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The Research: Benefits of SUN SALUTATIONS

The Traditional Sequence

Suryanamaskar comprises twelve steps, making up half a round. Within these steps, you’ll find three backward-bending and two forward-bending postures. To complete one full round, practitioners repeat the positions, with the second half involving the opposite side of the body. Most of the poses in this traditional sequence offer variations that provide a variety of difficulty levels

A Complete Physical Practice

The core sequence constitutes a complete physical practice, even without including intricate pose variations. These postures done in the flow of the sun salutation sequence facilitate natural lung breathing at an individual’s pace, leading to enhanced lung capacity through consistent practice.

Proven Scientific Benefits

  • Enhanced Joint Mobility: Suryanamaskar improves joint flexibility and mobility, making it an excellent choice for those seeking an increased range of motion.
  • Muscle Engagement: By activating specific muscle patterns, it promotes not only strength but also endurance, contributing to overall physical fitness.
  • Joint Health: The practice involves rhythmic muscle contraction and expansion, greatly benefiting joint health and longevity.
  • Blood Circulation: The dynamic movements inherent in Suryanamaskar redirect stagnant blood, allowing it to undergo purification promoting cardiovascular health.
  • Internal Organ Stimulation: Through a combination of twisting and bending postures, Suryanamaskar stimulates internal organs, supporting their optimal function.
  • Digestive Boost: The practice enhances peristalsis of the intestines, aiding in digestion and promoting a healthy gut.
  • Cardio-Respiratory Health: Suryanamaskar significantly contributes to better cardio-respiratory health, a crucial aspect of overall fitness.
  • Respiratory Efficiency: By enhancing respiratory efficiency, Suryanamaskar facilitates better oxygen exchange, promoting vitality.
  • Body Composition: It positively influences body mass index (BMI), basal metabolic rate (BMR), and muscle strength, making it an ideal practice for maintaining physical fitness.
  • Hormonal Balance: Suryanamaskar stimulates endocrine glands, playing a pivotal role in promoting hormonal balance within the body.
  • Growth Hormone: Regular practice has been shown to increase serum growth hormone levels, contributing to energy metabolism.
  • Improved Self-Control and Mindfulness: The meditative aspect of Suryanamaskar enhances self-control and mindfulness, nurturing mental well-being.

Scientific Research — 1

Effect of Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) on mental health, self-control and mindfulness of adolescent school children..

Source

 [Complement Ther Clin Pract] 2023 Feb; Vol. 50, pp. 101691. 

Background

 A considerable portion of adolescent school children suffer from mental health problems. Low self-control and mindfulness are positively associated with poor mental health. Therefore, the present study was designed to assess the effect of Surya Namaskara (SN) on mental health, self-control, and mindfulness among adolescent school children.

Conclusion

The present study showed that SN improves self-control and mindfulness in adolescent school children.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Scientific Research — 2

How effective is sun salutation in improving muscle strength, general body endurance and body composition?

Source

[Asian J Sports Med] 2011 Dec; Vol. 2 (4), pp. 259-66.

Background

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate effects of regular practice of sun salutation on muscle strength, general body endurance and body composition.

RESULTS

Muscle strength by bench press showed significant increase in male (29.49±9.70 to 36.12±9.09 Kg, P<0.001) and female (10.5±4.42 to 13.16±4.44 Kg, P<0.001) subjects. Strength by shoulder press also increased (males; 22.96±9.57 Kg to 26.53±11.05 Kg, P<0.001, females; 6.83±2.78 to 8.83±3.87, P<0.001). Endurance by push-ups & sit-ups showed similar findings in male (19.0±9.58 to 21.98±8.98, P<0.001 and 24.92±10.41 to 29.84±12.64, P<0.001 respectively) and female (14.66±6.80 to 18.56±6.97 and 13.16±7.75 to 19.23±8.25, P<0.001 respectively) subjects. A significant decrease in body fat percent was observed only in female (27.68±5.46 to 25.76±4.72, P<0.001) but not in male subjects. BMI significantly decreased in both the groups (z=4.37, P<001 and t=5.41, P<0.001 respectively).

Conclusion

From our observations we conclude that sun salutation can be an ideal exercise to keep oneself in optimum level of fitness.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Scientific Research — 3

Insights on Surya Namaskar from its origin to application towards health.

Source

Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine 13 (2022) 100530

Background

Suryanamaskar is considered a part of modern-day yogic practices though it was neither considered an asana nor a part of traditional Yoga. Practicing Suryanamaskar before beginning routine activities vitalizes the practitioner and gives a completely energized day. Starting from the Raja of Aundh who first introduced surya namaskar, there is a line of eminent people who popularized this dynamic group of asanas including T Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda from Bihar school of Yoga, so on and so forth. Their contributions resulted in this excellent series of Asanas being introduced to the practitioners. Such a miraculous group of postures also involves dynamic breathing patterns at each posture and gives a form of complete practice involving asanas and pranayama. There are a total of 12 postures in Suryanamaskar practice and 24 steps in one round. This is in the form of salutation to the “Sun” along with chanting the twelve names of the sun god. In this review, we accentuate the importance of Suryanamaskar highlighting its effects on physical, psychological and physiological aspects of the body based on published research. In addition, the usefulness of surya namaskar as one complete sadhana for the whole body is emphasized.

Conclusion

Suryanamaskar practice is the most widely adopted sequence of asanas which has its origin from Indian traditional physical training. It also has lots of variations regarding different yogic tra- ditions of India in the modern era. The review presents the physical benefits of the practice with regards to the increasing mobility of joints, extending muscle power, and vitality with the literature reference. The physiological attributes of improving the metabolic rate, cardiovascular stimulation, and increase of respiratory ca- pacity, improvement of mental health of the body, and proper functioning of endocrine glands were also discussed. Highlighting the yogic point of view of the benefits of Suryanamaskar practice, the positive effects of Suryanamaskar on puberty, menstrual cycle, and childbirth were also emphasized. We conclude from the above points that the practice of Suryanamaskar is necessary not just for those who are regular yogic practitioners or spiritual seekers but for a common man, to maintain the physical, physiological, and mental health by spending very little time of their choice. If this practice is initiated to children at the age of 7 or 8 it helps grow better not only physically but also with great mental health. We propose that Suryanamaskar practice could be a group activity of the family to ensure total family health. Suryanamaskar is a boon for those who want to involve in yogic practices but yet not dedicate even an hour every day.

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