Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, is a sequence of yoga postures that pays homage to the sun. Practicing Surya Namaskar daily can offer a multitude of benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. This ancient practice, deeply rooted in traditional yoga, involves a series of 12 powerful poses performed in a specific sequence. Youngsters these days prefer going to the gym for overall fitness, however, a few reps of Surya Namaskar can give a desirable fitness outcome as well.While both are beneficial, Surya Namaskar integrates physical and mental wellness, whereas gym workouts emphasize physical fitness and strength.
Here are a few compelling reasons to make Surya Namaskar a daily practice:
Comprehensive physical workout
Surya Namaskar provides a full-body workout that engages multiple muscle groups and joints. The series of postures stretch and strengthen the entire body, enhancing flexibility and muscle tone. Key physical benefits include:

  • The postures stretch various muscles, including the spine, hamstrings, shoulders, and back, promoting overall flexibility.
  • Regular practice builds strength in the arms, legs, and core, contributing to better posture and reduced risk of injury.
  • Performing Surya Namaskar increases stamina and endurance by challenging the cardiovascular system.

Boosts cardiovascular health
Surya Namaskar is an excellent aerobic exercise that elevates the heart rate, thus improving cardiovascular health. The flowing sequence of movements increases blood circulation, delivering more oxygen to vital organs. Regular practice strengthens the heart muscles, improving overall heart function and reducing the risk of heart disease. The dynamic movements enhance blood flow throughout the body, promoting healthier arteries and veins. The calming nature of the practice helps to reduce stress, which can lower blood pressure over time.
Aids in weight loss
Surya Namaskar is an effective way to burn calories and support weight loss goals. The combination of physical exertion and increased metabolic rate can help manage weight effectively. Each round of Surya Namaskar burns a significant number of calories, contributing to overall weight loss. Regular practice stimulates the digestive system and metabolism, helping the body to burn calories more efficiently. The sequence tones muscles, which in turn can help in maintaining a healthy weight by improving muscle mass.
Enhances mental health
Surya Namaskar not only benefits the body but also profoundly impacts mental health. The practice involves mindful movement, controlled breathing, and a meditative focus, which can alleviate stress and anxiety. The rhythmic breathing and movement help to calm the mind, reducing stress and anxiety levels. The practice promotes a sense of inner peace and emotional stability, helping to manage mood swings and depression.

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Improves digestive health
Surya Namaskar stimulates the digestive system, promoting better digestion and assimilation of nutrients. The postures involve abdominal stretches and compressions that massage the digestive organs. The movements increase blood flow to the digestive tract, improving digestion and nutrient absorption. The stretching and contracting motions help to stimulate intestinal movement, relieving constipation.
Balances hormonal function
Surya Namaskar helps in regulating the endocrine system, which controls hormone production in the body. A balanced endocrine system can improve mood, energy levels, and overall health. The practice stimulates glands such as the thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary, promoting balanced hormone levels. Balanced hormones can enhance mood and energy levels, reducing symptoms of fatigue and depression. For women, regular practice can help in regulating menstrual cycles and reducing symptoms of menopause.
Promotes spiritual growth
Surya Namaskar has deep spiritual roots in yoga practice. It is traditionally performed at sunrise, honoring the sun as a source of energy and life. The practice fosters a deep connection between the body, mind, and spirit, promoting holistic well-being. The meditative aspect of Surya Namaskar helps to cultivate a sense of inner peace and contentment. Regular practice encourages self-reflection and mindfulness, leading to greater self-awareness and personal growth.
How to practice Surya Namaskar
To reap the full benefits of Surya Namaskar, consistency is key. Here’s a step-by-step guide to performing the sequence:

  • Pranamasana (Prayer Pose): Stand at the edge of your mat with feet together. Bring your palms together in front of your chest in a prayer position. Exhale.
  • Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose): Inhale and lift your arms up and back, keeping your biceps close to your ears. Stretch your whole body.
  • Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose): Exhale and bend forward from the waist, keeping your spine straight. Bring your hands down to the floor beside your feet.
  • Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose): Inhale and take your right leg back, dropping the knee to the floor. Look up, lifting your chest.
  • Dandasana (Stick Pose): Exhale and take your left leg back, bringing your body into a straight line. Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor.
  • Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight-Limbed Pose): Lower your knees, chest, and chin to the floor, keeping your hips slightly up. Your hands, feet, knees, chest, and chin should touch the floor.
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Slide forward and raise your chest up into the cobra pose. Keep your elbows bent and close to your body. Look up.
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose): Exhale and lift your hips, forming an inverted V-shape with your body. Keep your hands and feet on the floor.
  • Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose): Inhale and bring your right foot forward between your hands. Look up, lifting your chest.
  • Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot Pose): Exhale and bring your left foot forward. Bend down from your waist, keeping your palms on the floor.
  • Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose): Inhale and lift your arms up and back, stretching your whole body.
  • Pranamasana (Prayer Pose): Exhale and stand straight, bringing your palms together in front of your chest.
  • Repeat this sequence, starting with the left leg in step 4, to complete one full cycle. Aim for at least 5-10 cycles daily to experience the full benefits of Surya Namaskar.