Surya Namaskar literally translated to mean sun-salutation is actually a part of daily religious prayer practised in India. Nowadays, this cycle of linked asanas (yoga poses) has evolved from being part of a religious practice to one that is linked to overall health, and has become a popular form of exercise for many.
One of the things constantly touted as a benefit to to doing yoga is weight loss. While it is true that you do get fitter and weight loss is one of the perks, there is much more to the Surya Namaskar than weight loss. This yogic exercise is beneficial to both body and mind – it promotes alertness, mobility, sharpness while helping improve your physical strength and will power.
Practice maketh perfect
The exercise has to be done with correct technique and proper posture and only then will you be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Many think that it just consists of easily executed stretches and that yoga won’t pose much of a challenge. These people may change their minds after doing a few rounds of sun salutations!
Many celebrities swear by yoga as a way of keeping fit and performing 100 Surya Namaskars a day will certainly help you achieve your fitness goals, and a lean figure too. However, take note that this can be challenging and you should build up to that number – 100 a day is hard work!
Your focus should also be on perfecting the asanas and techniques involved rather than rushing through the sequence just to get to that number quicker. An obsession with the number of rounds you can do instead of focussing on the technique will expose your body to a high risk of injury rather than benefitting it. So, try to focus on getting the postures right rather than hitting those numbers, since the very essence of this yogic exercise lies in perfecting every move.
Yoga is not a quick fix for rapid weight loss; if that’s all you’re after then you’re missing out on a whole host of other benefits; it benefits your overall health, it helps to calm the mind and keeps you focussed - it has a lot to offer and all you need is just discipline and commitment. No fancy tools, gadgets or expensive equipment needed! Once you make it a habit and a part of your routine, be ready for the positive changes in your life – body, mind and soul!
As you perfect the exercise, you will make full use of almost 95% of the muscles in your body. This helps keep muscles fit and enables smooth functioning. It is most effective if performed early in the morning on an empty stomach. Note that 50 Surya Namaskars is equivalent to doing 100 sit-ups and pull-ups! Each Surya Namaskar has 12 steps and it burns 2.3 Kilocalories of energy each time you complete the steps/poses.
Self-taught Yoga or Yoga under the guidance of a teacher?
It is always better to learn any form of exercise under the supervision and guidance of a teacher. Try to avoid teaching yourself the science and postures by reading books and watching YouTube videos, you never know where you can go wrong! Imperfect postures will result in side effects and instead of benefits, you might cause injury to yourself.
Also when selecting your guru, try to check on their qualifications and credentials – what discipline of yoga they follow, will it suit you? Remember, expensive is not necessarily the best, so not every high and fancy “guru” is a good guide for you. Ask friends and family for reviews on the guru/teacher.
So what exactly are the steps in Surya Namaskar?
The following are the points that must be kept in mind before commencing on the exercise:
- It is best done early morning on an empty stomach.
- You might find several versions of the Sun Salutation. Ideally it is best to stick to one particular method/version and practice it regularly for best results under the guidance of a teacher.
Do not expect to see or feel the difference all at once - remember only with time, discipline and commitment will you be able to reap the benefits.