How Many Calories Does Surya Namaskar Help To Burn?

Everything you need to know about doing surya namaskara to lose weight.

Reviewed by Rakesh Rathod, Certified Personal Trainer
Written by Shirin Mehdi, BA
Edited by Arshiya Syeda, BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Dip
Fact-checked by Himanshi Mahajan, BSc (Life Sciences), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

While there are many diets and exercises that claim to help you lose that excess weight, sometimes following our ancient wisdom is the best way to go about it! If you are someone who is not fond of that heavy gym machinery or following a strict diet and workout regimen, you should give Surya Namsaskars for weight loss a try.

Surya Namaskar is one of the most simple yet effective ways to lose weight. It not only helps you lose the excess fat from the right places but also keeps your body fit, strong, and flexible. It helps improve your overall metabolism and build lean muscle mass as well.

An anonymous cross-sectional online survey of 2434 yoga practitioners revealed that slightly more than 47% of respondents stated that their motivation for practicing yoga had changed from general health and fitness to stress management and spirituality. 16% of participants reported beginning their yoga practice to treat a physical or mental illness.

Surya Namaskar is done in repetitions of a few basic steps that address every part of your body. There is no other form of exercise that gives you such a holistic effect every day. Try out the steps and variations of Surya Namaskar for weight loss as mentioned below to see the difference yourself. Scroll down!

What Is Surya Namaskar All About?

Woman performing Surya Namaskar
Image: Shutterstock

Surya Namaskar is also known as Sun Salutation in English. It is a common sequence of 12 body postures. Each of these asanas is performed by stretching first, the right side of the body, followed by the left side. This makes one round of Sun Salutation. 12 rounds, that is, a set of 24 asanas ought to be done. These asanas have phenomenal impact on the throat, chest, heart, stomach, intestine and legs. In simpler words, Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar is a complete body workout in itself. The postures in Surya Namaskar range from flexing and bending to stretching the muscles, while continually breathing in and out rhythmically. For this, yoga experts have called Surya Namaskar the base of power yoga. Power yoga simply aims at achieving more health benefits in less time. So, if you are keeping very busy or want to reduce weight in less time, this yoga workout is meant for you.

Like any other asana, Surya Namaskar should be practiced on an empty stomach. It is recommended to keep an interval of minimum two hours between eating and performing the namaskar. The ideal time to practice Surya Namaskar is during the early morning and this should be performed facing the rising sun. Surya Namaskar aims at aligning your mind, body and soul. The 12 asanas are performed rhythmically in a sequence and need to be synchronized with your breathing. And now for the details on the Surya Namaskar calorie burn.

protip_icon Did You Know?
The word Surya Namaskar stems from two Sanskrit words, ‘Surya’ and ‘namaskar.’ While the former means ‘Sun’ and is also the Hindu demigod of the Sun, the latter stands for ‘greeting’ or ‘to salute.’

How To Do Surya Namaskar To Lose Weight?

Woman performing Surya Namaskar for weight loss
Image: Shutterstock

In order to lose some weight with the help of Surya Namaskar, incorporate the following steps into your daily schedule. This should definitely be of some use!

1. Learn all the steps that fall under Surya Namaskar. There are twelve poses in total and you need to perform them with precision. It is important to learn how to do Surya Namaskar the right way if you want to shed weight. It will take you from around 30 minutes to a whole hour to complete all the poses in one go.

2. You need to perform the steps everyday at the same time. This will help you lose weight faster. If you would like to stay motivated throughout the yoga routine, try some soothing and gentle music. Make sure it isn’t something too loud or funky. Classical music would be a great choice in this case.

3. You should perform the steps at a slow and steady pace. If you have just started to learn about yoga, it would take around 15 days to perfect all the poses. This will also allow you to build strength and get slim faster than you think!

4. Once you have built enough strength, increase the number of rounds you do! You could practise Surya Namaskar for about six days a week and do a total of 12 rounds.

5. You should end your practise with 5 minutes of stretching exercises or relaxation poses such as Shavasana.

Calories Burnt In Surya Namaskar:

A group performing Surya Namaskar to burn calories
Image: Shutterstock

Studies have shown that one minute of Sun Salutation helps you burn 3.79 calories. Through research it has been shown that one full round of Surya Namaskar takes approximately 3 minutes and 40 seconds to complete. Therefore the calories burnt in 1 surya namaskar can be up to 13.91 calories. This result can, however, vary from person to person, depending on his respective body weight and other attributes.

It is a known fact that one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. So, if you wish to reduce about a pound every week, you must burn approximately 250-500 calories daily. Using these figures, an average weighing individual should perform

  • 18 minutes of Sun Salutation to burn 250 calories,
  • 25 minutes for 350 calories
  • 40 minutes for 500 calories respectively.

Yoga beginners typically start with four rounds of Surya Namaskar that get you to burn nearly 55 calories. The count should be gradually increased keeping in mind your body capacity. 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar burn nearly 156 calories, which is equivalent to doing rigorous exercise in the gym for an hour. Some yoga experts even practice 100 namaskars in each session. However, you should strictly abstain from overdoing the asanas. Your ideal Surya Namaskar count for burning calories should be considered taking into account your heart rate, stamina and strength. Since the postures in Sun Salutation can be improvised depending on the individual body type, it can be started by anyone who wishes to improve their fitness levels. Yet, beginners should perform the asanas under supervision from experts to get maximum benefits.

