Sunday, February 19, 2012

Is Suryanamaskar really the Mother of all exercises?

When you're surrounded by the glamour of Bikini Babes flaunting their toned bodies  and Pumped Hunks showing off their six packs , it is easy to conclude that Lifting weights  and spending time in the gym is the only way to get to your dream body.

However, our elders weren't crazy to swear by The Suryanamaskar for achieving long term permanent fitness oriented results.

Oh, Suryanamaskar isn't cool enough for you?? Call it "Sun Salutation".. How does that sound? Cool eh?

Suryanamaskar is a set of postures, said to be challenging 95 -97% of your muscles, whilst only 35-40% are used in daily activities.( remember our Use it or Lose it principle?)

Below is one of the best and most accurate posture series that i could find depicting the 12 positions of The Suryanamaskar:

  • Position 1 - Pranamasana: Stand with feet joined and hands folded in front of the chest and exhale.
  • Position 2 - Hastha Uttanasana: Raise hands and bend backward as you inhale.
  • Position 3 - Uttanasana: Bend forward and place the hands flat on the floor as you exhale.
  • Position 4 - Ashwa Sanchalanasana: Stretch the right leg back while bending the left knee & lowering the torso as you inhale.
  • Position 5 - Adho Mukha Svanasana: Now lift the hips, take the left foot back to join the right foot while lowering your head. Your body should be in a triangular position. This should be done as you exhale.
  • Position 6 - Ashtanga Namaskaram: Now lower the body to the floor and let the chin, chest and knees rest on the floor but not the stomach. Your pelvis will not touch the ground here.
  • Position 7 - Bhujangasana: Drop the stomach/Pelvis and lift your head to raise the upper body as you inhale
  • Position 8 - Adho Mukha Svanasana: Lift the hips up to the triangular position and exhale (same as Pose 5).
  • Position 9 - Ashwa Sanchalanasana: Bringing the left foot forward, you should inhale (same pose as pose 4). 
  • Position 10 - Uttanasana: Straighten your legs and raise hips just as in the Pose 3 as you exhale  
  • Position 11 - Hastha Uttanasana: Raise hands above your head and bend backwards and inhale. 
  • Position 12 - Pranamasana: Fold hands and bring them down to the chest to come back to the starting position and exhale.

Suryanamaskars help in the following ways:

  1. Improves Pulmonary (Lung) & Cardiovascular (Heart) function 
  2. Doing suryanamaskar regularly brings down your Blood Pressure 
  3. Reduces your Resting Heart Rate, which means your heart works more efficiently
  4. Improves functioning of the Respiratory Muscles
  5. Helps in regulating Bowel movements
  6. Reduces emotional stress and calms the mind 
  7. Helps in regulating irregular menstrual cycles
  8. Helps in setting right, muscle imbalances if any
  9. Reduces nagging aches & pains 
  10. Improves blood circulation throughout the body , bringing about a glow on your skin
  11. Helps in exhaling/throwing out of harmful gases/excess carbon dioxide
  12. Burns calories of course
Who should avoid/consult a doctor before starting Suryanamaskars? 
  1. Pregnant women
  2. People with Back problems
  3. People suffering with heart conditions
  4. People suffering with arthritis 
  5. People suffering with high blood pressure
Those who are moderately fit ,and are given a go ahead by doctors to perform this wonderful set of postures ,  can be sure that their chances of falling into the above'Who should avoid' group will be significantly lower as compared to those who do not perform surynamaskars.

How many suryanamaskars should one perform?
Begin doing it, even if it is just one , two or three. Increase gradually to 10, 20, 30 and more as you build stamina and improve your strength & endurance.

So, to you all, Happy Sun Saluting!!




  1. Yes, perfecto! But one question...when i go back wards and inhale im unable to inhale in i cannot inhale and tilt completely breath kinda stops cant inhale anymore once ive titled- lil below my shoulders backwards. Is this normal?

    1. Hi Monisha, It is normal. Like any posture, the body will get efficient in this exercise and flexibility and ease of breathing will increase as you practise it.
      It will get comfortable as you perform this exercise regularly.
      ALL the best.

  2. Hi, fantastic post!! But you forgot to mention that you only do this exercise while facing the rising sun, otherwise it's futile, innit bruv?

    1. Hi,
      performing this exercise while facing the morning sun has its own benfits. Vitamin D synthesis is one of them.
      Else, it doesn't reduce the benefits you get if you do not perform it facing the sun.
      Doing it regularly if of utmost importance.
      Facing or not facing the sun is secondary.
      All the Best.

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