Yoga for Weight Loss: Surya Namaskar

Yoga for Weight Loss: Surya Namaskar

Surya Namaskar is an effective weight loss tool because its a cardiovascular exercise, according to a study from the Department of Kinesiology at San Jose State University published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.


Practice Surya Namaskar if you want to do yoga for weight loss. Also known as sun salutation, Hatha and Sivananda Yoga practitioners typically perform this series of 12 asanas at the beginning of every practice. Doing Surya Namaskar burns a significant amount of calories because it’s cardiovascular exercise, which elevates your heart rate. This classic yoga series also stretches and tones your muscles, relaxes your mind and keeps your internal organs healthy.

What is Surya Namaskar?

Surya namaskar is a series of Hatha yoga poses. You cycle through the asanas on the right side and then the left to complete one round. It’s important to move rhythmically from one pose to the next in sync with your breath. Yoga beginners typically start with three rounds of Surya Namaskar and gradually increase to eight to 10 rounds. Contraindications for Surya Namaskar include, but are not limited to high blood pressure, prior stroke and coronary artery disease.

Surya Namaskar as Cardiovascular Exercise

Surya Namaskar is a cardiovascular exercise, which is why you can do Surya Namaskar as yoga for weight loss even though you perform slow controlled body movements. The results of the study shows that during the first round of Surya Namaskar your heart rate goes up to 80% of your age-predicted maximum heart rate, also known as HRmax. During the fourth round your heart rate raises to 90% of your age-predicted HRmax. Your heart rate reaches its peak during the eighth step of Surya Namaskar, when you do downward dog for the second time.

Calories Burned with Surya Namaskar and Gentle Hatha Yoga

*As you read the following info keep in mind, the more you weigh the more calories you burn per minute and a yoga class usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes. Your results may vary. Look at the information box below for a couple quick facts about weight loss.

– A person weighing 132 pounds burns 230 calories doing 30 minutes of Surya Namaskar.

– A person weighing 155 pounds burns 298 calories doing 60 minutes of gentle Hatha yoga.

– A person weighing 185 pounds burns 356 calories doing 60 minutes of gentle Hatha yoga.

– A person weighing 155 pounds burns 470 calories doing a 90-minute Hatha yoga class that starts with 30 minutes of surya namaskar.

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