Incorporating Surya Namaskar into your daily routine can provide various health benefits. Find out in the next section how it improves your health.

Benefits Of Surya Namaskar

Here are some of the key benefits of practicing Surya Namaskar (2), (3):

  • Tones the entire body
  • Improves flexibility and posture
  • Strengthens the muscles and joints
  • Stimulates the abdominal muscles
  • Improves digestion and reduces constipation
  • Enhances blood circulation
  • Calms your mind and promotes emotional stability
  • Enhances concentration and focus
  • Balances the energy flow within the body
  • Eliminates toxins and promotes radiant skin
  • Helps combat insomnia
  • Improves sense of self-awareness
  • Enhances mindfulness and spiritual awareness
  • Reduces fatigue and sluggishness

Having said that, Medhya Budhwar, a blogger, started practicing Surya namaskars and to her surprise, it helped reduce her weight. Talking about her experience she said, “My flexibility improved as well. I can now touch the floor with my palm without bending my knees although it still hurts like hell. My first victory came when I checked my weight 3 months later. I had lost 3 kgs. I was so happy with the results (i).” Encouraged by the results of Surya Namaskar, the blogger stepped up her fitness game and switched to a healthy diet, and started exercising daily.

Tips To Remember:

Woman following Surya Namaskar tips while performing it
Image: Shutterstock

There are also a few tips you could remember while practising Surya Namaskar regularly. This will definitely help you shed the weight fast!

1. Try to practise Surya Namaskar in the morning. Your stomach is empty during the early hours of dawn and according to yoga experts; you shouldn’t consume anything for about 4 to 5 hours before Surya Namaskar.

2. Every round of Surya Namaskar will burn a total of 10 calories. In this way, you can easily burn around 145 calories in a forty-minute routine.

3. You should be performing every move in a slow manner. Remember to be graceful. Don’t slow it down too much.

4. Before you start, do a couple of warm up stretches. This will help you ease into the yoga routine and prevent injury.

Woman stretching before performing Surya Namaskar
Image: Shutterstock

5. You could chant the Surya Namaskar mantra if listening to music isn’t your thing.

6. If you want quick results, do six sets of Surya Namaskar. This will make your body flexible and build strength. 108 rounds should be more than enough for shedding extra kilos. However, don’t force yourself while practising. Yoga isn’t supposed to make you feel stressed or strained.

protip_icon Quick Tip
As Surya Namaskar puts pressure on the abdomen and the back, it should be avoided by pregnant women.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Surya Namaskar better than running?

In some ways. Though running helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and improves sleep, Surya Namaskar is said to have more psychological benefits than running.

Can a beginner do 108 Surya Namaskar every day?

Doing 108 Surya Namaskar can be a daunting task for a beginner. However, you can slowly increase the number of sets as you build your stamina.

Does Surya Namaskar reduce hip size?

Yes. Surya Namaskar helps reduce hip size and improves flexibility (1).

Can I eat immediately after Surya Namaskar?

No. Avoid eating immediately after Surya Namaskar because your entire body, including intestines and internal organs, have just undergone a strenuous stretch.

Key Takeaways

  • Surya Namaskar comprises 12 different postures that address every part of your body.
  • It is a full-body workout done at a slow and steady pace.
  • A minute of Surya Namaskar burns 3.79 calories.
  • The time estimated for the complete set of asanas is approximately 3 minutes and 40 seconds, burning 13.91 calories.
  • Beginners can target 15 minutes of Surya Namaskar to burn 250 calories and slowly increase it to 40 minutes to burn 1 pound of fat in a week.

Infographic: Steps To Do Surya Namaskar For Weight Loss

Begin your journey towards health and weight loss easily with Surya Namaskar! Through its 12 yoga poses, this workout has a reputation for helping people become more fit. So make sure to include this exercise in your daily regimen as it can increase your energy levels, promote mindfulness, and invoke a sense of peacefulness in your life. Check out the infographic below to learn how to do Surya Namaskar for weight loss.8

Check out the infographic below to learn how to do Surya Namaskar for weight loss.

steps to do surya namaskar for weight loss (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

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Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, is a yoga routine that consists of 12 different body positions. Stretching the right side of the body first and then the left side is the first step in each of these asanas. Surya Namaskar can help burn calories alongside numerous advantages, including improved muscle flexibility, back and upper body strength, increased respiratory capacity, improved cardiovascular function, and digestive system stimulation. It also relieves mental fatigue, tension, and emotional worry. You can begin practicing the routine at your home right away as it is completely safe for beginners. All in all, Surya Namaskar is the ultimate way to remain calm, healthy, and in shape.


Experience the power of Surya Namaskar with this video! Learn 12 yoga poses to help flatten your stomach and tone your thighs. Follow the tips mentioned in the video and feel the difference!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Effect of Surya Namaskar on Hip Adductor Flexibility among Young Physiotherapy Students: A Pilot Study
    https://www.ijhsr.org/IJHSR_Vol.10_Issue.6_June2020/37.pdf
  2. A Comprehensive Study On Effect Of Surya Namaskar On Cardio-respiratory Endurance
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331277345_A_Comprehensive_Study_On_Effect_Of_Surya_Namaskar_On_Cardio-respiratory_Endurance
  3. Surya Namaskar: Its Techniques and Health Benefits
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/357527880_Surya_Namaskar_Its_Techniques_and_Health_Benefits
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