Yoga enthusiasts will be attempting to complete 108 Surya Namaskars to mark World Health Day

A team of yoga students, led by Prathiba Agarwal, will be taking part in a yogathon of 108 Surya Namaskars (54 sets) to mark World Health Day. She and her team have been practicing diligently over the last few weeks. Just as a marathon is a test of endurance and fitness for a runner, yogathon is a test for yoga practitioners.

Prathiba asserts the importance of training for the test similar to runners practicing for weeks, at time months, to run a marathon.

The time-tested sun salutation with its 12 postures that has been practiced and perfected over time and held in good stead for its health benefits, today risks being reduced to a quick fix weight-loss regimen that doesn’t focus on basics such as smoothly moving into a posture with the correct breathing technique. “One cannot jumpstart a student into doing a number of surya namaskars. Safety comes first; it’s important to learn the alignments and the breathing technique to avoid injury to the back and the joints,” says Prathiba.

Majority of the 130 participants expected to perform 108 Surya Namaskars this Sunday at Alankrita Resorts are from the Anahata yoga centre. “Beginners can easily do six or 12 rounds of sun salutations. After a week, I see if they are able to build momentum and do 24 rounds. Slowly the number is increased to 36 and then 54 over a few weeks to prepare for the event,” she says.

The yoga school has conducted five such events in the past, two of which were indoors. Prathiba observes with a tinge of surprise that students who normally struggle to perform a few sets in the studio go on to do many more at these events, helped by the group energy and fresh air.

Moreover, it is not a must for all participants to complete 108 rounds. “We tell them it’s important to do as many as they are comfortable with, going by their energy levels and health on that particular day. The summer heat also needs to be kept in mind. The event begins at 7 a.m. and a participant can pause and sip water when he/she feels dehydrated and continue. Those who take short breaks can complete 108 at an extended time,” informs Prathiba.

Though the World Health Day is observed on April 7, the event is being held on April 6, Sunday, to make it convenient for participants.