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Wanna do Hatha yoga to burn calories and lose weight? Start each yoga session with Surya Namaskar—Sun Salutation.
Surya Namaskar burns more calories than other yoga asanas because, when done sequentially, it is a cardiovascular exercise: after the first round of Surya Namaskar, your heartbeat increases to between 80% and 90% of age-predicted maximal heart rate, called HRMAX.
Sun Salutation is a suitable Hatha yoga series for all levels. Clinical studies indicate that yoga beginners require minimal training in Surya Namaskar to receive maximum benefits.
What Is Surya Namaskar?
This common version of Surya Namaskar is:
- A series of 12 yoga poses
- Performed rhythmically, one after the other, in synchronicity with your breath
- At the beginning of your Hatha yoga session.
Sun Salutation offers more for your health than just burning calories. The health benefits of Sun Salutation include
- Strengthening your back, upper body, and quadriceps
- Improving your flexibility
- Increasing your respiratory capacity
- Stimulating your digestive system
How Many Calories Burned with Surya Namaskar?
The answer is Surya Namaskar burns about 3.79 calories per minute, according to a study by the Indian Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Science and published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.
The researchers learned that one round of Surya Namaskar takes an average of 3 minutes and 40 seconds, which means 1 round of Surya Namaskar burns about 13.91 calories for a woman, man, or child weighing 138 pounds. (Those who weigh more will burn more calories, and if you weigh less, you will burn fewer calories. This is true for all yoga asanas and exercise in general.)
How to Do Surya Namaskar for Weight Loss?
Before starting any weight loss program, you should know there are approximately 3,500 calories in 1 pound of fat. So, in theory, you reduce your daily calories by 250 to 500 in order to achieve ½ to 1 pound of weight loss per week (notably, new clinical research disputes this).
You can create a caloric deficit by exercising more and/or eating fewer calories. Experts advise that the most effective way for most women, men, and children to lose weight is to do both.
Using the numbers from this yoga study, a 138-pound person should do Surya Namaskar for about 67 minutes to burn 250 calories and about 95 minutes to burn 350 calories. Your results may vary.
Weight Loss Tip:
References for Yoga to Burn Calories: Surya Namaskar
1) Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology; Energy Cost and Cardiorespiratory Changes During the Practice of Surya Namaskar; B. Sinha, et al.
2) Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies; Acute Effects of Surya Namaskar on the Cardiovascular and Metabolic System; B.S. Mody.
3) State of Vermont Division of Disability and Aging Services; Calories Count!
4) Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.