Benefits of sun salutation

Written by Pritika Nair based on talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Surya Namaskar DVD.

Did you know that Sun Salutation is not just physical exercise for weight loss? This beautiful set of yoga postures work not only on the body but also on the mind and at the spiritual level.

If you have been doing Sun Salutation so far only to shed off those extra inches, here’s some food for thought. This wonderful gift of yoga, if practiced regularly, can work wonders for every part of the body – from head to toe! Yes, Sun Salutation (also known as Surya Namaskar) is a set of 12 yoga postures that helps improve overall health and wellbeing.

Sun Salutation impacts every organ of the body

True, the Sun Salutation sequence, if done at a fast pace can be a good way to lose weight and is an excellent cardiovascular workout as well – stretching and toning the muscles in the entire body. But that’s not all. This yoga sequence improves the circulation of blood throughout the body and helps in maintaining good health by ensuring a disease-free body. Daily practice of Surya Namaskar has numerous benefits to offer for the digestive, respiratory, and circulatory system.

Develop your sixth sense with Sun Salutations

Different organs of our body are governed by different Gods. The solar plexus, or the navel, is connected with the Sun (for which reason it is called the “solar” plexus). Although Sun Salutation can be practiced at any time of the day, morning or evening, it is a good idea to do it at the time of sunrise. When the first rays of the Sun fall on the solar plexus, it is good for the body.

Usually, the navel is slightly bigger in size than an almond. Studies have shown that with the practice of yoga, Sun Salutation, meditation, and Sudarshan Kriya, the solar plexus can become as large as the size of the palm. It then performs better, balances the body functions. When the solar plexus contracts, depression and other kinds of negative emotions come up. When it expands, the intuitive mind works better, becoming more clear and focused.

As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “Lord Krishna was called Padmanabha, meaning ‘whose navel is the size of a lotus flower’. If you become Padmanabha, you become absolutely creative.”

The solar plexus has a profound impact on the central nervous system, optic nerves, stomach, and what we usually call the ‘gut feeling’ or intuition. Solar plexus is also considered the second brain in the body. And Surya Namaskar directly works on this important organ.

A spiritual experience with Sun Salutation

Besides offering physical benefits, the Sun Salutation practice also helps calm the mind. Doing a few rounds of Surya Namaskar at an easy pace can be very relaxing and meditative. And adding a touch of gratitude to the Sun, chanting mantras while doing Sun Salutation, adds a whole spiritual dimension to the practice, making it more sacred.

Kids and adults: Sun Salutation benefits all

What’s more! The physical and spiritual benefits of Sun Salutation are not just for adults to enjoy. Surya Namaskar is equally a lot of fun for children, while individually addressing particular parts of their body, both anatomically and physiologically. You can make your child learn Sun Salutation at the Art Excel Course and the Yes! Course by The Art of Living.

So, the next time you practice Sun Salutation, know that it’s benefiting you at different levels. Simply being aware of this can help enhance your experience and help you go deeper in your practice.