Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation): 12 yoga poses for Weight Loss

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Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar means to bow down to the Sun, it is an ancient way of showing gratitude to the sun in the morning. Sun is the source of all forms of life on earth. The element of Sun exists in everything we eat, drink and breathe.

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a set of 12 asanas or yoga postures. It is a complete body workout in itself. Regular practice of Surya Namaskar benefits in strengthening the back, it helps strengthen up the muscles, helps in increasing flexibility, improves blood circulation throughout the body, helps women regulate irregular menstrual cycles, it has many other health benefits also. It is a great cardiovascular workout if done at fast pace and helps in weight loss.  It helps to tone the body and strengthen the muscles if done at a slow pace, it also improves flexibility as we stretch our body.

The best part about  Sun Salutation is that it works out best for the super busy people, who are always in the crunch of time but still want to remain healthy. As per Yoga experts doing 12 sets of Surya Namaskar translates into doing 288 powerful yoga poses in a span of 12 to 15 minutes.

Here goes the calculation for 288 yoga poses in 12 minutes!*

One round of Sun Salutation consists of 12 yoga poses. One set consists of two rounds of Sun Salutation: first stretching the right side of your body and then the left side. So, when you do 12 sets of Sun Salutation, you are completing 12 sets x 2 rounds in each set x 12 yoga poses in each = 288 yoga poses within 12 to 15 minutes.

Surya Namaskar calorie calculation:*

An average weighing person burns upto 13.90 calories in one round of Sun Salutation. You can now set a target for yourself. You can gradually increase the number of rounds of Surya Namaskar and become more lean, toned and fitter.

Complete Guide to Surya Namaskar

 Things to know before you start Surya Namaskar

  • It should be done when your stomach and bowels are empty. Best time to do is morning. If you are doing it in the evening make sure you don’t eat  in the last 3-4 hrs.
  • If you are a beginner don’t overstretch yourself. Always listen to your body. It is advisable to do it under supervision of  a yoga teacher/expert.
  • Breathing patterns of inhalation and exhalation is important at the time of transitioning from one pose to another. Continue to breathe normally while in a yoga posture.
  • Ideally you should practice 12 sets everyday, which is 12 round of right side and 12 rounds of left side. But if you are a beginner and find it difficult start with atleast 3 sets of Sun Salutation everyday, which is 3 rounds of right side and 3 rounds of left side  and increase the sets gradually.

How to do Surya Namaskar ( Sun Salutation)

Step by step guide to Surya Namaskar : 12 yoga Poses  ¦ Surya Namaskar Steps

Step 1 Pranamasana (Prayer pose)

Stand straight at the front of your mat, keeping your feet in V position. Look straight, expand your chest and relax your shoulders. As you inhale raise both your arms and as you exhale bring your palms together in front of the chest just a few inches below where your rib cage meets in the namaskar (prayer) pose. If you want to stay long in a pose continue to breathe normally.

Step 2 Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms pose)

While inhaling, lift the arms up and bend back backward, keeping the arms inline with the ears, head and neck relaxed. This posture helps to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers. Make sure to continue breathing.

Step 3 Pada Hastasana (Hand to Foot pose)

While exhaling, bend forward from the waist, keeping the arms in line with the ears and the spine erect. As you exhale completely, bring the hands down to the floor, beside the feet. Your hands should be inline with your feet. If you can’t reach the floor, go down as far as you can without bending the knees. Push yourself further towards the knees with a exhale. If you can’t reach the floor, in order to move to asana bend your knees and place your arms on the floor inline with your feet.

Step 4 Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

While inhaling, push your right leg back, as far back as possible. Bring the right knee to the floor, pushing the hips forward and lookup. Continue to breathe normally if you wish to stay longer in each posture.

Step 5 Parvatasana Or Mountain Or downward dog pose

While Breathing out, take the left leg back, lift the hips and the tail bone up, chest downwards in an ‘inverted V’ (/\) posture or mountain pose. If possible, try to keep the heels on the ground and make a gentle effort to push your hips backward, going deeper into the stretch.

Step 6 Ashtanga Namaskara (Saluting with eight points or parts)

 As you inhale, firstly, come into the plank position by lowering yourself and bring the whole body in a straight line and then move further to Ashtanga Namaskar which is eight points touching the ground by gently bringing your knees, chest and forehead down to the floor. The two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and forehead  (eight parts of the body) should touch the floor. As you exhale, gently release your feet, hips, chest and chin.

Step 7 Bhujangasana(Cobra pose)

Inhale and raise the chest up into the cobra posture. You may keep your elbows bent in this pose, the shoulders away from the ears. Look up. Make sure to lift your upper body as much as possible with the strength of your back without the support of your arms. Ensure deep breathing while in cobra pose.

Step 8 Parvatasana(Mountain pose)

As you exhale, lift the hips and the tail bone up, chest downwards in an ‘inverted V’ (/\) posture, coming into mountain pose or downward dog pose. If possible, try to keep the heels on the ground and make a gentle effort to push your hips backward, going deeper into the stretch.

Step 9 Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

While breathing in, bring the right foot forward, placing it exactly between the two hands, left knee down to the floor, push the hips down and look up, The right foot should be beside the right hand and inline with it.

In this position, make a gentle effort to push the hips down towards the floor, to deepen the stretch.

Step 10 Pada Hastasana (Hand to foot pose)

While breathing out, bring the left foot forward beside your right foot. Keep the palms on the floor. You may bend the knees, if necessary. Continue to breathe and with every exhale push yourself further down.

Step 11 Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms pose)

As you inhale, roll the spine up from the waist, keeping the spine erect, the upper body should go up along with the arms and bend backward a little bit. Ensure that the hands are in line with the ears throughout.

Step 12 The Pranamasana ( Prayer Pose)

As you exhale, first straighten the body keeping your arms inline with the ears, and then bring the arms down. Relax in this position, and observe your breath and other sensations in the body.

Now the same set of asanas should be repeated to stretch the left side. Watch the video for more details.

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