Salutations to Sun or Surya Namaskar is a something that is being practiced from ages in India. Sun God in Hindu scriptures is considered to be the source of life and energy. It is considered to be the symbol of good health. Rig Veda describes Sun God as – “Suurya aatmaa jagasatasthuushasca”, meaning “Sun is the Soul, of both moving and unmoving things.
Sun salutation or Surya Namaskar is performed as series of yogic postures. You can get the details of the postures from this link. [LINK]. In the Vedas, Surya Namaskar has been prescribed to be performed early in the morning. It is just when the Sun is rising that you are supposed to do it and not later. Like many other such customs as mentioned in our Vedas, even this has a scientific reasoning behind it.
We know well, as per medical research that direct sun rays are not good for the skin. The ultra violet rays can cause more harm than benefit, and the heat can cause further damage to the body. Overexposure to the sun creates oxidative stress similar to radiation burns from exposure to nuclear material. That's because the sun itself is a huge nuclear furnace. A radiation burn from the sun can start a chain reaction in the melanocyte and other cells. This may lead to cancer in a year or two or in a decade or two. Oxidative stress from sunburn is insidious and dangerous.
On the other hand early morning sunlight does not have the high ultraviolet rays that midday sun does. So if you now do Surya Namaskar with your skin maximum exposed, it can provide you with same benefits without the risk of over exposer. Your body needs 20-30 minutes of this sunlight to reap the benefits, especially when it comes to creation of Vit D in the body. And Vedas ask us to perform the Surya Namaskar exercises always slowly and not hurriedly. The whole Surya Namaskar set of exercises was created in such a scientific manner that when done properly, it takes around 20-30 minutes itself.
While sunlight is composed of about 1,500 wavelengths, research shows UVB is the only wavelength that will produce vitamin D when hitting unexposed skin. And UVB is available in the early morning sunrays. UVA’s, which is present in later day sunrays, increases your risk of skin cancer and causes photo aging of your skin.
Benefits of Surya Namaskar as scientifically proven:
Sunlight is crucial for health because sunlight creates Vitamin D as it interacts with our skin. Many research papers have validated this point. The research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, shows that those with the lowest vitamin D levels have more than double the risk of dying from heart disease and other causes over an eight-year period compared with those with the highest vitamin D levels. Lack of Vit D can cause bones to become soft and weak, which can lead to bone deformities.
Northwestern University School of Medicine new study reports, being exposed to sunlight early in the morning (instead of later in the day) is associated with a lower BMI. This association was found regardless of other factors like how many calories people ate or how much they exercised. Early morning light exposure accounted for 20 percent of the variation in BMI among people studied.