The hypothesis of the present study was regular practice of sun salutations improves muscle strength, endurance and body composition. In this study we revealed a statistically significant increase in upper as well as lower body muscle strength in both male and female groups. The physiologic responses to physical training and yogic practices have been well studied
. Yoga training is associated with improvement of muscle strength and respiratory endurance
. Earlier studies also noted a statistically significant increase in lower body strength with 8 weeks of yoga practice in informal caregivers; as evaluated by chair stand test 
. Similar results were found by the other researchers with yoga practice [12,13]
. During sun salutation, muscles of the entire body experience stretch and pressure alternately and therefore it is said to give more benefits in short duration of time [4,14]
. Many of its poses build strength because they require sustained contractions of many muscle groups of the entire body, which is comparable to resistance training 
. In the present study, more improvement is observed in strength of upper body than lower body. This might be because of more utilization of upper body muscles for weight bearing during the stages viz. 4, 6, and 7 of sun salutation.
General body endurance depends on skeletal muscle characteristics, oxygen uptake, its circulation and utilization. Performing sun salutation is similar to aerobic exercise as it involves static stretching and slow dynamic component with optimal stress on cardio-respiratory system 
. Incorporating sun salutation in a yoga session contributes to significantly intense physical activity to improve cardio-respiratory fitness in unfit or sedentary individuals 
. Yogic practices increase muscle strength, oxygen uptake, its circulation and utilization [12,18]
. With increase in these parameters, sun salutation practice leads to improvement in general muscle endurance.
In the present study, sun salutation practice has led to decrease in body weight and% body fat and increase in% lean body mass. Yoga practices lead to increase in energy expenditure resulting in statistically significant changes in body composition [19,20]
. Practice of only hatha yoga for 30 min a day increased MET to 2.5 in females. (MET is multiple of resting metabolic rate. 1 MET= oxygen uptake of 3.5 ml/kg/min) But inclusion of sun salutation in the session increased the MET to 3.74 
. Thus sun salutation incorporates a significant aerobic component to the yoga activity. This fact is reflected in the change of body weight and body fat percent. However, the changes in% body fat and LBM were statistically significant in females but not in male subjects. Body composition also depends on the diet. In our study no specific change was suggested in the diet pattern and the subjects continued their routine diet. Our subjects were undergraduate students and about 84% of them were residing in a hostel. In our own but unpublished study, we have noted that male students residing in hostel consume more junk food and that may be the cause for little change in their body composition.
Also the sun salutation training was perceived by the male subjects as ‘fairly light’ activity (RPE 11) whereas the same was perceived by female subjects as ‘somewhat hard’ activity (RPE 14). Possibly an exercise of higher intensity is required to bring about significant changes in body composition of male subjects.
In our study we also observed that, for all parameters, females showed better improvement than males. This might be due to their lower baseline physical fitness than males which provided more scope for the improvement.
The present study was restricted to college students aged from 17.5 to 20 years. Future studies can be performed on healthy but middle aged and elderly populations. In addition, sun salutation needs to be further investigated as a tool to enhance physical fitness and quality of life dimensions in various diseased conditions.