Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar is a sequence of Twelve powerful yoga poses. Apart from being a fantastic cardiovascular exercise, it’s also considered to have a profoundly positive effect on your body and mind.
There is a great deal of contradiction in the origins of Surya Namaskar. Some practitioners claim that it was created 2500 years ago during the Vedic period. It was practiced as a ritual that included prostrating towards the rising sun, chanting mantras, offering rice and water. Others claim that this is a relatively new technique developed in the 20th century by the Raja of Aundh.
Every yoga practitioner usually begins with Sun Salutation. As Sri K. Pattabhi Jois said, “No asana practice is complete without sun worship. Without focusing on mental energy, practicing yoga is nothing more than gymnastics and, as such, loses its sense and proves fruitless. Indeed, Surya Namaskara should never be mistaken for mere physical activity – for anything incidental, that simply precedes the asanas of yoga.”
Surya Namaskar is one of the main basic yoga practices; however, it has a great deal of importance in yoga world. It strengthens the entire body and is a prayer of gratitude to the sun. It is also ideal for those looking to perform rigorous workouts in a short period of time. Suppose you manage to complete the 12 yoga poses of the yoga sequence. In that case, it is equal to 288 healthy yoga postures.
Surya Namaskar is best done in the morning on an empty stomach. Each round of Sun Salutation consists of two sets, each of which consists of 12 yoga poses. You may find several versions of how to practice Sun Salutation. However, I think that it’s better to stick to a single version and practice it frequently for the greatest result.
What Does Science Say About Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)?
An article published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies points out that regular practice of Surya Namaskar may maintain or improve cardiorespiratory fitness and promote weight management.
Another pilot study from the Department Of Physiology, Mahadevappa Rampure Medical College, also supports that regular Surya Namaskar practice improves cardiopulmonary efficiency in healthy adolescents and is a beneficial exercise for both males and females.
Even though this yoga sequence has existed for centuries, the research community has recently shifted its focus toward it. Thus, many studies have been successfully carried out. However, the current data is not enough to fully understand the secret behind Surya Namaskar, and further research is required.
Mody, Bhavesh Surendra. “Acute effects of Surya Namaskar on the cardiovascular & metabolic system.” Journal of bodywork and movement therapies 15.3 (2011): 343-347./
Bhutkar, Pratima M., et al. “Effect of suryanamaskar practice on cardio-respiratory fitness parameters: A pilot study.” Al Ameen J Med Sci 1.2 (2008): 126-129.
Sinha, B., et al. “Energy cost and cardiorespiratory changes during the practice of Surya Namaskar.” Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 48.2 (2004): 184-190.