“Yoga? I’m not too sure if it’s meant for me. I mean, I’m young. Isn’t yoga for the elderly? Okay, okay, if it means that much to you, I will give it a try!” These are the words I coaxed out of my throat while talking to my dear friend who had suggested that I (young, active, and invincible) try yoga for my backache (That’s right, the active me had terrible backache!) and that too during pregnancy!
I decided to give yoga a go, more to appease her vehement arguments, than to benefit from it. And no prizes for guessing what she made me do in the first session – the SUYRA NAMASKAR!. I sincerely started to think that my friend was crazy. Who asks a pregnant lady to twist and bend and stretch at a time when everyone else wouldn’t even let me breathe too deeply? Needless to say, I started feeling better within two days.
Benefits of 108 Surya Namaskar
So, why would anyone be crazy enough to do Surya Namaskar 108 times? Any yoga novice who has seen what it involves would balk at the idea. Yet, on April 7, 2012, millions took this same ‘Yogathon’ challenge and completed it successfully. Here are some benefits of doing 108 Surya namaskars:
- Different muscle groups are stretched and contracted alternatively – no muscle strain
- Increased flexibility and stamina
- Cleansed chakras or nerve centres
- Deep breathing cleanses the respiratory system
- Flatter abs, stronger spine, firmer muscles – need I say more?
- Makes you mentally calm and poised
How to Prepare Your Body and Mind for the Challenge?
The Surya Namaskar 108 challenge can be a daunting one for many. It is advised that novices, pregnant women, and patients of backache avoid this routine without consulting their doctors first. The expert brave hearts, however, may begin planning and preparing well in advance. Remember, it won’t happen in a day. You need to first assess your physical condition and stamina. The schedule given below follows a pattern spread over a month; follow the schedule to avoid stress related injuries and dejection of failure. Further, don’t push yourself too hard. It is not a competition to be won, but a health summit to be attained. Stay hydrated, eat well and don’t forget to take timeouts for rest. Lastly, remember that this schedule is not engraved in stone. You know your body best, know your limits and be prepared for a delay of a couple of days before you reach your ultimate goal of 54 sets of Sun salutations.
Reaching the 108 pinnacle
The 108 sun salutation is hailed by many celebrities and yoga buffs as the elixir of a young body and mind. It must be mentioned that the body and mind require rest after each session as they increase in pace. Therefore, you must warm up and cool down the body with gentle stretching, practise yoga nidra to relax the body, and remember not to skip any days on the suggested schedule.
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
|Week 1||4 sets||8||12||16||20||24||Rest|
The Art of living foundation suggests a further regimen of two weeks after attaining the 108 Surya Namaskar challenge where one reverses the salutations, gradually falling back from 54 sets to 6 sets a day.
Unlike the sceptic me who gave up after four sessions, you can try and go all the way for a better body, mind, and soul. There is nothing to lose after all; if all else fails, you will at least end up with the bragging rights of having something in common with all those yoga practicing celebrities – they’ve all tried the 108 surya namaskar challenge! It is a win-win situation for you