How to Do Surya Namaskar to Lose Weight

November 2012 by

How to Do Surya Namaskar to Lose Weight
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You can do Surya Namaskar to lose weight without changing your diet, according to research from M.R. Medical College in India published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine.

 

Simply by completing 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar per day, six days per week, 49 men and 30 women lost weight without changing their diet. Surya Namaskar is suitable for yoga beginners, but some people should avoid this series or consult their medical professional first. Contraindications for Surya Namaskar include, but are not limited to, high blood pressure, slipped disk and coronary artery disease.

 

How to Do Surya Namaskar to Lose Weight

Step 1. Learn the steps of Surya Namaskar – this should take about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Read the steps and practice each step.

Step 2. Doing Surya Namaskar at the same time every day will help you adhere to your new yoga for weight loss routine. How much time do you need to practice Surya Namaskar? Since one round of Surya Namaskar takes about 3.5 to 4 minutes, you need to set aside 40-minutes, six days per week. Now that you have a Surya Namskar schedule, the only trick is to  stick to it. To maintain your motivation, try practicing Surya Namaskar while listening to music.

Step 3.  Surya Namaskar is performed at a slow and steady pace in synchronicity with your breath. If you’re a yoga beginner, it takes about 15 days of practicing Surya Namaskar to build enough strength to complete 12 rounds per session. To work your way up to 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar, follow the steps below. These steps,  published in a 2011 issue of the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, are the same steps the researchers used to train the participants in the Surya Namaskar to lose weight study.

Strength Building Program for 12 Rounds of Surya Namaskara

  • Day 1 and 2 complete 4 rounds of Surya Namaskar
  • Day 3 and 4 complete 5 rounds of Surya Namaskar
  • Day 5 complete 6 rounds of Surya Namaskar
  • Day 6 complete  7 rounds of Surya Namaskar
  • Day 7 take a day off and feel proud you stuck with the program for one week
  • Day 8 complete  8 rounds of Surya Namaskar
  • Day 9 complete 8 rounds of Surya Namaskar
  • Day 10 complete  9 rounds of Surya Namaskar
  • Day 11 complete  10 rounds of Surya Namaskar
  • Day 12 take a rest and feel proud of yourself that you are almost done building your strength
  • Day 13 complete 10 rounds of Surya Namaska
  • Day 14 complete 11 rounds of Surya Namaskar
  • Day 15 complete 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar

Step 4. Once you’ve built-up your strength, do 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar to lose weight, six days per week for 24 weeks.

Step 5. Always follow your Surya Namaskar practice with 3 to 5 minutes of the relaxation pose Shavasana, also known as the corpse pose.

 

8-Points Pose, Ashtanga Namaskara

8-Points Pose, Ashtanga Namaskara

 

 

Surya Namaskar Weight Loss Results

After six months of doing Surya Namaskar to lose weight, without changing their diet, the participants in this study lost weight. The women lost an average of 3.5 pounds and the men lost an average of 4 pounds. Remember the weight loss is an average, which means some participants lost more and others lost less.

Now, I would agree this is not a significant amount of weight loss for most people. However, the participants in this study did not have much weight to lose because they were not overweight. In fact, before the study, the women weighed on average 118.6 pounds and the men weighed on average 136.5 pounds. Heavier people burn more calories than lighter people doing the same exercise, so if you weigh more than the participants, your results may vary. To achieve the most weight loss with Surya Namaskar, reduce the amount of calories you eat by making healthier food choices.

 

*I want to learn more about Surya Namaskar for weight loss *

 

References for Surya Namaskar to Lose Weight

1. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine; How Effective Is Sun Salutation in Improving Muscle Strength, General Body Endurance and Body Composition?; Milind V. Bhutkar, et al.

2. The Mayo Clinic: Counting Calories – Getting Back to Weight Loss Basics


“How to Do Surya Namaskar to Lose Weight” written by Victoria Weinblatt, M.S.Ed., B.S., RYT-200, CMT and senior writer for YogaHathaYoga.com.

 

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40 Comments

  1. Victoria

    Please post any questions or comments on Surya Namaskar to Lose Weight to share with the YogaHathaYoga.com community. I will do my best to answer your yoga questions.

