Those Marathon 108 Surya Namaskars

I am a huge advocate of yoga and have been practicing the same for more than three years now. Yoga happened to me quite by chance and it wasn’t much of a planned thing.

I was on my way to a swimming school to enroll for swimming classes when I happened to cross Yogatree – a Yoga center nearby. I noticed the board without paying any heed to it. At the swimming school, I paid the fees and enrolled for lessons that were due to begin the following week. Just two days before the due date, the swimming school called up to cancel classes for the next two months due to an immediate maintenance work of the pool. Yogatree flashed in my mind at that moment for no particular reason. I looked them up on Google and found myself there the very next day.

That was the beginning of my introduction to the magical and fascinating world of Yoga. And, with the bunch of dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic teachers, the love that I imbibed for Yoga was quite natural. Today Yoga has become a way of life for me.

The location advantage of Yogatree suited me very well – just 2 Km. from my house meant less haggling with the infamous Bangalore traffic. In fact, I would walk my way down to class and back. The two great friends I made there were unexpected add-ons that further brightened up my Yoga experience. The three of us would look forward to those four days a week of catching up and practicing together.

Due to some personal situational difficulties I haven’t been going to class for the past three months. While I am religiously practicing the asanas at home, I miss my yoga class for various reasons. One of those is the 108 Surya Namanskars that we would practice every once in a while – usually on weekends.

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Surya Namaskar also known as Surya Pranam or Sun Salutation, for the uninitiated, is a set of 12 yoga asanas that are gracefully sequenced together. Six distinct asanas are repeated twice during the sequence. The first set of six is dedicated to the right side of the body and the next set to the left side of the body. Surya Namaskar is done to express gratitude to the sun for sustaining life on earth and has an immensely positive impact on the mind and body.  It is a great cardiovascular workout too.

When I heard about 108 Surya Namaskars for the first time, which was just within a month of joining Yogatree, I thought this was crazy and undoable. However, on the insistence of my teacher I participated in my first session of 108 Surya Namaskars. The thought was daunting and I was absolutely sure I wouldn’t cross even 25 rounds. But to my surprise I was able to complete the entire session. We did it in sets of 9 and though I did miss a round or two here and there I sustained through to the end of the session.

I was immensely proud of myself and it gave a boost to my confidence as my flexibility was really bad then. Not that it’s great now, but I have hugely improved. After that, I always ensured that I made myself available for every 108 Surya Namaskar sessions.

However, for the last three months I have been missing those marathon Surya Namaskars as I have been practicing at home. I can mindfully do 10-12 Surya Namaskars at a time but 108 just doesn’t happen. I lose my focus and haven’t been successful yet.

Hoping that circumstances will change sooner than later and I can get back to class again.

An Addendum:

The number 108 has a special significance and is considered sacred. I googled to find some.

  • The numbers 1, 0, and 8 represent one thing, nothing, and everything (infinity). 108 thus represents the ultimate reality of the universe as being simultaneously one, emptiness, and infinite.
  • Vedic mathematicians considered 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence. 108 also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth. The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters.
  • Prayers malas have 108 beads.
  • There are 108 pithas or sacred sites in India.
  • In Hindu tradition, there are 108 Mukhya Shivaganas or attendants of Shiva.
  • Lord Krishna had 108 gopis in Vrindavan.
  • The Sri Vaishnavite Tradition has 108 Divya Desams (temples of Vishnu)

For more read:

Post in response to the theme for Bar-A-Thon: The Blogging Marathon

If You Can Walk, So You Can Run

  • “I think I am too old to start running!”
  • “Probably running is not meant for everyone!”
  • “Running can happen only if you have been into some kind of sports during your growing up years!”

These are just some of the doubtful questions that kept popping into my mind when I started running and it was nothing but struggle. Quite convinced that running is not for everyone, I frantically googled to find some pointers that would scientifically agree with what I was thinking. There was none! Every article that I read pointed to one thing – If you can walk so you can run.

Running is one of the best aerobic exercises for physical conditioning of our hearts and lungs. And, the best part is it comes cheap – rather costs nothing. Yet in all these years I have never given it a thought, even though I am quite particular about keeping fit. The main impetus for running came from my treks in the Himalayas. I will write about that in more detail in another post.

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While walking is a breeze for me even for long distances, running leaves me breathless and exhausted even if it’s just a few meters. For some time, I just harboured the desire to run as I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

It was not until one fine day when the impulsive me showed up quite randomly out of the blue. And, I changed into a T-shirt and Yoga pants, slipped into my canvas shoes, and stepped out to run. I didn’t have running shoes then. I didn’t know where to go as there is no space to run in my apartment and there are no parks nearby.

As always, I started missing the neighbourhood where I lived earlier, before moving in to my own home. Every lane used to have a park there but at that time I had never thought of running. Life is full of paradoxes….Sigh!

Left with no choice, I ran on the busy road nearby alongside cars, autos, shops, cows, vegetable vendors, flower vendors and everything you can think of in our Indian roads. Coupled with the pot-holed and broken Bangalore roads, it was no less than an obstacle course. I could run for just a few meters and then walked on, finally retracing my way back home.

The next day I went out again. This time I recalled a neighbour mentioning about a park on some street close to my home and I decided to check that out. I walked up to the park and found it to be about a kilometer from my home. It was a tiny one and you need to run around it 11 times to complete just a Kilometer. I did probably just a Kilometer or less, even walked for a few rounds, and came back home fully exhausted. I did that for the next few days with the same result – coming home all flushed and fully exhausted.

Just a few days later, I went for a run with a marathoner friend. It was just a 3 Km. run. I overestimated my abilities and feel ill. There was no running for me for a long time after that. While I am impulsive, I am quite determined too. So, I did not give up. I started off all over again and perseverance paid off.

Today I am able to run 5 Km without falling sick and I do it for at least 3 times a week. It has become a part of my regular fitness regime. Running 5 Km. is probably child’s play for many people and marathoners may even have a laugh or two on reading this. But, for me it is a huge deal considering that just a few months back I was struggling to complete even a Kilometer.

So, how did I do it? Well, I will write about that soon.

Post in response to the theme for Bar-A-Thon: The Blogging Marathon