How 10 Minutes of Surya Namaskar Can Improve Your Physical and Mental Well-being

In today’s work-from-home situation, physical activity has taken a back seat for most of us. You want to keep yourself fit but are unable to squeeze in time for a high-intensity workout session. In that case, Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation, as it is known in English, is a great exercise for your body and requires just 10 minutes!


WHAT IS SURYA NAMASKAR?

The sun is the ultimate source of life and energy, and in India, people have offered prayers to the sun for centuries. Literally, the word ‘Surya Namaskar’ means ‘salutations to the Sun’. However, etymologically it has a profound meaning. ‘Surya’ means the one who expands and illuminates the world’. ‘Namaskar’ means ‘to bow one’s head with complete gratitude and offer oneself to the other wholeheartedly without being biased’. Thus, when you perform Surya Namaskar, you bow with complete reverence before the sun. Typically, Surya Namaskar involves 12 yoga asanas as illustrated below.

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The 12 Steps of Surya Namaskar via Yogamoha

A FULL BODY WORKOUT IN 10 MINUTES?

First, let’s look at the number of calories we burn in 30 minutes with different exercises. In weightlifting, you can burn 199 calories; in tennis, around 232 calories; in football, 298 calories, and running will burn approximately 414 calories.

Can you guess how many calories does Surya Namaskar burn? 417 in 30 minutes. Technically, that translates into burning 139 calories in 10 minutes. That’s more than what we can burn even after 10 minutes of swimming! Thus, this Yoga asana is also known as ‘The Ultimate Asana’.


Also See | When Yoga was Banned in India

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SURYA NAMASKAR

Surya Namaskar has numerous advantages for the body and mind. Some of them are:


1. Improves flexibility and tones the muscles:

Surya Namaskar helps improve your body posture and increases flexibility. All the asanas or steps focus on different muscle groups and nerve centres called Chakras and help tone your body, including arms, legs, and abdomen.


2. Improves metabolism and promotes weight loss:

The Yoga asana of Surya Namaskar activates the digestive tract by producing the right kind of digestive juices. This increases your metabolism, which helps burn all the extra calories and get rid of all the toxins. As a result, it improves digestion and aids weight loss if you follow a balanced diet.


3. Maintains hormonal balance:

If done at a fast pace, Sun Salutation acts as a quick cardio workout for your arms, abs, and thighs. It improves heart health by enhancing blood circulation that results in low cholesterol levels. Proper blood circulation stimulates the glands and helps achieve good hormonal balance.


4. Makes hair healthier:

These asanas improve blood circulation to the scalp, thus, preventing hair loss and encouraging healthy hair growth. It also helps prevent greying of hair.

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Image Source: Pexels

5. Increases energy and self-awareness:

Along with asanas, Surya Namaskar follows specific breathing patterns. It enables deep relaxation to the body and mind. This sharpens our senses and increases self-awareness which results in increased energy levels.


6. Brings emotional stability:

In today’s fast-paced life, it has become essential to take care of our mental health and be emotionally stable. Deep breathing techniques coupled with specific yoga poses provide relaxation to the nerve cells. It positively impacts the functioning of the brain and ensures a balance between the right and left sides of the brain.


7. Gives you glowing skin:

By now, we know that Surya Namaskar results in good blood circulation, relaxation, and better digestion. It also helps us sleep better. All these benefits result in nice glowing skin without the need for any external or chemical treatments.


8. Benefits for women:

Practising these asanas regularly regulates irregular menstrual cycles and enhances the hormonal secretions of certain glands, thus, alleviating disorders like PCOS and PCOD.


9. Psychological Benefits:

Surya Namaskar has many psychological benefits as well. It improves memory, enhances our decision-making, intuition and confidence. It also helps deal with anxiety and insomnia. The benefits of practising Sun Salutation are manifold. Thus, making this exercise a daily habit is a great first step towards starting your day.

WHEN CAN YOU PERFORM SURYA NAMASKAR?

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Image Source: Pexels

It can be done at any time of the day. However, the best time to perform these asanas is during sunrise. This is because the sun rays help energize your body and refresh your mind. Practising it around dusk will help you in unwinding your body.

Thus, even if you miss your Surya Namaskar in the morning, you can practice it in the evening. Just make sure you do it with an empty stomach.

Also See | Scientific Reasons behind Indian Superstitions

DO'S AND DONT'S OF SURYA NAMASKAR

It is always better to learn and follow the instructions of a professional yoga teacher. However, here are some useful tips that you can keep in mind while performing Sun Salutations.


1. Maintain correct body postures

2. Follow the steps in order

3. Maintain proper and rhythmic breathing

4. Increase the number of repetitions gradually

5. Beginners can start with a couple of warm-up stretches and end with relaxation poses such as Shavasana.

6. Wear comfortable clothing

7. Start the exercises at a slow pace

8. Don’t force yourself if you’re not able to perform the required pose

9. Don’t be in a hurry about the number of repetitions you can do

10. Follow a healthy and balanced diet


On the whole, inculcating the discipline of practising these simple steps of Surya Namaskar daily, can bring significant changes in various aspects of our lives. Moreover, people of all age groups can perform these exercises. Thus, Surya Namaskar is a wonderful workout to overcome all the issues brought about by today’s sedentary lifestyle.

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AUTHOR

Ria Kanchan

Pratha Content Writer