What are the benefits of doing Surya Namaskar?
If the above query brings you here, you have come to the right place. This article discusses the benefits of Surya Namaskar in detail.
Sun Salutation is a dynamic yoga sequence that incorporates body movements, breathing techniques, awareness, and relaxation. Moreover, it is meant for all ages. It is easy to learn and quite safe as well. It gives the overall development of the body and prevents diseases.
We may categorize the benefits of Sun Salutation into Physical, Mental, and spiritual benefits. Let us discuss them one by one.
Surya Namaskar Physical Health Benefits
Unlike spiritual benefits, corporal benefits are the immediate health benefits that one can experience. Barring the improvements in physical stamina and endurance, it offers numerous health benefits to different systems of the body like Cardiovascular System, Musculoskeletal System, Nervous System, Endocrinal System, and Respiratory System. Let me summarize the major benefits.
Surya Namaskar Benefits to Musculoskeletal System
It increases the flexibility of the muscles of the legs, back, chest, shoulders, and buttocks. Regular practice improves handgrip, strength, balance, and endurance. Moreover, it will make the posture perfect. An early morning practice of Sun Salutation makes the practitioner active throughout the day.
Nervous System Benefits
Sun Salutation tones up the Central, Peripheral, and Autonomic Nervous systems. Having said that, it is good for health conditions like backache, diabetes mellitus, and various neuronal weaknesses. The practice increases the vagal tone. As a result, it activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System. As a result, it slows the heart rate, increases the gland and intestinal activities, and relaxes the sphincter muscles.
The practice stimulates the circulation in the spine and all the nerve cells in the spine. Besides, it helps the nervous system in its functions of detecting and processing sensory information.
Surya Namaskar Benefits to Heart and Circulatory System
A pilot study on the effect of Sun Salutation on cardio-respiratory parameters suggests the following.
The practice of Sun Salutation increases the vagal tone and decreases sympathetic activity. This, in turn, reduces the secretion of catecholamine, a hormone made by adrenal glands. It leads to vasodilation and results in peripheral circulation. Also, it reduces the Basal Metabolic Rate, Resting Metabolic Rate, and Resting Oxygen Consumption. Consequently, it reduces the workload on the heart and the cardiac output. Besides, it reduces systolic blood pressure. Sun Salutation alters the hypothalamic discharges which reduce the sympathetic tone and peripheral resistance. As a result, it decreases diastolic pressure also. Regular practice prevents and controls hypertension. Thus Sun Salutation improves cardiovascular efficiency.
Surya Namaskar for High Blood Pressure
As we have already seen, the practice of Surya Namaskar decreases both diastolic and systolic pressure. However, those who are having high BP should first control their BP by medical treatment. After getting control over the BP, one may start the practice.
Surya Namaskar and Respiratory System
The above pilot study states that regular practice strengthens the respiratory muscles. Also, it increases the Diaphragmatic excursion and thoracic compliance. Generally, all yoga practices decrease airway resistance. This contributes to improved lung function, raised oxygen uptake, and enhanced respiratory muscle function.
Other studies also suggest that the regular practice of Surya Namaskar shows significant changes in Forced Vital Capacity (FVC), Forced Expiratory Vital Volume in Ist second (FEV1), Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR), and Vital Capacity (VC).
Surya Namaskar and Endocrinal System
The practice of Surya Namaskar tones up the functions of the endocrine glands that include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, hypothalamus, and adrenal glands. Thus, it prevents metabolic syndrome, obesity, menstrual disorders, diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid disorders.
Surya Namaskar for Thyroid
Chaterjee and Mondal (2017) followed a group of 45 men and women between the ages of 35 and 55 split into a control group and study group to examine the impact of a graded yoga program on the basal level of thyroid hormones in healthy middle-aged adults.
At the study’s conclusion, researchers found the basal level of serum TSH increased significantly in the yogic men, but no increase was seen in the women’s level and there was no increase in either gender in the control
group (2017). Researchers saw a 10.45% reduction in the men and a 27.42% reduction in the women of the basal T3 level and a 4.23% decline in the men and a 9.34% decline in the basal T4 after twelve-week but no change in either basal T3 or T4 levels in either gender in the control group.
Gastrointestinal System Benefits
It stretches and alternatively compresses the muscles of the abdomen. Hence it aids the smooth functioning of the digestive system. It improves digestion, releases the trapped gas, and prevents constipation, indigestion, dyspepsia, and other gastrointestinal disorders.
Other Health Benefits
Surya Namaskar and Obesity
Obese persons should practice the maximum number of Surya Namaskar at a stretch regularly for a few months. To decide on the number of rounds of Surya Namaskar, refer to Surya Namaskar and Weight loss. After shedding the extra fat or on reaching the target weight, they should reduce the intensity and decrease the number of rounds in daily practice.
Surya Namaskar Benefits for Ladies
Regular practice of Surya Namaskar prevents menstrual disorders. A study on 26 women practicing Surya Namaskar for six months suggests that there was a considerable reduction in body weight, waistline measurement, and hip circumference.
Another study concludes that the regular practice of Surya Namaskar from the age of 35 in women can help prevent problems during menopausal age.
Yet one should avoid the practice of Surya Namaskar during periods.
Surya Namaskar after Normal Delivery
The practice of Surya Namaskar after childbirth helps the lady to regain the body shape more rapidly. The weakness will disappear sooner than expected. However, the resumption of Surya Namaskar after childbirth should be undertaken on the advice of the doctor only.
Surya Namaskar and Diabetes
Factors like obesity and a sedentary lifestyle lead to type II diabetes. By the regular practice of Sun Salutation, we could avoid these factors and hence prevent diabetes. Sun Salutation with the combination of medical treatment provides better metabolic control along with a general feeling of wellness, attentiveness, and alertness without any side effects.
Various medical studies on the effects of Surya Namaskar on diabetes show positive results. A study on the effects of Surya Namaskar postulates that the practice may regenerate the cells of the pancreas. The practice may be combined with conventional medical treatment as an effective antidiabetic regimen,
Surya Namaskar Benefits for Hair
Hormonal imbalance is one of the main reasons for hair fall. We have already seen that the practice of Sun Salutation regulates the secretion of the hormones. Having said that the practice of Sun Salutation helps prevent hair fall.
Surya Namaskar Mental Health Benefits
As we have already seen, Surya Namaskar activates the parasympathetic nervous system. As a result, it relieves tension and anxiety. It makes the mind calm and stress-free. Moreover, it promotes good night sleep and regulates sleep patterns. Thus it helps to have a more relaxed, calm, and stable mind. It is no surprise that it combats depression.
Moreover, it increases tryptophan and serotonin levels. This will boost the mood, emotions, and cognitive function.
Surya Namaskar Spiritual Benefits
Spirituality and overall well being cannot be disassociated. There is overwhelming evidence that connects them.
Spirituality is a belief in greater force that governs us. In the traditional Sun Salutation, Sun is regarded as a force that governs us.
Various studies show that prayer can extend your life span and make you happy as well. It prevents depression and reduces suicide inclinations. It makes you strong to cope up with the ups and downs of life.
A healthy body and mind are the prerequisites for spiritual progress. Sun Salutation provides you with these two and your spiritual progress is guaranteed.