Yoga is a journey to self, through the self, to the self. – The Bhagavad Gita
Surya Namaskar can be defined as the single solution to multiple diseases; this yoga is derived from two words: ‘surya’ which means sun, ‘namaskar’ means salutation or worship. So Surya Namaskar means worship of the sun.
Surya Namaskar has been practiced in Indian culture since ages and had a multiple health, mental and spiritual benefits.
Surya namaskar comprises of 12 yogic posed in a cyclic way. These cyclic movements of Surya Namaskar with controlled breathing, backbends, forward bends, invigorating and calming poses help us achieve many different benefits through single yogic exercise.
We will be discussing everything about Surya Namaskar through this article.
Major yogic poses in Surya Namaskar
- Pranamasana: Prayer Pose
Effects: Prayer pose is a very common pose in India performed by people as a form of greeting. It’s performed at the beginning and end of Surya Namaskar. Prayer pose creates the sense of relaxation and concentration which is very important to begin Surya Namaskar.
- Hasta Uttanasana: Raised Hands Pose
Effects: helps you relax your neck and back muscle, stretches abdominal area. Abdominal stretch helps in good organ massage. Spine stretch helps in curing various back problems.
- Pada hastasana: Standing Forward Fold
Effects: Pada Hastasana works for full back stretch; it stretches spine, glutes, hamstring, and calves. This pose is very effective in lengthening the spine.
- Ashwa sanchalanasana: Equestrian Pose
Effects: builds lower body strength, strengthens the spine, opens the chest and stretches Quadriceps and Gluts.
- Parvatasana: mountain pose
Effects: this pose improves the blood circulation around the body, stretches the full body. Helps you get the better blood flow in towards brain.
- Ashtanga Namaskara: Eight-Limbed salutation
Effects: strengthens chest, shoulders, and back.
- Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose
Effects: Opens chest, stretch and strengthens the spine. Cobra pose helps in opening chest and strengthening shoulders.
12 Surya Namaskar steps
When to Perform
You can perform Surya namaskar at any time of the day, however, sunrise time is considered to be the best time of the day to perform this yoga activity, it’s also advised to perform Surya namaskar in open.
Performing Surya namaskar while sunrise can revitalize your body and soul, make you stay active and energetic throughout the day.
Additionally, performing Surya namaskar under direct sunlight can provide your body sufficient vitamin D, which will help your body with its daily dosage of this essential vitamin.
Pace of Practicing Surya Namaskar
You can practice surya namaskar at a different pace and you will get benefitted accordingly.
Slow pace– If you are looking to improve your body flexibility or improve your height then you should practice Surya namaskar at a slow pace, try to practice with holding every movement for 4-5 seconds.
Medium pace– If you are looking to build muscle tissues then you should go for medium pace, that means you will hold every position for 2 seconds.
Fast pace– If your motive is to get the cardiovascular benefits from Surya namaskar, then you should practice it with a fast pace, you don’t need to hood or stretch for any position. You can perform as many numbers of reps as you want.
Surya Namaskar Benefits:
These days Surya namaskar has been performed all over the world due to its physical, mental and spiritual benefits, there have been continuous studies on different benefits of surya namaskar and it will be too difficult to list each and every effect of this amazing yoga practice but we will be discussing all major 21 benefits of Surya Namaskar. Let’s start:
1 Increases Height
Surya namaskar has proven to be an effective solution for the height growth problem. Young kids can surely add up few inches to their height by constantly practicing Surya namaskar.
Surya namaskar helps in addressing some key reasons for height growth; performing surya namaskar stretches spine and legs which leads to lengthening of height. Additionally, it helps the practitioner with better posture, which makes him look stronger and taller.
2 Regulates Menstrual Cycle For Women
A Study conducted by Indian researchers had found the positive effect of performing pranayama and Surya namaskar. A group of female volunteers was made to practice pranayama and surya namaskar regularly which resulted in regulation of their menstrual cycle.
3 Glowing Skin
Surya namaskar promotes better flow of blood all over the body, which makes your skin cells supplied with more oxygen and nutrients.
Surya namaskar also vitalizes your body and make you feel energetic, which helps in getting extra glow in the skin.
4 Stronger Joints
Surya namaskar is a multi-joint exercise which works from your head to toe. It involves almost all the joints of body and surya namaskar’s different poses helps to get your joints lubricated and properly stretches.
Due to better blood flow in the body, body joints get the essential nutrition and vitamin supplies.
5 Shreds Fat
Logic is pretty simple; the more muscles get involved in your exercise the more calories you burn. Practicing Surya namaskar can be a great cardiovascular exercise with the benefits of muscle development as well.
6 Healthy Hair
We have discussed in the above point that Surya namaskar helps in better blood flow in all over the body; the mountain pose helps blood to flow towards the scalp, which helps in healthier and stronger hairs. It leads to lower hair fall as well.
7 Relieves Anxiety
As like any other yoga practice, Surya namaskar is a great stress buster. Practicing surya namaskar regularly can improve the quality of life.
