Surya Namaskara, also known as the sun salutation in Yoga, is one of the most effective exercises currently known to man. There will be no life on the earth without the sun. The Surya Namaskaras or the Sun Salutations, are an ancient method of showing gratitude or paying respect to the sun, which is the source of all forms of life on the earth.
Surya Namaskara must be done at sun rise, ideally on an empty stomach. It is a series of twelve physical postures that alternate between bending forward, backward and stretching the spinal column to give the body a holistic workout.
The ancient Yogis say that the different parts of the body are governed by different devas or divine impulses of light. The Surya Namaskaras are a complete body workout. Doing 12 sets of this exercise in a span of 12 to 15 minutes, translates into doing 288 powerful yoga asanas. The Surya Namaskaras also form an incredible link between the warming-up poses and the intense yoga asanas.
Due to its numerous benefits, it is recommended to practice the Surya Namaskaras every day. Do you know? We only use about 35-40% of our muscles in our daily activities. However, Surya Namaskara is one of the few exercises that incorporates the use of almost 95-97% of our muscles and keeps them active all through the day.
Yoga instructors say that 12 reps of the Surya Namaskara routine are enough in terms of a daily workout. Some of the benefits are listed below:
- The stretching and compression of the abdominal organs helps tone the digestive system, curing any problems relating to digestion. Many runners are often troubled by digestive issues, especially when on a high-protein diet. Surya Namaskara helps cure these stomach related problems.
- It improves our posture by broadening the chest, toning the arms and strengthening the abdominal muscles. It helps to develop muscular and spinal flexibility, and it is also one of the best methods for weight loss.
- Surya Namaskara also ensures proper functioning of the nervous system.
- The ‘Pranayama’ exercise ventilates the lungs, oxygenates the blood, and detoxifies by ridding the body of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.
- For women, the advantages are much more! The Surya Namaskara gets rid of menstrual irregularity, assists in easy childbirth, it normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands, especially the thyroid gland, and it increases the production of breast milk, zero constipation, healthy glowing skin, ageless face and many more. It helps to shed the fat in areas such as hips, thighs, abdomen, chin and neck.
- Surya Namaskara is also great for kids in order to improve concentration and have a calm mind. It helps revitalize the nervous systems, which consist of brain and spinal cord.
- The Salute to the Sun, helps balance the three doshas: Pita, Kapha and Vata. These constitutions may go out of balance due to varying factors. Weather, food, day-to-day activities, stress management at work and hours of sleep can all affect the doshas. However, with regular practice of Surya Namaskara, you can actually keep your doshas in balance.
- Surya Namaskara is beneficial for the lungs and it helps decrease any chances of getting tuberculosis. It helps to improve the blood circulations, so as to prevent blood pressure issues and palpitation. Moreover, it can correct any problems in the functioning of different glands. Believe it or not, it can also increase your longevity.
- Surya Namaskara helps you sleep better, and calms your anxiety. We all know, a healthy body is one that gets enough sleep!
Like most Yoga exercises, the effects of the Surya Namaskara is experienced on three levels: body, mind and intellect. It trains your body to work equally in all these three aspects.
So begin your day with the Surya Namaskara! Not only will you see an immediate improvement in your other physical activities, but also the occurrence of common injuries will be less, your stamina will be greater and you will definitely notice the health benefits in the long run as well!
Show gratitude and let there be a smile on your face while doing your Salute to the Sun or Surya Namaskaras. Most importantly, it is vital to remember that you need to have grace, perform it at a slow pace and do it with awareness on your breath.