Ratha Sapthami is celebrated as Surya Jayanthi every year to mark the birth of Surya, the Sun God. This year on February 19, the Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya Yoga Kendra, Mahalakshmipuram – that has trained nearly 5000 students – will perform a Sankalp to Surya (solemn vow) on a special day with 1008 rounds of Surya Namaskar (Salutation to Sun).
This all-encompassing yoga series with rhythmic breathing and chanting that mobilizes joints and strengthens muscles with ‘active meditation’ will be performed by 180 yoga practitioners coming together, looking to better their 2020 performance record. Says KN Nagesha Rao, Principal of Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya Yoga Kendra since 20 years, “Our Yoga Kendra holds world records in two books – ‘1008 Rounds of Surya Namsakara performed continuously for 15 hours by 46 students’ which is into the Asia Book Records; and the other in India Book of Records for the maximum number of rounds along with other yoga practitioners, both in 2021 edition. We had 12,096 yoga postures coming up in 15 hours on Ratha Saptami in 2020 at the Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya Temple, Bengaluru.”
This year’s Sankalp (on February 19) by the Yoga Kendra will have 1008 rounds performed by 180 Yoga students and practitioners in the 14 to 69 age group, in association with S-VYASA Yoga University, at Prashanti Kutirum, Campus of S-VYASA University, Jigani. “This year the number of female participants will be more than half the number of male, compared to last year’s lesser ratio of women,” says Rao, adding that they are “indeed trying to improve the record with 180 participants and as an incidental exercise, will attempt to make an entry in other books of records too.”
In the course of doing 1008 Surya Namaskaras, students complete 12,096 Aasanas without a break. How can the body go on for 15 hours without food and rest? Are they given extra training? It takes 50 seconds to complete each round of Surya Namaskaras in the series (comprising of 12 asana postures), explains Rao. Participants perform continuously for 15 hours between 4.30 am and 7.30 pm with intermittent breaks taken (aggregating to 50 minutes in all) at specific points for Shavasana (complete rest) and for the intake of dry-fruits and fruit juice for maintaining sugar and hydration balance. “The participants are given special cardiovascular training and breathing kriyas/pranayamas for nearly two months before taking up this Sankalp,” he says.
According to several yoga practitioners, compared to any other exercise, Surya Namaskar is ideal for creating the record, instead of any other yoga-series. “For us, doing 1,008 rounds of Surya Namaskar was more a Sankalp to show our reverence to Sun God, but creating a record was incidental. Surya Namaskar is done in different yoga positions for forwarding and backward bending, twisting and sitting postures. It acts as an excellent cardiovascular workout. It improves lung power and refreshes the mind and physical energy as it addresses the supreme cosmic power,” says Rao, who himself was a student of the Yoga Kendra.
Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya Yoga Kendra teaches nearly 75 Yogasanas and several of their variants, covering all postures. It also covers all breathing – pranayama and relaxation – techniques and Kriyas such as Kapalabhathi, Bhastrika, and Trataka. “This apart we practice and teach nearly 150 Yoga Mudras,” says Rao adding that the Yoga Kendra is also involved in umpteen social activities.
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