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21 December 2008

Sun salutation benefits

Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) is part of Hatha Yoga (the “physical” part of Yoga).

Sun Salutation has multiple mental and physical benefits. In only ten minutes you can achieve a low impact workout that combines both Resistance Training (e.g. weight lifting) and Cardiovascular (“Cardio”) Training.

The fitness community accepts the fact that cardiovascular exercise has reduced benefits (e.g. fat burning ends once the cardio exercise stops). It also has disadvantages like tear and wear of joints.

Resistance Training on the other hand, has multiple benefits: increases muscle mass hence more fat burning capability, increases bone density to mention just a few. The drawback: it is painful (I know I don't like the feeling of burning in my muscles, even though I know it is good for me). Resistance training is also time consuming and it may increase blood pressure momentarily if not done properly.

A good compromise is Interval Training that consists of hard alternated with light pace cardio exercise. And this is exactly where Sun Salutation comes in. It is similar with Interval Training by combining a low impact resistance training (push-ups, squats) with cardio exercise. Even better, the benefits of Sun Salutation don’t stop at the physical level: your mind benefits as well.

Regular practice of Sun Salutation benefits your body with:

  • Increased blood oxygenation by copious lung ventilation and this is great news for your heart.
  • Stretches and tones your muscles keeping them supple and flexible.
  • Clears your elimination channels helping your body rid itself of toxins. This is especially good in the morning after many hours of lack of movement during sleep (the lymphatic system eliminates toxins through movement).
  • Stimulates and tones your Endocrine system (especially the Thyroid, the master gland that controls all the other glands).
  • Tones up the internal abdominal organs by alternate stretching, compression cycles that results in better digestion and bowel movement.
  • Increases spine and waist flexibility.

The mental benefits of Sun Salutation are similar with meditation. You can look at Sun Salutation as meditation in movement. It is not random that Tai-Chi (Chinese) or Kata in Karate, have a similar focussed mind on movement approach at the core of their practice. Sun Salutation helps to:

  • Increase your mental focus and concentration.
  • Reduce depression, anxiety and stress by reducing key markers like Cortisol.
  • Increase the quantity of “good mood” neurotransmitters like Serotonin.
  • Increase mind to body coordination which is very good especially for older persons.

If done properly, twelve repetitions of Sun Salutation (six pairs of Sun Salutation starting with one leg and then the other), go a long way. It takes roughly 30-40 seconds for one complete cycle (twelve postures flowing from one to the other). Add two minutes of relaxation at the end, to allow your body implement the “reset” you just performed, and you are ready for the new day.

Ten minutes all together in the morning will help you look at the unwinding life from a different perspective.

Among many Sun Salutation techniques, Sivananda Sun Salutation stands out as an graceful flow of twelve postures developed by Swami Sivananda, a practicing medical doctor (MD) before taking up monasticism, therefore developed by a person with knowledge of the human body. How you do it?  Check this link: Sun  salutation .

Comments (17)
sun salutation
1 Monday, 16 February 2009 18:11
krikardanu
i,ve a problm of tremour my hand before the people to write the letters even sign .now im doing sun salutation daily 12 steps(5times}.i feel very comfort,i did not have a problm of tremour.thanks to god of pathanjali
Re: sun salutation
2 Monday, 16 February 2009 19:16
Constantine
krikardanu,
Good to hear that sun salutation helped you.
I do myself sun salutation every day.
Six rounds though. One full round I consider two sun salutation-12 postures each. They say one round opens one chakra, hence after six rounds I open all six bodily chakras. For the seventh chakra (the crown - above your head) there is a lot more work to do. This last one is the attribute of enlightenment. Not there yet. That is why I meditate.
Cheers, Constantine
sun salutation-fittness
3 Monday, 16 February 2009 19:51
just me
My fitness coach at the club tells me that yoga and sun salutation loosen the joints and makes you prone for injuries. What are your thoughts?
Re: sun salutation-fitness
4 Monday, 16 February 2009 19:55
Cosg
Well, it sounds to me like a fitness coach that looses his clients to yoga.
I guess my point is that yoga has been around for a lot longer time than fitness clubs.
Cheers, Constantine
Re: sun salutation-fitness
5 Thursday, 12 March 2009 03:04
gopipog
A coach loosing clients to yoga indeed! As an international athlete & fitness guru I can confidently assure you looser joints will actually help you stay accident free rather than be more prone to injury. Think of twisting an ankle, happened to have happened to me a few days ago. If i did not stretch and maximize my joint flexibility I would surely need crutches for a month. If you do a lot of healthy active living and exercise the most important thing is to remember to stretch!
Re: sun salutation-fitness
6 Thursday, 12 March 2009 03:06
gopipog
Just for your information, I'm back on the courts playing basketball only 4 days after a really bad sprain. Coincidence? I think not!