    Namsaste, Victoria

    • dharsha

      hi i wanted to know is there any bad effect if surya nameshkar was done around 7 pm?

      • Victoria

        Thank you for your question. When you do yoga in the evening, just remember you want to eat either at least one hour before or after doing yoga. Although yoga helps many people sleep better, I had a student who had trouble sleeping when she did yoga in the evening. For me, the best way to ensure I do yoga regularly is to practice the same time every day. If I stray from my schedule, I typically end up doing yoga about three times per week instead of six days per week.

        Please consider subscribing to the YogaHathaYoga.com newsletter, Victoria

  2. abc

    how many days will it take to get the results by performing daily suryanamaskaras (12 rounds). what should be the time for each round(12 pose) ?

    • Victoria

      Hello Soumya,

      The number of days it takes to get weight loss results with Surya Namaskar depends on you. You see, 1 pound, 2.2 kilos, of fat has about 3,000 calories. This means you must create a caloric deficit of 250 calories per day to lose half-a-pound per week or 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound per week. To create a caloric deficit you can burn more calories or eat less calories. Research shows a combination of the two is the most effective method.

      According to yoga studies, one round of Surya Namaskar takes 3 minutes and 40 seconds, which means one round of Surya Namaskar burns about 13.91 calories if you weight 138 pounds. If you weight more, you will burn more calories. If you weight less, you will burn less calories. I see you have read Surya Namaskar to Lose Weight. I suggest reading Yoga to Burn Calories: Surya Namaskar for a more complete explanation.

      Namaste, Victoria

  3. Nive ganesh

    What should be my food diet to be followed while doin surya namaskar.???? I have tried many ways to reduce my tummy and back but it never works out even for a single time :-( :-(:-( very depressed . Give some gud suggestions.

    • Victoria

      Hello Nive Ganesh,

      First of all, if you’re depressed you should definitely keep doing yoga. Yoga studies show that regular practice helps alleviate depression.

      When you say, “I have tried many ways to reduce my tummy and back but it never works out even for a single time,” I think you are referring to spot reduction. Spot reduction is a false concept that says you can target areas of your body for weight loss. Unfortunately, research shows there is no way to reduce fat in specific areas with diet or exercise. As you lose weight, your body decides where the weight comes from.

      The best way to lose weight and keep it off forever is by making simple life changes, such as eating healthier food and doing yoga, and other exercise, two or three times per week.

      Namaste, Victoria

  4. jaya jain

    please guide i wanna loseweight 10 kilo in two months

    • Victoria

      Hello Jaya Jain,
      I am not a doctor, nor a nutritionist.
      Losing 10 kilograms in two months is a reasonable and attainable goal. You can start by eliminating regular and diet sodas, hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup from your diet. If you want a sweet drink, add a teaspoon or two of sugar to a cup of tea or make lemonade. Sugar only has 16 calories a teaspoon. Weight loss studies also show that people who are dieting and keep a food diary, lose more weight than people who don’t.

      Surya Namaskar helps burn calories, but you could also consider going for brisk walks (for 20 minutes or more) or joining an aerobics class to burn even more calories. The best way to lose weight and keep it off long-term is to make healthier food choices and exercise regularly for the rest of your life.

      Namaste, Victoria

  5. Priyanka

    Hi Victoria,

    I loved your this article very much. Its explaining fact about Surya Namaskar. I am 32 in age, height 5.5 and 74 kg weight. I suggested to lose 10 kg in 3 months as I am having problem in my knees. I hope your article will help me a lot. I do Surya Namaskar daily but only 4 rounds after 20 minutes brisk walk. I’ll make it 12 rounds.

    Thanks a lot

    • Victoria

      Hi Priyanka,
      Congratulations on starting a weight loss program and making positive changes in your life to help alleviate your knee problems. I would suggest, if your doctor approves, improving your diet and adding a bit more exercise to your weekly routine. You could increase the time you go walking, join a yoga class or do a gentle yoga video. Please let us know how your health and weight loss are doing as you go through this journey.

