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The New Year is here, and we’ve got a whole new set of resolutions. There’s one that remains unchanged, and that’s fitness. The year 2020 taught us the importance of health and well-being, and we plan on doing the best we can to achieve our goals this year. That also brings us to weight loss—it is important to get rid of the unnecessary fat that’s stored in our bodies because it damages our health in more ways than one.
But what if we barely have time in our hands? Fret not, that’s exactly why we are big advocates of surya namaskar. Also known as sun salutation in English, this yoga workout targets your entire body and helps you get fit. Just doing the 12 postures that are a part of the routine, along with some warm-up stretches is going to do you a whole lot of good. But the big question is: can you lose weight just by doing surya namaskars?
A Sanskrit word, surya namaskar includes various yoga postures that contribute to positive physical and mental health. As mentioned above, it is a full-body workout that forms the foundation of power yoga, and promotes weight loss. In fact, Bollywood beauties Kareena Kapoor Khan and Shilpa Shetty swear by it to stay fit and fabulous.
This routine doesn’t just strengthen your body and core muscles, but also enhances blood circulation, synchronises your breathing, and keeps you in good shape.
Our bodies are made up of three elements – kapha, pitta and vata, and when you practice surya namaskar regularly, then all the three achieve a balance. With consistency, your body will become more flexible, your skin will glow, your digestive system will improve, and you’ll also see an improvement in your mental health.
There is no hard and fast rule that you must perform the exercise in the morning, but make sure you do it on an empty stomach.
The best part is you don’t need to go to the gym or do any other vigorous exercises when you decide to perform surya namaskars regularly. All you need is a yoga mat, and you can begin anywhere. Try and meditate before and after the routine to calm your mind, and improve your mental health.
Research suggests that each round of surya namaskar burns close to 13.90 calories, and the ideal number of reps is 12. Of course, start small and then go up to 12 surya namaskars that will help you burn 416 calories. Plus, each round takes only 3.5 to 4 minutes, so keep an hour aside every day, and you’ll see great results.
1. Pranamasana (prayer pose)
Stand upright on your yoga mat and position your feet close to each other. Take a deep breath, expand your chest and keep your shoulders relaxed. As you inhale, lift your arms from the side and while exhaling bring your palms together in front of the chest in the prayer position.
2. Hasta uttanasana (raised arms pose)
Just like the prayer pose, keep your palms joined. Take a deep breath and lift your arms. Now, slightly bend backwards, keeping your biceps close to your ears.
3. Hasta padasana (standing forward bend pose)
Bend forward from the waist while breathing out and keeping the spine erect. Try to touch the floor. As you perform the pose, exhale slowly and thoroughly.
4. Ashwa sanchalanasana (lunge pose)
Slightly bend your knees, so that your palms can easily rest on the floor beside your feet. Take a deep breath and gradually bring your right knee to the right side of your chest, and stretch your left leg backwards. Lift your head and keep looking forward.
5. Chaturanga dandasana (plank pose)
Breathe in and bring your right leg back. Now, both your hands will be right under your shoulders. Make sure that your body is parallel to the ground.
6. Ashtanga namaskara (eight-limbed pose)
After chaturanga dandasana, breathe out and gradually bring your knees down towards the floor. Place your chin on the floor and keep hips suspended in the air. Your hands, knee, chin and chest will rest on the ground while your hips will remain suspended in the air if your posture is right.
7. Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
Place your leg and midsection flat on the ground. Position your palms next to your chest. Take a deep breath and apply pressure on the hands, raising your upper body. Your head and torso will resemble a cobra with a raised hood in this posture.
8. Adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing pose)
Keeping the palms and feet where they are, exhale and gently raise your hip forming a V shape with the body. Straighten your elbows and knees and look towards the navel.
9. Ashwa sanchalanasana (high-lunge pose)
Go back to the ashwa sanchalanasana pose by bringing the right foot forward while keeping the left leg stretched behind and looking forward.
10. Hasta padasana (standing forward bend)
Inhale and bring the left foot forward, so that it is next to the right foot. Keeping the position of hands intact, exhale and slowly bend the torso and enter the hasta padasana pose.
11. Hasta uttanasana (raised arms pose)
Inhale and lift the upper body. Join the palms and raise your arms above the head. Bend backwards like in step 2.
12. Pranamasana (prayer pose)
Breathe out and stand straight in a relaxed manner. Lower arms and hold the palms in front of your chest.
Practice surya namaskar for weight loss regularly, and you’ll see results in no time!