Yoga is the new cool and a lot of us are taking to it. While Yoga has many definitions and perceptions, one way of defining Yoga would be the union of mind, soul, and body. One very crucial and popular part of yoga is a surya namaskaram, which dates back to the 9th century. Suryanamaskars are a favorite among health and fitness-conscious people all over the world, including the B-Town divas and popular fitness icons like Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Kareena Kapoor Khan, etc. It is one of the most popular practices in Yoga.
So what is a surya namaskar? A little more…
Surya Namaskaram (interchangeably used as Surya namaskars or Surya asana), which is translated into English, means Sun Salutations, contains asanas or poses that were originally devised as a form of devotion to the Hindu Deity Surya, or the Sun God, often combined with special mantras. Usually performed in the morning (alternatively during sunset), Surya namaskars can be practiced every day. Prime Surya namaskar’s benefits include maintaining overall good health, burning calories, staying fit, maintaining a good posture, improving mental balance, and inducing calmness in the head.
Can you lose weight doing sun salutations?
As per some research studies, each round of sun salutations, which may take only 3.5 to 4 minutes to complete, can help you burn approximately 13.9 calories. Ideally suggested to be done in 12 reps, a complete session can help you burn around 416 calories. You can start small, with single reps, working your way up and building your endurance slowly to increase the number of rounds, and before you know it, you are likely to become leaner.
Note: It is very interesting to note that 139 is the average number of calories you burn in 10 Surya namaskars*.
Is Surya namaskar enough for weight loss?
Surya namaskar’s steps are effective for weight loss if done every day and properly. The pace also is very important for the same. If you take an hour to finish 10-12 sets, it is considered to be an extremely slow pace that may not be of much use in helping you through weight loss. To be able to feel the pressure on your body, it is important that you practice the sets at a fast pace. Begin slow, and graduate to a higher count with passing days. Also, combining Surya asanas with other exercise routines is another good way to build pressure on the body to boost weight loss.
How many steps are there in Surya namaskar?
12 postures. Over time, Surya namaskar has evolved with slight variations in its poses or asanas. However, the overall essence of it remains unshaken and this article will detail the 12 types of postures involved in a standard suryanamaskar. So how to do surya namaskar? Let us see:
Asana 1: Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
Stand on the forward side of the mat. Stand straight on both your legs, broaden your shoulders, with hands by your side and relax. Now inhale and lift both your hands together and bring them in namaskar mudra as you exhale.
Asana 2: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Now from the prayer pose, raise your hands up and backward. In this asana, you need to stretch your body from your toes to the tips of your finger. While stretching doesn’t just bend backward, make sure you stretch properly. And while stretching, your biceps should be close to your ears.
Asana 3: Hastapadasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
From raised arms pose, now bend down from your waist and try to touch the floor with both palms. Your back should be erect. If you are a beginner, you can bend your knees to keep your palms on the floor. Try to straighten your knees and touch your head to your knees. Doing this will take regular practice. While in this position try to keep your palm in one position and not move them.
Asana 4: Ashwa sanchalanasana (Equestrian/Horse Pose)
Now breathing in, push back your left leg as much as you can. Your right knee should be in between both your palms. Your left knee should be touching the ground along with your foot bending down. Look up and stay in the position. Now straighten your foot by balancing it on the floor with the help of your toes. Keep looking up.
Asana 5: Dandasana (Stick Pose/Plank)
Bring your right leg backward and balance your upper body on both your palms. Your body should be straight like a stick. Your toes should be on the mat. Make sure your arms are perpendicular to the floor.
Asana 6: Ashtanga namaskar (8 body Parts Salutation)
Now gently bring your knees down on the floor, push your hips backward, and sliding forward rest your chin and chest down on the floor. Remain in this posture. Now your eight body parts are both the palms, feet, knees, chest, and chin touching the floor. This is called salutation from eight points of the body (Ashtanga namaskar).
Asana 7: Bhujangasna (Cobra Asana)
From the last position now raise your chest up by sliding yourself forward. Make sure your hands are bent and you are looking up, towards the ceiling. Your half the body is in the air and rests on the floor.
