Hyderabad: Early morning surya namaskar performed for about
20 minutes a day increases the bone, muscle and lung power in healthy
individuals while keeping chronic ailments under control in patients.
A clinical study by the Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education
and Research at the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical
Education and Research (Jipmer), Puducherry, showed that
schoolchildren, who were trained in slow and fast surya namaskar for
about six months, showed a highly significant increase in isometric
hand grip (IHG) strength and hand grip endurance (HGE), which means
their skeletal and muscular strength had increased.
"Surya namaskar combines both physical and breathing exercises. It is
a series of 12 postures with breath control movements. It gives the
benefit of both the yoga and the pranayama. Both slow and fast surya
namaskar gave immense health benefits, though they differ in nature.
The health effects of fast surya namaskar are similar to physical
aerobic exercises. The benefits from slow surya namaskar are akin to
those of yoga," Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani told this correspondent.
The clinical research on the health benefits of surya namaskar was
conducted under the guidance of Dr Madanmohan Trakroo, project
director of the Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education and
Research. "We selected schoolchildren as they are in the growing
stage. Surya namaskar can be performed by both healthy individuals and
those suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and heart ailments," he
Dr Ananda Balayogi said pulmonary function tests of the students
showed improvement with the maximum inspiratory pressure and maximum
expiratory pressure increasing considerably. Those who want to reduce
weight and keep chronic diseases under check should perform fast surya
namaskar. For mental relaxation slow surya namaskar will be of great
"The 12 postures can be repeated thrice in 20 minutes in case of slow
surya namaskar. If it is fast, there can be as many as eight," he
said, adding that surya namaskar is performed in a "rhythmic manner
starting in an upright standing position and then moving into
alternate forward and backward bending movements interspaced with
movements involving all four limbs before ending the practice in an
erect standing position."