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.
Lose Weight without Dieting
Forty-nine men and 30 women lost weight without going on a diet: simply by completing 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar per day, 6 days per week.
Surya Namaskar, also called Sun Salutation, is suitable for beginner to advanced practitioners. However, some people should not performing this series or consult their medical professional first.
Contraindications for Surya Namaskar include, but are not limited to
- high blood pressure
- slipped disk
- 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? Considering one round of Surya Namaskar takes about 3.5 to 4 minutes, you need to set aside 40-minutes, 6 days per week.
Now that you have a Surya Namaskar schedule, the only trick is sticking to it. If you’re having trouble maintaining motivation, try practicing Surya Namaskar while listening to motivating or relaxing music.
Step 3. Perform Surya Namaskar at a slow, steady pace in synchronicity with your breath.
If you’re a yoga beginner, expect to need about 15 days of practicing Sun Salutation to build enough strength to complete 12 rounds per session. To work your way up to 12 rounds, follow the daily routine below. The following steps, published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, are the same steps used to train the participants in the Sun Salutation weight loss 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 Namaskar
- 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, 6 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.
If you have trouble meditating in silence, you can try Kirtan music or a 5-minute guided meditation session; you can find both by searching on YouTube and finding something you like.
Surya Namaskar Weight Loss Results
After 6 months of doing Surya Namaskar and without changing their diet, this study’s participants lost weight.
The women lost an average of 3.5 pounds and the men lost an average of 4 pounds.
I would agree this is not a significant amount of weight loss for most people who want to lose weight. 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 or less than the participants, your results may vary. To achieve the most weight loss with Surya Namaskar, or any “exercise” routine, you should make the healthiest food choices possible.
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
Downward dog photo by adifansnet