In this article, I will tell you all about Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar for beginners. Before we start, let’s understand in detail about Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation.
Surya Namaskar is the King of all Poses as it has 12 different poses or asanas as one complete workout. Each of the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar individually works on every part and muscle group of your body for wholistic wellbeing and fitness. By practising these exercises you get an opportunity to express gratitude to the Sun, our life-giving force.
The different parts of your body are governed by the different energies that are present in your body. The solar plexus that is situated behind your navel is connected to the Sun. Therefore, Surya Namaskar is highly regarded by all Yoga Gurus, Instructors, and practitioners. Thus, when you practice Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation, the solar plexus in your navel increases in size. This further helps in increasing your creativity, and mental abilities and your intuition.
Through yoga postures, deep breathing, and chanting – the mind, body, and soul all three get a boost from practising Surya Namaskar.
As we start answering questions about Surya Namaskar for beginners – why to di it at all – is the first question that pops in your mind.
Well, Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a complete workout for your body from flexing, stretching to toning your muscles. It is even effective for weight loss. So, if you are aiming to lose weight, Surya Namaskar is the right yoga pose to do.
Besides, weight loss, Surya Namaskar has other physical and mental benefits too. It corrects bad posture, regulates your digestive system, improves your skin and hair, reduces anxiety and depression and even helps you sleep better.
Benefits of Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation
This is the second most asked question on Surya Namaskar for beginners.
Ideally, the best time to do Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar is early in the morning at or before sunrise preferably before 6 A.M. It is also advised to practice on an empty stomach and wait for 15 minutes after drinking water.
The reason being, the practise of Sun Salutation will activate all your chakras, filling you with energy to start the day afresh. The Sun’s vibrations will generate and absorb a sufficient amount of Vitamin-D in your body.
Also, remember to close your practice with the Corpse Pose, to relax your body and mind and to start your day energized and centred.
Can you do Surya Namaskar in the evenings is an extremely popular question regarding Surya Namaskar for beginners.
The answer is Yes.
For those who have a busy morning and a time crunch, you can practice Sun Salutation in the evening at or before sunset.
Moreover, if the moon is out and visible, you can practice Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar) which is the same as Sun Salutation but has 1 to 2 additional yoga poses more. Practicing in the evening will help you relax and sleep better.
An important tip regarding Surya Namaskar for beginners is to start with 2 to 4 rounds and then gradually increase the rounds once you are comfortable. Normally, it is best to do12 rounds of Surya Namaskar daily and it is done ideally in sets. One set consists of 2 rounds – starts with the right leg and ends with a left leg each time.
However, once you become a pro at practising this pose, you can even go up to 108 Surya Namaskars. Also, make sure that both sides of your body are equally used.
An important question asked about Surya Namaskar for beginners is the number of times one should practise it each day?
The answer is:
A minimum of 3 to 4 rounds of Surya Namaskar for beginners per day is advised. As you get inclined towards the pose and increase your stamina, you push to do a minimum of 12 rounds or a maximum of 36 rounds a day. Depending on the person’s time available, stamina and flexibility, one can do Surya Namaskar 2 – 3 times a day on an empty stomach.
As a beginner, you might be a little over-enthusiastic about practising an extra number of sets of Surya Namaskar. But, respect your body limit and do not overstretch. Each body has a different capacity limit and flexibility level. Do not compete with anyone and do as much as your body can take.
In the list of questions asked about Surya Namaskar for beginners – the right location and direction to do Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is of prime importance.
There is no restriction to where you can practice Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). But it is better to practice among nature, in the outdoors, facing the Sun or facing the east. You can even do it indoors at your home or in a yoga studio as well as at your convenience.
Surya namaskar for beginners may be easier if done at slow speed. But if you already are used to doing exercise – fast speed is not an issue.
Many people are confused if Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) is a warm-up or a cardio workout. Honestly, it is both depending on the pace you perform it. You can practice Sun Salutation at different speeds- Slow and Fast. They all have different effects.
Slow Pace – This helps to strengthen and tone your body muscles. The slow transition from one pose to another beautifully and effortlessly stretches every muscle in the body. Use your breath as a tool to connect the body, mind and soul and transit into a meditative phase.
Fast Pace – Practicing a few quick rounds of Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) can begin as a warm-up exercise and be equivalent to an hour of cardio in the gym as well.
Choose your pace wisely and what your body is comfortable with.
Surya Namaskar for beginners to lose weight is an ideal workout regime because of its proven effectiveness. Each set of Surya Namaskar has 12 yoga asanas. So, when you do 12 rounds from both sides, you are doing 288 poses. There is nothing better than being able to do 288 poses in 20 minutes.
However, if you are doing say 4 rounds, you end up doing 96 yoga poses. Ideally, to lose weight you can do 6 sets of Sun Salutation per day and slowly increase it to 12 rounds per day.
One full round of Surya Namaskar takes approximately 3 minutes and 40 seconds to complete and one minute of practice helps you burn 3.79 calories. Therefore, the calories burnt in 1 Surya Namaskar are 13.90 calories. So, doing 4 rounds of Sun Salutations will make you burn 55 calories.
This result can vary from person to person, depending on your respective body weight and other attributes.
