An often asked question is that is it advisable to do Sun Salutation at night or after sunset? We’ll answer this question in this article with scientific research and also tell you which is an ideal Yoga pose that can and should be done at night.
7 Important Facts About Doing Sun Salutation At Night
- Surya namaskar (sun salutation) is NOT recommended to be practiced late at night
- Steps involved invigorate and energize the body and may lead to inability to sleep
- Sun Salutation can be practiced in the evening if you must
- Favourable timing to do Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) or any yogic exercise is usually in the early morning before 8 or 9 am or after 4 or 4.30 pm (Ideal time if you can is 1 hour before the sun rise)
- Sun salutation is generally practiced to awaken the body and create energy and heat
- Surya namaskar (sun salutation) must be practiced in an empty stomach or 40 minutes after taking a meal.
- Chandra namaskar (moon salutation), a variation of sun salutation, can be practiced at night as it cools and calms down the body
Surya namaskar (sun salutation) is known to be the ultimate yoga practice as the asanas/poses included in sun salutation provide a full body workout. Practising sun salutation everyday can improve our metabolism, tone and strengthen our muscles and joints and also improve our physical posture as a human being. Additionally, regular practice of sun salutation helps in maintaining sugar level, stimulating our thyroid gland positively. It also helps greatly in regulating irregular menstrual cycles.
What is a good time to practice Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar?
We can practise sun salutation in the morning or evening. However, the favourable timing to do surya namaskar (sun salutation) or any yogic exercise is usually in the early morning before 8 or 9 am or after 4 or 4.30 pm in the evening as practising yoga during the cooler hours is the most effective for the body.
An ideal time for doing most yoga practices is around 1 hour before sun rise (around ~ 4:30 AM to 5 AM)
And this is most effective when done outside in the open space facing the sun. However, with the increasing pollution and decrease in air quality, many schools recommend practising sun salutation inside a room or studio. This is where the practice of sun salutation early in the morning becomes favourable as the air quality generally remains better and fresh compared to other times of the day.
Surya namaskar (sun salutation) is not recommended to be practised late at night as the steps involved invigorate and energise the body and may lead to inability to sleep. However, it can be practised in the evening if you must. It must be kept in mind that surya namaskar (sun salutation) must be practised in an empty stomach or 40 minutes after taking a meal. And also, sun salutation cannot be practised by those who have back pain, and other joint related ailments. In case a person having back pain wants to practise it, the forward bending postures such as padahastasana should be avoided. However, backward bending posture like hasta uttanasana helps relieve the back pain as it strengthens the back. All these poses must be practised under the supervision of an experienced Yoga instructor.
Sun salutation is generally practised to awaken the body and create energy and heat. The sequence of poses or asanas builds strength and stamina and connects fluid movement with the rhythmic breathing.
Which Yoga Pose Can be done at Night?
Sun salutation is not recommended to be practised at night, however, Chandra namaskar (moon salutation), a variation of sun salutation, can be practised at night as it cools and calms down the body while sun salutation energises the body and mind. Therefore, sun salutation is considered a yang practice and the moon salutation a yin practice. Since moon salutation consists of a set of cooling yoga poses, practising it before bedtime can help alleviate sleep problems and wind down your mind before bed for an overall increase in wellness (1).
Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar) – A Great Yoga Sequence For Night
Moon salutation mainly focuses on the lower part of the body so people who want to avoid bearing their weight on the wrist can also practise this. Moon salutation consists of the following 17 steps (2):
- Tadasana: Stand with your feet together, body aligned with breath. Bring the palms together like joining them during prayer, stretch the hands over the head and lengthen the spine. Remain in this position and take a few breaths before proceeding to the next asana.
- Chandrasana: Inhale deeply and bend to the left side, exhale as you bend. However, be careful to only tilt sideways and not forward or backward.
- Utkata Konasana: Return to the centre, step the feet apart and turn slightly out. Inhale, and as you exhale bend your knees, with thighs parallel to the ground. Keep your forearm at 90 degrees to the arms, and palms facing you.
- Utthita Tadasana: Raise yourself from the squatting position and straighten the elbows. Keep hands parallel to the ground, while relaxing chest and shoulders.
- Trikonasana: Step the left foot out and slide down to the left side. Extend the right hand up. This improves the spine flexibility and rectifies the misalignment of the shoulders.
- Parsvottanasana: Bring the head to touch the left knee, relax both hands down on the left foot. This asana helps improve posture and sense of balance. It also improves digestion and lengthens the muscles on calves of the leg.
- Left side lunge: Bend both knees and move into lunge on the left side, while looking to your left.
- Forward facing lunge: Straighten the right knee, do forward facing lunge, and bring both hands in front on the floor.
- Malasana: Squat with feet placed firmly on the floor and palms joined in front of you.
- Forward facing lunge: Repeat step 8, but, bend right knee and straighten the left and place palms on the floor.
- Right side lunge: Lunge to the right side, and look to your right.
- Parsvottanasana: Straighten both knees and bring your head to rest on the right knee, with both hands near the right foot.
- Trikonasana: Move up into a triangle pose.
- Utthita tadasana: Straighten knees and elbows.
- Utkata konasana: Repeat step 3
- Tiryaka tadasana: Join hands in prayer position, extend overhead, bend to your right side.
- Tadasana: Conclude in sequence, and return to original position, with hands in prayer position and extended overhead.
Moon salutation is more relaxed and slow compared to sun salutation. Since sun salutation energises and invigorates our body, it is not recommended to practice at night. Meanwhile, the steps included in the moon salutation cools and calms down the body. Although moon salutation can be practised anytime of the day, it is ideal to practice at evening or even before bed for a better sleep and mental peace.
References and Further Reading on Sun Salutation and Moon Salutation
- Master Class. masterclass.com. [Online] February 24, 2022. [Cited: March 9, 2022.] https://www.masterclass.com/articles/moon-salutation-guide#how-to-practice-a-moon-salutation-sequence.
- Padhte, Shonan P. Chandra Namaskar – The Unknown Soother. [Online] 2018. [Cited: March 9, 2022.] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343736695_CHANDRA_NAMASKAR_-THE_UNKOWN_SOOTHER.
- Tripathy, Manoranjan. “Effect Of Chandra Namaskar And Om Meditation On Aggression Of Adolescents.” Academia Arena 10.4 (2018): 75-79.
- Chattha, R., et al. “Effect of yoga on cognitive functions in climacteric syndrome: a randomised control study.” BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 115.8 (2008): 991-1000.
- Sachan, Anurag. “Surya Namaskar: Its Techniques and Health Benefits.”