7 Incredible Benefits of Surya Namaskar

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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For yoga practitioners, surya namaskar is a well-known part of their practice, but it can have benefits for other people who practice it too!

What is Surya Namaskar?

Surya namaskar is commonly known as a sun salutation and is a warm-up routine before a session of yogic practice. The reference to the sun in these salutations comes from one of the philosophies of yoga, in which the sun is the source of all power and is closely connected to our individual souls. This particular yoga warm-up is designed to pay respect and homage to the sun, the giver of life. There is no precise definition of what this series of asanas (controlled movements and positions in yogi practice) look like, although there are some varieties. Most yogis design their own series of positions and asanas as a personalized surya namaskar.

A lady performing surya namaskar on a mountain

Surya namaskar helps strengthen the body, boost circulation, and improve brain function. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How to Do Surya Namaskar?

A surya namaskar is intended to open up the solar plexus, the part of the body traditionally linked to the sun. Most yogis will perform one of these salutations each day, although some will open every session of their yoga practice with a sun salutation, even if it is in the evening. As mentioned, some have their own surya namaskar, but a common series of poses is as follows;

  • Prayer Pose
  • Raised Arms Pose
  • Hand to Foot Pose
  • Equestrian Pose
  • Stick Pose
  • Saluting with 8 Points
  • Cobra Pose
  • Mountain Pose
  • Equestrian Pose
  • Hand to Foot Pose
  • Raised Arms Pose
  • Relax Position

Surya Namaskar Benefits

Surya namaskar strengthens the body, boosts circulation and brain function, promotes weight loss, lowers stress levels, and balances hormonal fluctuations, among others.

Improves Circulation

Beginning your day or workout with this warm-up will help get your blood flowing to the extremities, ensuring that you have enough oxygen in all of your organs and muscle groups. This can increase overall energy levels, and provide a healthy boost to your morning.

Weight Loss

By stimulating the metabolism first thing in the morning, you can help kickstart your body into burning calories and fat passively throughout the day. If you do a sun salutation before a yoga practice session, it will prepare your body and metabolism for the exercise to come; you will likely see a change in your weight based on adding this to your daily routine.

Eases Menstruation

Research has found that performing sun salutations can help regulate menstrual cycles, particularly in women who have irregular periods. By helping to regulate menstruation, surya namaskar can improve mood and allow you to take back control of your life.

Skin Care

By lowering stress levels and improving circulation, this morning practice can help boost your complexion and protect against breakouts and inflammation on the skin.

Boosts Brain Function

Perhaps best known for its effects on mental health, it builds focus and concentration and prevents memory loss. Also, beginning each day with a centering, relaxing, and healthy sun salutation can help lower stress hormones and prevent chronic inflammation and diseases that can often follow.

Hair Care

It is reported that people who regularly practice surya namaskar have improved hair health, likely due to the boost in circulation, which means more nutrients and oxygen to the scalp.

Better Posture

Using this morning warm-up can help regulate your posture all day. Many people struggle to maintain a healthy posture, which can have long-term negative effects, which include poor circulation, arthritis, and respiratory problems. By concentrating on posture first thing in the morning, you can be proactive about it for the rest of the day.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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