Cardiovascular Benefits of Surya Namaskar

July 2012 by

Cardiovascular Benefits of Surya Namaskar

Doing Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation, has cardiovascular benefits, according to a study from the Touro College of Medicine published in a 2011 issue of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.



Surya Namaskar is a series of 12 yoga asanas you perform one or more times at the beginning of some yoga classes, including a Hatha or Sivananda class. Surya namaskar honors the importance of the sun.

Surya Namaskar Study

The objective of this small study was to determine if surya namaskar increases your heart rate enough to produce cardiovascular health benefits.

The Participants

Six healthy men and women of Asian Indian heritage between the ages of 18 and 22 with more than two years of training in surya namaskar participated in the study designed to assess the cardiovascular benefits of surya namaskar.

The Hatha Yoga Protocol

In this one-day yoga medical study to investigate the cardio vascular benefits of surya namaskar, the participants completed a single Hatha yoga class of about 30 minutes consisting of only four rounds of this asana series and resting poses. The researchers attached a heart rate monitor to each participant to measure cardiovascular changes during the activity.

The Results

The results of the study ” show there are real cardiovascular benefits from doing surya namaskar. By round two of surya namaskar, the participants had reached 80% of their age-predicted maximum heart rate – or HRmax. During round three of surya namaskara the participants reached 84% of HRmax, and reached 90% of HRmax during round four. On average, the participants achieved 80% of HRmax. This number is high enough to  offer cardiovascular benefits to Hatha yoga practitioners.

Cardiovascular Exercise Basics

In order to reap the cardiovascular benefits of surya namaskar, or any cardio exercise, you must do it for a minimum of 10 minutes each session, according to the National Institutes of Health. It recommends 150 minutes of moderately intense cardiovascular activity per week for healthy adults. During moderately intense activity, you can carry on a conversation using short sentences. In contrast, during vigorously intense activities you cannot catch your breath sufficiently to have a conversation.

Click here to learn more

1. Mody, Bhavesh Surendra. “Acute effects of Surya Namaskar on the cardiovascular & metabolic system.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 15.3 (2011): 343-347. 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need?

“Cardiovascular Benefits of Surya Namaskar” by Victoria Weinblatt, M.S.Ed., B.S., RYT-200, CMT

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