Surya Namaskar for Beginners : 6 ways it helps you besides Fat Loss
A lot of you who wallow in New Year health resolutions every year about getting fitter & eating healthy, sticking to the resolution becomes an uphill battle after the first weekend. All that excitement starts mellowing down to taking a few pictures for your Instagram! You most probably don’t see any WEIGHT LOSS or GAIN at the end of the first week. So, that’s enough demotivation for you, right? 🙁 Now, is that how you really want to spend the rest of your life? Like, REALLY? What if I tell you Surya Namaskar can take you by surprise, if fitness is what you’re targeting? Or even weight loss, may be?
NO. I’m not here to give you bland sermons on how Yoga helps your health & all. Because, honestly, I NEVER believed that doing Yoga would ever affect my almost non-existent fitness. I was one of those who’d scoff at anyone watching a Yoga tutorial or purchasing books or DVDs about it.
FAST FORWARD to this day, I’m a passionate junkie for strength training & cardio. I do my circuits with burpees, weights & cardio thrice a week with Yoga 2 days a week.
So, if I say that Surya Namaskar helped me with the building blocks of my fitness that I began working on (after turning 25), I don’t have to plead you into trusting me! Do I? 🙂
It was until 3 years ago that I decided to put an end to all the excuses of being a full-time mom on a long career break.
We all have just one life; & taking time out to live it with less sick days should be our call. Perhaps that’s the best epiphany I’ve had besides realizing why new year resolutions don’t work! 😉
Fitness amidst a busy life is not a feat. It’s ESSENTIAL!
Well, that’s only if you don’t want to remember how many pills you need to toss into your mouth after your breakfast, lunch & dinner EVERY SINGLE DAY somewhere from your 40’s or even before!
Now, if you’re somebody who has always been confused to take the plunge into fitness, or are still sizing up your possibilities of joining a gym or Yoga class, Surya Namaskar could just be your right shot!
I’ll tell you why!
WHY DO SURYA NAMASKAR?
Surya Namaskar, or Sun-Salutation is the one of the most potent forms of Yoga, which packs all the essentials of a great workout routine into 1 package.
My sister-in-law who’s a doctor herself recommended doing it since I was obsessed with losing weight without any side-effects. And I must say, ever since I began practicing it regularly, I sensed how my core & overall body strength started to get better by the day. As though I were moulding my chubby frame into a fitter & stronger one over a decent period of 3 months!
How Surya Namaskar helped ME personally
As a beginner, I craved for dollops of motivation. Like I mentioned at the start, when you don’t see any noticeable change within the first week of starting a fitness routine, your impatient mind compels you to QUIT. Doesn’t it?
BUT, whatever happened to ME after doing Surya Namaskar for 5 days a week, twice a day, the results helped me set the tone for my fitness journey.
My focus became clearer. I began to feel sure about taking away something special, if not great. And, believe me, it wasn’t just a psychological “feel-good” factor anymore. I started with doing 5-6 rounds of Surya Namaskaras for the first week & gradually increased the repetitions as my flexibility improved day after day.
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How SURYA NAMASKAR actually works
One round of Surya Namaskar consists of 12 powerful Yoga postures/asanas, which burns up to 14 calories for a person of average built!
As the diction of the name goes, Surya Namaskar is best practiced at dawn on an empty stomach. This helps the body warm up & break from the yawning & daydreaming mode! That’s because on an empty stomach, it’s relatively meaningful to burn unwanted calories (from the body fat, & not from the recently ingested food). This potentially helps make more oxygen available to our body parts then.
If you find it difficult to do it early in the morning, you can always do it around sunset after a considerable gap following the last meal. When done during the early evening, it helps you relax.
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HOW TO DO IT?
The 12 Asanas:
STEP 1: Pranamasana
Start to breathe in as you bring both the palms together in the Prayer pose.
STEP 2: Hastauttanasana
Raise both the arms by arching your back as the image depicts while breathing in deeply. This posture really gives a great stretch across the length of the back.