Thus, 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar burn nearly 156 calories which is equivalent to doing a rigorous workout in the gym for 1 hour.
Surya Namaskar is a combined process of Yoga poses and Pranayama (deep breathing). Surya Namaskar for beginners is not sufficient enough because you are doing limited rounds in the beginning. Hence, you will need to follow it up with other yoga Poses (Asanas) to balance and benefit from all other Yoga Poses as well.
Even though Sun Salutation is a complete workout, adding a few more yoga poses will give you a complete fitness experience. However, if you do 6 sets of Surya Namaskar daily, it will make you flexible and increase your stamina.
Another question asked regarding 12 poses of Surya Namaskar for Beginners is the duration for which you should do Sun Salutation.
As a beginner, it is best to do 20-minutes of Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) daily than having an irregular practice of once or twice a week. Being consistent is very important when practising Surya Namaskar to reap all its benefits. Practice Surya Namaskar slowly, focusing on your breath and mindfully being aware of the moment. Hold each pose for at least 5 seconds to feel the stretch of every muscle in your body.
In case you are a beginner to do Sun Salutation – always check with your doctor before you start. This holds especially for those of you who have a stiff neck, backache or knee pain. A doctor or a Yoga Guru will guide you on what kind of variation to the Surya Namskar will suit your health.
Sunrises each day and so must you do the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation to make the best of the energies of the sun. Sun is the life-giving force for mother earth. Thus, the sun is the best form of meditation or worship.
Surya Namaskar if done regularly even for just 15-20 minutes daily has more far-reaching effects than doing it at length just twice a week. “Suryanamaskara provides the foundation for the magnificent all-round culture of body, mind and spirit, which is essential for every human being”.
There are a few pre-requisites of 12 poses of Surya Namaskar for Beginners to keep in mind before you start.
When you start any yoga posture practice, in the beginning, it is natural to be excited and motivated. However, as you go ahead in your yoga journey, you might find it difficult to practice some of the poses. Thus, it is important to do Sun Salutation the right way and know everything about the pose.
Before you begin 12 Poses of Surya Namaskar you ought to know – when you practice the poses the movements of the limbs and breathing must be extremely slow and rhythmical. Avoid any sudden jerks to any part of the body. Inhaling or exhaling hard or in quick succession that causes any strain to the lungs should be avoided.
As you are facing the Sun, fold your hands and keep the palms together. As you do this touch the middle of your chest with both your thumbs and make sure you keep your stand erect while both your legs are together.
Now, while you inhale slowly raise both arms above your head. Bend backward with the arms also going backwards.
Exhale slowly while bending forward till your palms are in line with the feet and try keeping them flat on the yoga mat. As you bend to touch your knees with your head while keeping the legs straight. When you start you may not be able to touch your hands with the feet or may even find that your knees bend a bit. However, after some days of practice, you will be able to gain the flexibility to keep your legs straight. Do not Worry!
After the above inhale deeply and slowly by moving your right leg from the body in a long backward step.
Make sure to keep your left foot and hands firmly on the Yoga mat without moving them. Now raise your head as you look forward. Your left knee should be between your hands.
Now is the time to retain your breath. Move the left leg back so that the left foot is along with the right foot, thus making a straight line of your body. Remember, your entire body weight should be resting on your toes and hands.
Now exhale and slowly lower your body. Let all eight limbs of the body – two toes, two knees, two hands, chest and forehead-alone touch the yoga mat. Always keep the abdominal region a little raised as if you have lifted your buttocks just a bit.
While inhaling, slowly raise your head and bend the spine backward as much as possible trying to look up.
As you exhale – slowly lower your head and then raise your body, the toes, and hands that were resting on the yoga mat.
Next, step is to inhale and bring your left foot at the same level as the hands. Moreover, the right foot and knee should be touching the floor. Look forward (Same as Position 4).
Now, exhale, as you bring the right leg forward as well and come back to Position 3.
Towards the end, inhale and raise the hands overhead and bend backwards the same as Position 2.
Lastly, slowly bring your hands the same as Position No. 1. Simultaneously exhale and relax in Pranamasana.
These 12 poses complete one set of Surya Namaskara or Salutation.
After you complete 12 sets of Surya Namaskaras ( Sun Salutations) lie down flat on the floor yoga mat on your back and relax each and every limb one by one from toes to the crown of the head. This is called Savasana (corpse pose). Click here for the Full Step by Step method to do Corpse Pose and its Benefits. It is a must after Surya Namaskar.
As you are doing 12 poses of Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation for beginners – and you start feeling tired after 2-3 or 4 Namaskars or Salutations – you may stop and increase one Salutation every day or every two days. However, take care not to strain yourself too much anytime you do this on any part of your body. Each one of you can increase the number as per your capacity. Some of you can do 108 Sun Salutations at a stretch without feeling any strain. However, for that, you need to be at a higher level of flexibility and fitness.
If you follow the Most Know facts about Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar for beginners you will live a life full of vitality, positivity and good health.
As you begin your yoga journey, I wish you good health, happiness, and a peaceful mind!
Our team comprises of Certified International Yoga Trainer Denzil Oconnell. Please write to us in case of any queries at [email protected]
All the best!