      Namaste, Victoria

  6. Taj

    I have PCO, and my periods are very irregular. Now when I approached doctor for conception. She insisted me to lose as much as 20 kgs of weight.
    I would like to loose weight. I have started walking for 1 hour daily, and removed rice, oil and sugar from my food… Please suggest if I can lose about 10 kgs in 3 months..I weigh 76 now.. even after 12 days of rigorous work out an diet Iam only 0.5 less now.

    • Victoria

      Namste Taj,

      You are doing great, just keep going. Here are some weight loss basics I think will help you understand why weight loss is a gradual process. 1 pound of fat has about 3,500 calories, so you must burn an extra 250 calories per day to lose 1/2-pound per week or an extra 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound per week. Research shows that a combination of diet and exercise is the most effective way to lose weight, so you are on the right track. Additionally, it is generally recommended that people should only lose 1/2 to 1 pound per week. When you say “0.5,” I am assuming you mean kilograms, which roughly translates in to 1 pound. Give yourself a good 6 months to lose the weight. I wish you all the best on getting pregnant and reaching your goals.

      Thank you, Victoria (I am not a medical professional)

  7. ramu

    Namastey Victoria,

    I am overweight by about 9kgs, but have a good grasp of surya namaskar and its concepts. I think each surynamaskar has about 12 steps. How many sets of surya namaskar will help me reduce weight? ramu

  8. naina

    Hi
    I am trying hard to get pregnant. My doctor suggested weight loss. I want to start surya namaskar but I am not able to decide. Kindly let me know, will surya namaskar reduce my chances of getting pregnant or it causes no problmes in getting pregnant. Do women get pregnant while they are doing surya namaskar?

    • Victoria

      Namaste Naina,

      I think the questions you are asking me about surya namaskar would be best answered by your doctor. I’m sorry to say i have not read any medical studies about Surya Namaskar and pregnancy, but I am hoping to post some information about yoga and pregnancy soon. I appreciate you coming to YogaHathaYoga.com and taking time to participate in this discussion. I wish you all the best getting pregnant. I am interested in what your doctor has to say, and I am sure others are too, so I hope you come back and post an update.

      All the best, Victoria

  9. Lily

    Hi plz suggest me how to loss weight fast .some methods can you give me.

    • Victoria

      Hello Lily,

      For the majority of people, gradual weight loss as a result of changing to a healthier lifestlye is the healthiest way to lose weight. This means eating healthier foods and adding exercise to your weekly routine for the rest of your life if you want long-term weight loss. One pound of fat has about 3,500 calories, so you need to create a caloric deficit of 250 calories per day to lose 1/2-pound per week, or 500 calories to lose 1 pound per week. You can do this by consuming less calories, exercising or both.

      If you watch TV programs like the Biggest Loser you see people losing 2 to 10 pounds per week (sometimes more). The contestants on these shows eat only healthy foods, about 1200 calories per day, and exercise about 6 hours per day. However, they are under a doctor’s supervision and have personal trainers.

      Here are some tips:
      1. Clinical research shows people on a diet who keep a food diary, lose more weight than people who don’t.
      2. Don’t drink sweetened beverages, regular or diet, drink water or tea instead. If you like your tea sweet, enjoy 1 teaspoon of sugar because it only has 16 calories.
      3. A person weighing 155 pounds burns about 470 calories doing a 90-minute Hatha yoga class that starts with 30 minutes of Surya Namaskar.

      I wish you the best of luck, Victoria

  10. Shellyanne

    Hi Victoria,
    Can I do suryanamaskars after a workout or a brisk walk? Or yoga for that matter. Which should be done first…. Asanas or pranayama?

    • Victoria

      Hi Shelleyanne,
      Thank you for your question.
      It’s good to hear you are exercising and doing yoga. As for the pranayama: Swami Satyananda Saraswati, who wrote the excellent Hatha Yoga book Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, recommends doing your breathing exercises after yoga asanas. As for the Surya Namaskars, I don’t have a book or medical study to refer to. However, as this series requires mindfulness and precision, it might be best to perform it before tiring yourself with the brisk walk. Surya Namaskars could also serve as a good warm-up.

      Namaste, Victoria

  11. M.Radhakrishna

    Hello Victoria Mam ,

    First of all, Appreciation from my side for the great job you are doing to man-kind.

