Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Beauty of Suryanamaskars

Although the monsoons are on their way out and soon there won’t be many acceptable excuses to avoid the gym, there are still a few interesting options for those of us who choose to work out at home!

Apart from the exercises discussed over last few weeks, options to work out at home will be incomplete, without giving due credit to Yoga, which can be done at home, but only after learning it under expert guidance. The most common and highly effective Suryanamaskars are an excellent way to get a full-body and mind workout.

Surya namaskar is also called the Sun Salutation, having its origins as a form of sun-worship. Hence it is advised to do it early in the morning around sun rise. However, in a practical world, it can be done at any time of the day.

There must be a gap of at least 3-4 hours between eating anything and performing Surya namaskars. Thus, once again early morning is recommended.

There are in all 12 asanas that follow in a sequence and they alternately stretch and compress the spine and the muscles around the spine. Also, one has to inhale and exhale alternately, starting with exhalation on the first asana, followed by deep inhalation as one extends the hand upwards and backwards, thereby expanding the lungs and chest. However, the breath needs to be held at the sixth step, when your body is parallel to the ground, and then resumed.

It is said that it activates almost all the muscles and keeps them activated for some time after the exercise.

Ideally, one must go slow. A comfortable rate is one Suryanamaskar in one minute, thereby giving each step or pose atleast 5 seconds to hold and then change into the next pose.

Around 12-24 repetitions are a good number to get a full-body workout. It is said that each set of Suryanamaskar burns around 14-15 Kcal!

Special cases of slip-disc, arthritis, heart attack, pregnant women are suggested to take medical opinion. Also if you are feeling breathless or dizzy due to exertion or sudden movements, take a break and rest and slow down the sequence.

It is advised to lie down and rest at the end of the repetitions. Yoga advises asanas like shavasana (Corpse Pose) to completely relax your body after Suryanamaskar.

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