Few days ago was International yoga day. The whole world was celebrating. My friends from across the globe were posting pictures of large groups who had gotten together on that day for a yoga session. One from Kuwait, the other from Africa and many more such. Here back home in India, we had several local yoga events taking place. Once such was the Surya Namaskar challenge. For those who don’t know what Surya Namaskar means, it is simply a salutation to the Sun (whom we Hindus consider to be God), where Surya means Sun & Namaskar is Namaste or a salutation done with folded palms. SN is an intense series of 12 steps that are performed in perfect symmetry. Two rounds of these 12 steps in succession ie 24 steps (12 for each side of your body- left & right) constitutes one SN. A good friend took up the challenge & completed 1008 SN’s ie 1008*24 = 24192 steps. Whew!! He did this in about 4.5 hours. If done correctly, SN has many benefits to the human body as well as mind. It is a complete exercise form by itself as it improves your overall strength & stamina.
My mom introduced me to yoga when I was still a girl. And nothing gives me so much peace than practising this form of exercise (other than running of course) it was by chance that it happened. Mom wanted to join a group of people who practised yoga at a nearby park that was about a kilometre away from where we stayed. We had to be there at 6 am & she was afraid to walk alone that early. She asked me if I would accompany her & that is where I had my first session of non-professional yoga, with senior citizens (most of them were in their 50’s. Today, as I add numbers to my years, I have many friends who are in their 50’s & no, I don’t think they are old :D. But that was then, when I was still to turn 18). An old lady shouting out instructions, the others following (not necessarily maintaining the right posture); no one corrected us! Then some elderly would freely fart when we did the ‘pavanamuktasan’ (a pose that helps relieving gas especially for the gastronomously inclined 😀 ). This leading to many giggles and friendly comments from the rest of the group. I was the youngest there (only one in that age), but loved what I did.
When I grew up, I took up to running. Slowly I felt the need to balance my runs with some alternate form of strength training. I naturally chose yoga (I have also tried, gym, aerobics, pilates etc but stuck to yoga). The breathing has opened up my lungs & helped me to be a better runner. The planks have strengthened my core & improved my posture while I run (or even during the normal course of the day, I don’t slouch). I can go on about the benefits, but will stop here atleast for now 🙂
So when the world has suddenly woken up to understand the benefits of Yoga, I smile to myself with a sense of satisfaction. Been there, doing that..Till death do us apart 🙂