Sun salutations are a vital part of a physical yoga practice. Often yoga practitioners perform between 10-20 salutations in a class session. Sun salutations can be performed in a variety of different styles, but they usually consist of a series of yoga postures performed in a flowing pace with the breath.
New research in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, studies the impact of sun salutations on strength, endurance, and body composition. Researchers examined 49 males and 30 females, who performed 24 cycles of sun salutations, 6 days per week for 24 weeks. Upper body muscle strength was assessed using a bench press 1 Rep Max and a shoulder pressing exercise. Back and leg muscles were tested using muscle dynamometry. Researchers evaluated general body endurance a using push-up and sit-up test, and body composition was assessed using bioelectric impedance analysis.
- Muscle strength by bench press showed significant increase in males (29.49 to 36.12) and females (10.5 to 13.16).
- Strength in the shoulder press also increased in males (22.96 to 26.53), and females (6.83 to 8.83).
- Endurance by push-ups and sit-ups showed a similar increase in males (19.0to 21.98) and (24.92 to 29.84) and in females (14.66 to 18.56) and (13.16 to 19.23).
- A significant decrease was noted in the tested body fat percentages, but this was only noted in the female group (27.68 to 25.76). ***BMI also significantly decreased in both the groups.
This new research indicates that the practice of sun salutations may have the potential of improving strength, endurance and body composition. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts should consider taking a yoga class and adding sun salutations to augment their sport activities and workouts.