Study conducted by Australian researchers included 131 volunteers with moderate stress performed 10 weeks of regular yoga practice. Study results proved there is a significant reduction in stress levels of volunteers and it improved their quality of life.
Surya namaskar helps in detoxifying your body through many levels, it helps to eliminate toxin through sweating, surya namaskar aid in healthy digestion process which ultimately excretes all the harmful substances from the body.
Surya namaskar helps in maintaining healthy heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys which results in better excretion of all the body waste and harmful chemicals.
9 Cure Insomnia
Insomnia is a common lifestyle disease, due to a stressful life and unhealthy lifestyle more people in the world are affected by insomnia. Surya namaskar can be an effective way to cure insomnia trough reducing stress level and living a healthier lifestyle.
10 Better Digestion
Practicing surya namaskar benefits in releasing the trapped gases within the stomach, it’s different yoga posture massages your internal organs which leads to their better functioning and better digestion.
Surya namaskar affects all the major parts of the digestive system like pharynx, esophagus, stomach, intestine, and liver. This is done because of the constant stretching and contraction of internal organs. So start performing surya namaskar from today to get a stronger digestive system.
11 Makes You Flexible
12 different poses of surya namaskar benefit your body to get the optimum flexibility. Yoga has been known for its ability to improve the flexibility of the body.
- Mountain pose– helps in stretching spine, glutes, hamstring, and calves
- Cobra pose– helps in stretching neck, spine and abdominal. It also helps in opening chest.
- Equestrian pose– helps in opening chest, stretching Quards, glutes and spine.
- Hand to foot pose– helps in stretching the whole body.
- Raised arms pose– helps in opening chest and shoulders, stretches neck, spine, core, abdominals, and glutes.
12 Better Blood Flow
Surya namaskar benefits through improved full body stretching and contraction. You are helping your body with better blood flow. Poses like cobra pose and mountain pose helps in getting the blood flow throughout the body.
Improved blood flow will make you feel more energetic and will activate all the muscles and organs for proper functioning.
13 Mental Health
One of the biggest and serious lifestyle disease most of the people are experiencing is stress. Daily stress is raising continuously and there needs to be some solution to it.
Stress results in anxiety, low testosterone, nervousness and insomnia. So basically you are slowly killing yourself due to most common lifestyle disease.
Deep breathing while Surya namaskar benefits in reducing the daily stress and helps you feel revitalized.
14 Stronger Bones
There is a reason surya namaskar is suggested to be practiced in open while practicing this yogic exercise in open you make your body get its daily dose of natural vitamin D.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin to make calcium to be deposited into your body, vitamin D also helps in the production of testosterone hormone, which leads to better muscle development.
15 Gain Muscle
There are two reasons why Surya namaskar benefits in muscle growth:
- Its multi-joint poses helps you train your whole body which leads to more muscle development and more fat loss
- Getting an optimum dose of vitamin D, body gets to produce more testosterone hormone. As we all know testosterone is a growth hormone which helps in gaining more muscle mass.
16 Better Posture
With the effects on all the major muscle group, better posture is another benefit of surya namaskar. While performing surya namaskar you are training your spine, chest, shoulders, glutes and legs.
Surya namaskar also helps in reducing stiffness within any muscle, which also assists in better posture.
17 Over All Body Development
With every different pose of surya namaskar you are preparing your body for overall body development. Surya namaskar benefits you with these body developments:
- Stronger lungs for better endurance.
- Stronger muscle for better strength
- Lower stress for happy life
- Stronger digestive system for health excretion of toxins
- Better posture for more confidence
- Stronger and flexible joints
18 Improved Sexual Health
What does it need to have good sexual health?
- Good blood flow
- Healthy organs
- Lower fat deposition
- Low stress
- High testosterone level
Surya namaskar provides the entire ingredient to have a better sexual health.
19 Stronger Immune System
With the healthy working of all internal organs, low stress and better excretion of body waste, you are gifting your body a stronger immune system.
Needless to say, the importance of the strong immune system, practicing Surya namaskar benefits you with diseases free life.
20 Stronger Respiratory System
We have discussed about the improvement in the digestive system then how can we forget respiratory system. Studies have proven the effect of the regular practice of Surya namaskar on the respiratory system.
Volunteers who were hired for the study found to improve their cardiovascular endurance, better breathing capabilities.
An online magazine published a story of Indian soldier name: Lance Naik Hanumanthappa who was trapped under thick snow due to avalanche at Siachen (world’s highest battleground), he was rescued after 6 days and he was found alive (died afterward). Lance Naik Hanumanthappa was a daily yoga practitioner. Practicing yog drastically increased his lungs capacity to survive for 6 days.
21 Beneficial For Diabetics
Surya namaskar has been for beneficial for diabetics as well. Performing this yoga moderated the insulin level of body and also helps in regulating fat percentage.
22 Spiritual Significance
Yog has always been related to body’s spiritual context as well, yog has always considered being a workout for mind as well as body, it helps in attaining calm mind. Surya Namaskar helps balance the three main constitutions of the body; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. This gives an internal spiritual balance that rides you through all kinds of stress and improves your immunity.