall health and well-being. No wonder why it is called the "Ultimate Asana"!
Listed below are the 8 main steps in a Surya Namaskar sequence along with benefits:
1. Pranamasana or the Prayer Pose: The body is an upright position with all the muscles in a relaxed state.
2. Hasta Uttasana or Raised Hands Pose: The hands must be lifted and bent back, which increases blood flow to the upper part of the body.
3. Pada Hastasana or Standing Forward Fold: The full back stretch massages your abdominal region and activates the entire spine.
4. AshwaSanchalanasana or Equesterian Pose: Stretches the spine further and expands your chest muscles.
5. Parvatasana or Mountain Pose: Strengthens muscles in arms and leg and enables better blood flow to the brain.
6. Dandasana or Staff Pose: Improved body posture and strengthens shoulder, arm muscles.
7. Ashtanga Namaskara or Eight Limbed Salutation: Strengthens muscles in shoulder, back and chest.
8. Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose: Strengthens back and relieves tension from the spinal column
The next four steps are Parvatasana, AshwaSanchalasana, Padahastanasa, Hastauttasana which complete one sequence.
In this article, we shall explore the top 10 benefits of Surya Namaskar, which can inspire you to practice it everyday.
Listed below are 9 major benefits of practicing Surya Namaskar regularly:
1. Improves Flexibility:
The twelve postures in Surya Namaskar give a total body workout by stretching different muscle groups and joints. The sequence starts with all the muscles in a relaxed state and slowly stretch the abdominal area, the spinal column, hamstring, calves, glutes, chest, shoulders, etc. Along with the muscles, Surya Namaskar also stretches the joints and enables them to move freely. With regular practice, you can experience improved strength and flexibility in your body.
2. Helps You Lose Weight:
Surya Namaskar is not just your average Yoga posture. When performed fast, Surya Namaskar can offer the same benefits as a high-intensity cardio workout. A mere 30 minute session of Surya Namaskar can help you lose around 416 calories, which makes it an ideal exercise for weight loss. By stretching the abdominal muscles, Surya Namaskar can also help you lose belly fat and leave you with toned muscles.
3. Improves Digestion:
Surya Namaskar involves stretching and compression of abdominal muscles which can stimulate better digestive juices. People suffering from constipation and poor digestion can benefit from performing Surya Namaskar as it releases trapped gases from the system and stimulates easy stool movement. Surya Namaskar also helps in better functioning of the digestive system by increasing the blood flow to the abdominal area.
Also Read: Meditation Tips For Beginners
4. Regulates Menstrual Cycle in Women:
Surya Namaskar not only works bones and muscles but also positively affects your hormones as well. It can cure hormonal imbalances and metabolic disorders, which lead to irregular menstrual cycles. By strengthening the uterus muscles, Surya Namaskar can also make childbirth process easier. Also, performing Surya Namaskar during periods (when there is no heavy bleeding) can allievate menstrual cramps and keep you at ease.
5. Relieves Stress and Anxiety:
Along with the body, the mind also experiences many benefits with Surya Namaskar. A study shows that students who performed Surya Namaskar regularly showed reduced stress levels and improved memory before examinations. This shows that Surya Namaskar can treat anxiety and depression in people, along with striking a good emotional balance. By relaxing your nervous system, the yoga exercise can also send you into a state of calmness.
6. Eliminates Toxins from the Body:
Surya Namaskar can detox your system by improving blood circulation in the body. The deep inhalation and exhalation helps in taking up more oxygen and flushing out carbondioxide. This enables better functioning of all the organs and improving your respiratory health. Regulated breathing also benefits your heart and prevents cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, strokes etc.
7. Cure Insomnia:
One of the key contributors to Insomnia or sleeplessness is stress. By relieving stress and anxiety, Surya Namaskar can calm down your mind and enable better, quality sleep. Also, after a session of this workout, your body feels exhausted and craves for some sleep. In the long run, your sleep routines get regularized which can positively impact your health.
Also Read: Yoga To Boost Immunity
8. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels:
Surya Namaskar can control elevated blood sugar levels by massaging the upper and lower thoraic region where the pancreas is located. By improving the pancreatic function, Surya Namaskar enables in better secretion and absorption of insulin. Also, by reducing stress and anxiety, this Yoga exercise helps in regulating the metabolic activity and keep diabetes under control.
9. Makes Your Skin Glow:
By increasing better blood flow and flushing out toxins, Surya Namaskar can give you a clear, flawless skin. The stretching of muscles increases elasticity of skin and delays the onset of wrinkles and sagging. This is why Surya Namaskar is hailed as a natural anti-aging Yoga exercise!
Also Read: Surya Mudra Benefits
Surya Namaskar must not be performed if you are:
Are a pregnant woman
Having back or neck injuries
Experiencing muscle catches or serious cramps
Undergoing radiation therapy
Having Vertigo, Muscular weakeness, Pre-existing spinal problems
Recovering from a recent surgery, trauma
After learning about the wonderful benefits of Surya Namaskar, you might be tempted to try them at home! However, if you are a beginner, we highly recommend talking to a Yoga expert and performing the poses under their guidance to avoid unwanted health risks and side effects!