    Now, ,my question is, i am 24 years old ,and i have a body mass index which is above normal .. i am very worried.. and i am taking the diet in a normal manner, even though i am not able to decrease my body weight and belly..am 80 in weight now.. Please suggest me that what kind of exercises should be done for the better results..thanking you in advance !!

    • Victoria

      Thank you for your kind words, they keep me motivated.

      You’re telling me your BMI is above normal and your diet is normal and you want some exercises. A combination of a healthy diet and active lifestyle helps most people lose weight. Choose exercise you enjoy, such as yoga, walking or swimming, and do these activities for at least 30 minutes, at least three times per week. The Mayo Clinic provides a chart to tell you how many calories different exercises burn. You can also read my weight loss articles on the website.

      Exercising sparks the production of a newly discovered hormone irisin, which increases your metabolism and tells your body to convert white fat, which is bad fat, into brown fat, which is good fat. Walking can help bring down your weight. Some people have success with the 10,000 steps a day program. The idea is you wear a pedometer, a small device that counts your steps, to ensure you meet your goals. To take extra steps, take a walk in your neighborhood or at the park, by yourself or with a friend.

      Some other clinically proven weight loss tips include keeping a food diary, losing weight with a friend and eating your meals on 10-inch plates.

      Namaste, Victoria

  12. Iam doing suryanamaskar regulary. I of 60..I am exercising 15 round suryanamaskar by 2 daily. But thete is no weight loss. My hunger is doubled this age. So guide me. Thank you.

  13. Veronica

    Hi Victoria, Truly loved your blog…. i am 5’6″, medium built and weigh around 75KGs. i know that i am overweight and need to loose around 12-15Kgs to come back in shape. i have been practicising yoga since April 2013 and lost the water weight by doing yoga 4-5 times a week. i wanted to knw that if i combine surya namaskar (3 sets of 15 reps) with Cardio at the gym in the morning and 45-60mins walk/hot yoga/surya namaskar (3 sets of 15 reps) in the evening will that be okay. i am not eating any junk food or fizzy drinks.
    apart form that i take very light dinner (Soup, Salad, Boiled grams etc), lunch is 2 chapati with dal and sabzi and salad, and breakfast consist of milk and sandwich/oats/poha etc.
    Please advise.
    and also please tell me the timeframe i will be able to loose the extra pounds.

    Thanks in Advance….Veronica

    • Victoria

      Hi Veronica,
      I wish I could tell you how long it will take you to loose your extra pounds. Weight loss depends on a number of variables, including what you eat, how much you exercise and your genetics. It sounds like you have control of your diet, which is good news, and that should promote gradual weight loss and help you maintain your new weight. I also congratulate you on your commitment to yoga and exercise.

      I’m taking a guess here, but I think you might have a hit a weight loss plateau and your diet and exercise routine are no longer producing weight loss even though you’re sticking to your regimen. This is totally normal and conquering it means making some small changes to your diet and exercise plan.

      One way to overcome a weight loss plateau is increasing the intensity of your cardio, such turning up the resistance on an exercise bike or increasing the incline and/or pace on the treadmill. For more help breaking through a weight loss plateau click here.

      Namaste, Victoria

  14. shriya

    hai its nice to see your pages , i was dng yoga for past 3 yrs and since last yr i left dng yoga ( i was a paying guest & couldnt get back to my routine regularly. now i ve gained weight like anything . almost 10 more than 10 kgs . pls sugegst me. shall i go with my previous yoga which includ suryanamaskar & other set of asanas

  15. Ravindra Kumar Choudhary

    Hi! This is Ravindra. Is there any bad effects of Surya Namaskar for sugar patients?

  16. ranjana

    Hi Mam,

    I am 25 years old and have weight of 49 kgs and my height is 149 inchs and i am an IT proffession. I have constipation problem from teenage as girl i m suffering alot because of this i consult doctors and have gone through some medications nothing worked out.

    Is this can be curried through surya namaskar or any other type of yoga ?

