Surya Namaskaras or, Sun Salutations as they are more commonly known, are one of the most practiced sequences of yoga postures. In Ashtanga Yoga, five of each Surya Namaskar A and B are used to warm up the body and initiate the buildup of Angi, the inner fire.
During my yoga teacher training in India, I struggled immensely in this part of my daily practice. I dreaded each and every Chaturanga and eagerly looked forward to the end of this torturous sequence. Back then, I did not have the necessary strength required to repeat this Vinyasa flow, causing feelings of immense frustration which triggered my dislike of Sun Salutations further each time. I tried to push myself to continue, only to find my wrists hurting more and more.
That was 9 months ago.
In a month, I will take part in an international Yogathon where I will challenge myself to perform 108 Sun Salutations. How did I end up here you may be thinking – from trying to avoid Sun Salutations to actually committing to a marathon of the sequence?
It all started with a simple spontaneous decision; I saw an advertisement of the Yogathon and I thought why not? I tested the waters and started slowly with just four Sun Salutations and added four more every single day. In the first week, I felt a tremendous boost in my energy level despite how tired I felt after each practice. That’s when I decided to continue and registered myself into the Yogathon Challenge of 108 Sun Salutations that will take place on August 20th, 2016
In addition to the personal benefits of practicing Sun Salutations, the Yogathon #RISEFORACAUSE supports a good cause. This annual event generates awareness and interest in the practice of yoga by challenging participants to complete 108 sun salutations as a symbol of hope to children around the world and to spread the message of universal education for youth by supporting Care for Children, a program dedicated to provide free education for youth in rural India. Participants are not obligated to complete all 108 Sun Salutations – instead, they are encouraged to listen to their bodies, complete as many as they can and most importantly… have fun!
Toronto is the city where the very first Yogathon originated five years ago but it is now practiced around the world. I invite you to check out and participate in a city near you. If you cannot attend this year, you can still show your support by making a donation to give the gift of education at https://www.yogathon.us/donation.
I invite you to follow my exciting journey as I prepare for Yogathon 108 as I continue to share with you my experiences, thoughts and tips for this challenge. Stay tuned and Namaste!
Feng is a Suspension Yoga Instructor at The Flying Yogi