Are you one of those who took an annual membership in a gym with an aim to get fit, but gave up in a week or two? This is what 60% of the people do after joining a gym. First of all, the gym is not the only place you can go to if you aim to become fit. You can play some sport or practice yoga. Over the years a lot of people have been practicing Surya Namaskar for weight loss and other benefits. If you are willing to learn this form of yoga, then read on.
Surya Namaskar has been considered as one of the best techniques to lose weight. It is an ancient practice, which is very powerful and something that been religiously practiced for many centuries. With a regular practice, your body becomes flexible and strong. Yogic practitioners also say that it boosts metabolism and helps us in building muscles. It is hard to find a fitness program these days that deliver these kinds of benefits in a short duration.
So, let’s now jump in and understand more about Surya Namaskar and the ways in which you can lose weight.
What is Surya Namaskar?
Surya Namaskar is a sequence of body postures, it is also known as the sun salutation. Every pose or asanas is performed by stretching, first towards the right side of the body, then by the left side. This will mark one round of Surya Namaskar. Twelve rounds, i.e. a set of twenty-four asanas have to be performed. These asanas have an incredible impact on our human body. To keep it simple, It is a total body work out.
How it can help in weight loss?
All of the postures in sun salutation range from stretching and flexing the muscles, while rhythmically breathing in and out. If you can practice this the first thing in the morning every day, your body will get an incredible workout. All your core muscles will become stronger and you will notice a difference in the way you feel, your metabolism will increase and thereby help you lose weight.
History of Surya Namaskar
Surya Namaskar is at least 2500 years old. It is known from some ancient sources that it originated during the Vedic era as a ritual that was performed in the morning with mantras, offerings of rice and flowers. It is a practice of offering thanks to Surya (Sun).
As per Hindu mythology, Surya is the solar deity, who is the son of Indra. In the Hindu literature, Surya is mentioned as the visible form of god that people can see every day. The shaivates and vaishnavites regard Surya as an aspect of Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu.
The Hindu mythology also describes the sun as the vision of the divine, it is the symbol of the supreme. Surya also is regarded as the most popular god in the Vedas. In Rig Veda, he is worshipped as Savitr, who is the one and only source of life.
Surya Namaskar Benefits
- Stress buster: Surya Namaskar helps in reducing the stress level and improves your memory. After practicing Surya Namaskar, you will feel quite calm and productive
- Better blood circulation: Surya Namaskar is not just a physical activity; it is also a good mental activity. Since this includes breathing techniques, the lungs are constantly ventilated and your blood is regularly oxygenated. It is one of the best ways to remove any toxic gases from your body.
- Surya Namaskar for weight loss: These days people are struggling with weight issues due to bad lifestyle choices. This practice involves stretching of your core muscles, thereby reducing excess weight and fat around your belly region. A regular practice also helps you in toning your body and keeping your fit and young
Surya Namaskar poses and how to do it?
There are multiple variations of Surya Namaskar, however, sticking to one and practicing it regularly shows better results. Below mentioned are 12 poses of Surya Namaskar. (Please use a yoga mat for this practice)
Stand straight on the mat; broaden the shoulders with hands by your side. Now, begin to inhale, lift both your hands together in the namaskar mudra while you exhale.
Now, from the prayer pose, raise your hands up and backward. You will have to stretch your body from toes to the tips of your finger. It is important to note that you do not bend backward while stretching, just ensure you stretch properly.
Raise your arms and slowly bend down from your waist and touch the floor with both your palms. While doing this, your back should be erect. You will have to keep your knees straight, however, this comes with practice. When you are in this position try to keep your palm in one position and not move them.
Breathe in, slowly push back your left leg. Your right knee has to be in between both your palms. Your left knee should be touching the ground along with your foot bend down. Look up and stay in the position and straighten your foot by balancing it on the floor with the help of your toes.
Bring your leg backward and try to balance your body on both your palms. You should ensure that your body is straight as a stick and place your toes on the mat.
Now, slowly bring your knees down on the floor, push your hips back and slide forward and then rest your chin on the floor. Remain in this position for some time.
From the previous pose, now raise your chest up by sliding yourself forward. Ensure your hands are bent and you’re looking up. Half of your body should be in the air and the other half on the floor.
Adho mukh savanna
You will have to now lift your waist up placing your hands and legs on the floor. Placing your hands in the same position, slowly move your feet forward and remain in that pose.
Now get back to pose number 4 mentioned above, from downward dog position, bend down, bring your left leg forward between your palms. Make sure that your right leg is straight and is touching the floor.
From the downward dog position, try touching the floor with both the palms. While doing this you should have an erect back. This will take time if you are starting out, but with practice, you will be able to achieve it. Try to straighten your knees and try and touch your head to your knees.
Now slowly come up and straighten your body and begin stretching your body from toes to your fingertips.
Finally, as your breath out, bring your hands down by your side and relax.
Surya namaskar mantras
There are 2 ways of performing the Surya Namaskar i.e. with the mantra and without it. Each of the above-mentioned poses has a specific mantra that can be chanted while performing each pose.
Here are the 12 poses and their corresponding mantra:
Here is a video tutorial that will guide you on the practice.
Surya Namaskar is a very powerful practice. If you can include this practice in your daily schedule, your life will transform in many ways. It may take time to perfect this art form, but it is definitely worth your time.