STEP 3: Hastapadasana
This includes bending forward to touch the feet trying not to bend the knees while breathing out.
STEP 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Put your right foot forward while keeping the left leg back as the image shows. Breathe in as you look up.
STEP 5: Dandasana
Continue to breathe in as you hold your body up with the help of your hands on the floor. This position is strikingly similar to that of a plank and greatly strengthens the abdomen muscles, thereby working up to the core.
STEP 6: Ashtanga Namaskara
Breathe out as you slowly put your chin to rest on the floor and raise your rear as in the image.
STEP 7: Bhujangasana
Inhale deeply again as you go on to arch your upper half as illustrated. This posture is known to enhance blood circulation.
STEP 8: Parvatasana
The position resembles the silhouette of a mountain, ‘parvat’. Breathe out slowly as you go about it.
STEP 9: Ashwa Sanchalasana
(Repeat Step 4)
STEP 10: Hastapadasana
(Repeat Step 3)
STEP 11: Hastauttanasana
(Repeat Step 2)
STEP 12: Tadasana
Stand straight bringing the arms down while breathing out & just relax.
And, THAT’S ONE COMPLETE ROUND OF REJUVENATION & RELAXATION! 🙂
SURYA NAMASKAR – Warmup or Cardio?
- The slow & steady switching from one posture (asana) to another during each set of Surya Namaskar manifests into an awesome stretching of almost every muscle of your body.
- With regular practise, you’d be amazed to see your flexibility & strength improve over time.
- It also rids you from the usual fatigue of the body & mind as the entire process elevates your stamina levels.
- If done at a fast pace, Surya Namaskar is almost equivalent to an hour of cardio.
CAUTION: DO NOT do it to the point of HYPERVENTILATION.
What Surya Namaskar does besides Weight Loss
No doubt, Sun salutation helps you lose weight (fat) (& to a significant extent, that stubborn belly fat, too!)
I’m glad to be testimony to this point. Besides taking to clean eating habits, with Sun-Salutation, I lost 3 kilograms in the first 10 days only! I could lose 5 inches from the waist, as well in just 3 months.
1. STRONGER CORE:
With regular practice, you’d realize how your ab muscles get stronger than before. This can be attributed to the asanas like Dandasana & Ashtanaga namaskara; quite similar to planks, but done with more finesse.
2. FIGHTING SKIN ISSUES:
Doing Surya Namaskar everyday leaves your skin feeling more refreshed owing to the drastic improvement in blood circulation. The Ashwa Sanchalanasana & Padahastasana asanas ensure blood circulation to every inch of your face, enhancing oxygenation, thus eliminating toxic impurities. And believe me, that helped me handle my acne better.
3. TONING FLABBY AREAS:
Almost all the postures of this Yoga technique are aimed at giving the arms, calves & thighs a great workout. So, you’d notice the jiggly arm fat & thigh flab disappear soon.
4. ELEVATED STAMINA LEVELS:
The next time your friend calls you for a marathon on a Sunday morning, you’re totally up for it! 😀
5. BETTER DIGESTION:
The sequential bending & raising movements in the process aid better digestion of ingested food. Moreover, an early morning Surya namaskar habit leads to perfect metabolism which helps break down food faster.
6. A HEALTHY & HAPPY MIND:
It disciplines your mind by keeping it content, patient cheerful & more alert. And, Positivity’s IN! 😀
From warming up, boosting energy levels to strengthening the core & cleansing the body, Suryanamaskara environs every vital aspect of an PERFECT exercise regime.
But, SHOULD YOU BE:
- Having joint problems or othopaedic complication(s),
- Having heart issues or Hypertension (high blood pressure),
You better refrain from doing Suryanamaskara, as the postures may aggravate or invoke any related complications.
Say CHEERS to LIFE, every time you bow to the Sun! 😀
Do you do the Surya Namaskar? Or has it been part of your exercise routine? If yes, I’d love for you to share your experience with it in the comments!