- Andrew
thanking the site
7 Thursday, 26 August 2010 05:42
saanika
i'm now pregnant in just 05 minutes
querry
8 Wednesday, 06 July 2011 14:50
suhana rai
Can i reduce 10 kgs by sunsalutation .please do reply soon ....
Sun Salutation
9 Sunday, 26 February 2012 02:02
Manish Pratap SIngh Chandel
I have started exercise recently. I read about the Sun Salutation and want to enjoy its benefits but some of my friends told me that it will burn my body fat so fast that I shall end up becoming totally skinny and bony.
I want to make a pleasant personality with good chest, arm and solders with a good lower body and hips.
Could somebody help me to overcome my doubts.
Answer
10 Tuesday, 13 March 2012 01:13
Sachin
@Manish- Dont listen to your friend.Start doing sun salutation.it will tone your body nicely.You just try it for 1 week and feel the difference within.
@Suhana - Yes you can reduce 10 kg by doing sun salutation.But you have to be consistant.May be for 90 days
@Hi Sanika-- you are pregnant in 5 min?? wats that
Sun Salutation
11 Wednesday, 14 March 2012 04:34
Manish Pratap Singh Chandel
Thanks Sachin! Could you please help me out about how many rounds we need to do this. I am doing 5 Sun Salutations in starting.
Sun Salutation
12 Wednesday, 14 March 2012 04:43
Sun Salutation
Sorry not 5 its 3 rounds (12 poses for 1 round) everyday.
Sun Salutation
13 Wednesday, 14 March 2012 04:46
Manish Pratap Singh Chandel
Thanks Sachin! Now a days I started doing Sun Salutation.

Would somebody tell me how many rounds would be beneficial for a good toned body. I am doing 3 rounds (12 poses for 1 round) in a day.
Sun Salutation
14 Thursday, 03 May 2012 08:16
Srikanth.R
Hi,

I have high blood pressure problem. Can I still do Sun Salutation? I read about this in which it says, Sun Salutation gives "Increased blood oxygenation by copious lung ventilation and this is great news for your heart". Kindly clarify.
Sun Salute
15 Sunday, 08 July 2012 12:32
Lilly
I do it twice a day, morning and evening, for ten minutes each session. By the time I'm done I'm drenched in perspiration from head to foot. I find that when I stand up after I've much more power in my limbs than after other exercise. I have way more energy after a session of this too. You could use this prior to doing other exercise or not, as you prefer. It trims the waist and tones and stretches the whole body. Love it. It helps me sleep better too.
Sun Salutation
16 Monday, 14 October 2013 23:24
Punitha
I know a friend who lives a happier and healthier life by practicing 21 sets of sun salutation daily. He breaks even the 21 sets into 7 sets times three,after each seven sets he rest in savasana for 3 to 5 minutes. I tried doing the same, the first 3 days only 7 sets. The following three days 14 sets and now 21 sets.I complete my session with a short meditation and I am full of energy for the rest of the day. Om Namaste!
Sun Salutation
17 Monday, 14 October 2013 23:25
Punitha
I know a friend who lives a happier and healthier life by practicing 21 sets of sun salutation daily. He breaks even the 21 sets into 7 sets times three,after each seven sets he rest in savasana for 3 to 5 minutes. I tried doing the same, the first 3 days only 7 sets. The following three days 14 sets and now 21 sets.I complete my session with a short meditation and I am full of energy for the rest of the day. Om Namaste!
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In Section: Mind and body - This article belongs to category: Hatha yoga

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Nutritional content tables

Nutritional content tables    Find out how much calories, protein, carbs, cholesterol, vitamins and minerals your food contains.

Nutritional calculators

Nutritional calculators          How much food you need? What is your Body Mass Index (BMI), Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Body fat.

Depression test

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Glycemic index and load

Glycemic index and load table.           For both glycemic index and glycemic load the lower the better.