    Please reply as soon as possible.And thanks in advance …

  17. Hi,

    I am Sneha. I am suffering from Hypothyroidism and am on medication(Thyronorm 100m). I weigh 99 for 5 ft height. I have started a brisk walk for 30 mins on
    my treadmill but believe in surya namaskara after going through this article. If you have any suggestions based on my health or weight please suggest me on how i should start with surya namaskara. I am also sticking to eat healthy stuff but the end of the day workout is a must in my case and i understand that. I need your guidance or please plan a exercise regime for me that promotes weight loss for 1 kg per week.

    Thanks a ton

  18. Samita

    Hi, I’m a breastfeeding mum of 4 months old baby who is 20 years old, height 5 ft and weight 60 kg and I really want my weight to go back to my pre-pregnancy weight 50 kg. How many rounds of Surya Namaskar do you think I need to do? I want to loose at least 5 kg within this 1 month. And is it okay If I do other exercise in between the Surya Namaskar? E.g I do 5 rounds first, then back pain exercise and another 5 rounds then another exercise for abs and finally the 3rd time of 5 rounds.

    • Namaste! Thank you for your question and congratulations on your new baby.

      First, I am not a doctor and if you have had a C-section or other complications you may need to delay exercising. Additionally, you are breastfeeding and must first consider your baby’s nutritional needs before beginning a diet for weight loss – you probably already know that. I would also caution against a low-fat diet because healthy fats are important for a baby’s proper development, especially the brain. Please consult your doctor about starting a diet program or exercise routine, including rounds of Surya Namaskar.

      For a healthy person, you can use Surya Namaskar as a warm-up or in between other exercises. You don’t have to do all the rounds at one time. If you want the cardiovascular benefits of Surya Namaskar, do it for at least 10 minutes at a time – which is typically at least 4 rounds.

      Why are you in such a hurry? Many breastfeeding women lose weight naturally and typically have an easier time of it than those who feed with formula. Sorry I don’t have more answers for you at this time. I’m hoping to put up a Surya Namaskar video soon that people can follow.

      Sincerely, Victoria

  19. anbarasi

    Can I practice Sooriya Namaskaram after delivering a baby? Will it help me to reduce my tummy and back pain? Please guide.

  20. radhika sreerama

    Hi! I work out regularly for one hour, but I have bad eating habits. I always switch workouts every 2 months, from gym to swimming to dancing etc. Still, I hardly reduce weight. From a few months I have been trying to have a proper diet and planned to start yoga for weight loss. Will doing Surya Namaskar 45 times help in weight loss, or walking/running is compulsory with this?

    • Hi! Thank you for your question. Is it compulsory to cross-train by both doing Surya Namaskar and walking/running? No, but cross-training is a valid fitness concept that helps you achieve overall fitness.

      Surya Namaskar is a cardiovascular exercise and doing 45 rounds will certainly burn calories. While walking at a 2 mph burns a similar amount of calories as doing yoga, running and swimming burns significantly more. Most of the clinical studies I have reviewed suggest that the most effective way to lose weight is a combination of diet and exercise.

      Namaste, Victoria

  21. Hi sister,
    I am Solai. I went to yoga for one month, but I didn’t have weight loss. What’s the problem? Plz tell me.

    • Namaste Solai,

      There are many weight loss articles on this website that can help answer your question. Simply, click the “Weight Loss” tab at the top of the page.

      The basic formula is eat a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and add exercise, such as yoga, to your weekly routine. Also, clinical studies suggest dieters that keep a food diary lose more weight than those who don’t. You can download apps to your phone or computer that will help you keep a food diary.

      I wish you much success, Victoria

  22. Ramu

    Namastey Victoria,

    ?I am 28, 5 ft. 7 in. tall and weigh close to 82 kgs. What I’m concerned about is my inch loss, since my current waist is about 36 inches.
    How many Surya Namaskars will help in reducing my waist?

    Ramu

    • Namastey Ram,

      Thank you for your question, Ramu. What I think you are talking about is spot reduction. Unfortunately, your body decides where to reduce the fat in your body, not the specific exercises you do. Therefore, I don’t know how many Surya Namaskars you would have to do to lose inches around your waistline.

      However, overall weight loss typically results in reducing your waist. Clinical studies suggest a combination of a reduced calorie diet and exercise is the most effective weight loss plan. Refer to this article for the approximate number of calories burned during Surya Namaskars.

      May your journey be successful, Victoria

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