Asana 8: Adho Mukh Savana (Downward-Facing Down)
From the cobra pose, now lift your waist and hips up keeping your hands
and legs on the floor. Your body should form an ‘inverted V shape’. Keeping your hands in the same position now move your feet forward and get deeper into the pose.
Asana 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Now come back to Equestrian Pose, asana number 4, but this time with your right leg. From the downward dog, position bends down and brings your left leg forward in between your palms. Your right leg should be straight with your right knee touching the floor. And left leg should be perpendicular to the floor. Your hand should be straight with palms at one place on the floor. Now look up and then curl the right toe under.
Asana 10: Hastapadasana (Hand to foot pose)
Exhale and slowly bring the left foot forward near the right foot. Do not move the position of your palms and keep them on the ﬂoor. You can bend your knees a bit if keeping them straight is difficult for you. If it is not, then try to touch your nose to the knees and stretch the body. Remember to keep breathing.
Asana 11: Hastauttanasana (Raised arms pose)
Now come up and keep your body straight and stretch your body from your toes to the tips of your finger. While stretching doesn’t just bend backward, make sure you stretch properly. While stretching, your biceps should be close to your ears
Asana 12: Tadasana (Relaxed Standing Pose)
As you exhale bring your hands down by your side and relax.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1) What are the benefits of Surya namaskars?
Doing Surya namaskar on a regular basis can help you achieve better health, from improved blood circulation in the body, giving you a natural detox, a more regular menstrual cycle, healthier skin and hair growth, and more calmness, and less anxiety to an easy way of losing weight.
2) How much weight can I lose by doing Surya namaskar?
One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. Therefore if one aims to shed a pound of weight every week, one has to aim at burning somewhere around 300 to 400 calories on average. Now, as discussed above, one round of Surya namaskar helps you shed 13.90 calories approximately, lasting around 3.5 to 4 minutes, in duration. That means one has to do the asanas for 18 minutes to shed 250 calories, 25 minutes to shed 350 calories, and 40 minutes to shed 500 calories, approximately.
3) How many Suryanamaskars should be done in a day?
Rather than focusing on the number of steps, it is more important to build up your endurance slowly and steadily, by performing each individual step properly. It is important to maintain regularity. Generally, it takes around 12-15 days to perfect all the 12 poses. Once enough endurance and strength have been developed, one can start increasing the number of rounds. Surya namaskar should be done 6 days a week for an effective weight loss result. As it is recommended to do it in sets, one can achieve a set of 12 asanas with one leg, and when done with both legs, you can achieve a total of 12x2x12 repetitions or 288 asanas in all, which should not take anymore than 20 minutes.
4) Is Surya namaskar better than walking?
Walking is an intensive exercise, but Surya namaskar affects a greater portion of the body. It employs all the major joints of the body through its asanas, while walking is only focused on the lower extremities. The spinal columns undergo compression due to gravity when walking, or jogging. The shocks, although absorbed by the foot, ankle, knee, and joints, also travel upwards and induce a little pressure on the lower back. Surya Namaskar, on the other hand, is a set of scientifically well-sequenced postures, that involve muscles and joints undergoing various degrees of compression and extension and experiencing movements in different planes. Walking helps to improve the functioning of the heart and lungs, but Surya Namaskar does it in a better way.
5) What are the 12 poses of Surya namaskar?
As provided above, here are the 12 poses of the suryanamaskar: Asana 1: Pranamasana (Prayer Pose), Asana 2: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose), Asana 3: Hastapadasana (Hand to Foot Pose), Asana 4: Ashwa sanchalanasana (Equestrian/Horse Pose), Asana 5: Dandasana (Stick Pose/Plank), Asana 6: Ashtanga Namaskar (8 body Parts Salutation), Asana 7: Bhujangasna (Cobra Asana), Asana 8: Adho Mukha Savana (Downward Facing Down), Asana 9: Ashwa sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose), Asana 10: Hastapadasana (Hand to foot pose), Asana 11: Hastauttanasana (Raised arms pose), Asana 12: Tadasana (Relaxed Standing Pose)
6) How to do sun-salutation
As seen above, there are 12 postures of the suryanamaskar which need to be practiced in a fixed flow. Refer to the list above and practice them every day! Happy workout!
*Source: Hindustan Times