9 Things That’ll Happen to Your Body If You Do Sun Salutations Every Day
The Sun Salutation, known as the Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, is a set of 12 repetitive asanas said to come with a number of health benefits. For example, the inverted poses like the downward dog can help better blood flow and circulation. It’s a superb exercise, one that can be done minus any equipment, and one that can be modified for any age and proficiency level. And while much of yoga is steeped in legend, we bring you some scientific proof to our claims.
On that note, Bright Side collated some of the many benefits of the Sun Salutation. And why it can do so much for your mental and physical well-being.
1. It burns 400+ calories in 30 minutes.
A single Sun Salutation is a set of 12 asanas or poses and is dubbed as one round. Each Sun Salutation round burns about 13.90 calories, if done fast, and takes about 30 seconds to a minute to complete. If you take a minute to complete one round and do 30 in 30 minutes, you burn 417 calories.
Of course, this speed and number of Sun Salutations will take time and practice to achieve. If you are just starting out, it’s best to take it slow. And the good thing is, even the slower practice has similar health benefits.
2. It’s a full-body workout, that adds muscle strength and flexibility.
The Sun Salutation can be done fast or slow. If done speedily, it turns into a cardio exercise with moderate intensity, better than walking but lesser in intensity than running. It utilizes all the major muscle groups of the body and helps in toning and weight loss.
While more exhaustive studies are needed to pinpoint the exact changes that can happen to a body by doing Sun Salutations, remember, it’s called a complete workout. It helps in the stretching of the muscles and strengthens the joints as well.
3. Sun Salutations regulate metabolism and digestion.
Some poses of the Sun Salutation, as we will illustrate at the end of this article, compress and stretch the digestive organs of the body. If performed in the morning on an empty stomach, it can rid the body of toxins and aid in better digestion, overall.
Along with better digestion, a Sun Salutation, as with any moderately-paced, regularly-practiced exercise, can improve metabolism. Basically, if you eat healthy along with the regular practice, it can aid in weight loss and the better absorption of nutrients in the body.
4. It betters thyroid functions and other hormones in the body.
Studies indicate that the regular practice of a Sun Salutation can balance thyroid levels in the body because one of the poses in it compresses and stretches the thyroid gland. It can also help regulate insulin levels in the body in those with Type 2 diabetes, regulate the other hormones produced in the body, and help women regulate menstrual cycles as well.
5. It betters cardiovascular and neural health.
Practicing Sun Salutations regularly can better cholesterol levels according to a study. Other studies show that even moderate-speed practice, the kind that burns fewer calories, also improves cardiovascular function.
Of course, it’s not just Sun Salutations or yoga, any and all exercise betters heart health. So it’s always a good idea to be on the move as much as your lifestyle and health will allow.
6. It can be performed at any age, in easy or difficult formats.
The Sun Salutation in its original form is quite the workout. But it can be modified and made easier for the elderly, or those with injuries and mobility issues. While the calorie loss may not be as significant, there is always benefit in any amount or kind of exercise.
7. Regular practice betters immunity.
Yoga is also considered beneficial for anyone who wants to raise their immunity levels, which is very pertinent in today’s world. The regular practice of Sun Salutations promotes better health and improved bodily functions, this improves immunity as well. More because of the pranayama, as in the breathing exercise that goes along with the asanas.
8. The inversion poses aid in better sleep and mental balance.
In a controlled study, where some women did yoga (including Sun Salutations) and others did aerobic exercise, results showed that better sleep came with the practice of the former. In the inversion poses in Sun Salutations, where the head is lower than the spine, the blood rushes to the head. It is thought this improves sleep and sharpens mental acuity as well.
9. Improves overall health and increases energy levels.
Practicing Sun Salutations adds to every aspect of your life, as it improves mental and physical health. Studies show it reduces stress or rather the impact of stress on you. Considering it is a greeting to the very source of all energy on Earth, it also makes you more energetic and balanced.
10. This is how to do a Sun Salutation.
This is how to perform the 12 steps of a Sun Salutation, as shown in the picture above, moving left to right.
- Pranamasana (prayer pose): Start by standing with your feet slightly apart. Fold your hands, bring them to your chest in Namaste, and bow your head. Inhale & exhale calmly.
- Hastauttasana (standing backward bend): Start with a deep inhale and raise your hands above your head, making sure your ears remain centered between your arms. Bend your body backward and suck in your stomach. Hold the pose and your breath for 10-15 seconds.
- Padahastasana (standing forward bend): Exhale and bend forward, extending your spine. Touch your toes and if you can go lower, place your palms flat on the floor, keeping your knees straight. Go as far as you can without bending your knees.
- Ashwasanchalasana (equestrian pose): Now inhale and lift your left leg back, keeping your hands on the floor. Place your toes and knee on the floor and simultaneously, bend the right knee, keeping yourself straight from the waist up. The right knee should be between your arms. Look up as much as you can, exhaling and rolling your eyes upward, toward the sun.
- Kumbhakasana (plank pose): Inhale and move your right leg back while raising your left knee to be parallel with the right, keeping your toes on the ground. Lower the hips and spine while keeping your hands flat on the ground. Your body will form a table or plank that’s parallel to the ground, with your arms straight. Exhale.
- Ashtanga Namaskar (eight-point salutation): Inhale and lower knees to the ground while bending the elbows. Exhale and touch your chest to the ground, along with your chin. The stomach and abs need to be pulled in and held to avoid contact with the floor.
- Bhujangasana (cobra pose): Inhaling and move forward, raising your body starting with the spine before straightening your arms. Keep the lower body in line from the pelvis and your feet flat on the ground. Remember not to hunch your shoulders.
- Parvatasana (downward dog): Exhale and raise your body from the hips. Move your feet so you are lying flat on the ground, keeping your knees straight. The spine should be extended as you look down and form a mountain peak with your body, with the hips being the highest.
- Ashwasanchalasana (equestrian pose): Inhale and come back to the equestrian pose. Make sure the opposite leg goes back. The left leg should now be in the front and the right leg back, mirroring the pose in step 4.
- Padahastasana (standing forward bend): Exhale and bring the right leg forward, straightening both legs to stand while keeping your front body bent down, palms flat on the ground, or touching your toes.
- Hastauttasana (standing backward bend): Inhale and straighten your upper body keeping the spine extended, bringing your arms up above your head with the ears centered between them. Bend backward and hold for 10-15 seconds.
- Pranamasana: Exhale and come forward, straightening the spine. Bring your arms down into the Namaste pose of step 1.
Have you practiced Sun Salutations before? What has been your experience with yoga, and what changes did it make to your life and health?
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