Fitness

108 days of Surya Namaskar

V Jayakumar was 24, when he was initiated into yoga by his cousin. Back then, he admits, he was cynical about the art, and believed that it was meant for the elderly, and those who had a lot of time at their disposal. Little did he know then, that in a few years, at the age of 39, he would be contradicting his own statement by emerging an aspiring yoga figure for many. On June 18, Jayakumar entered the Limca Book of Records for fastest set of 108 sun salutations—in 12 minutes 49 seconds. Incidentally, it was also the 108th day since he started practising for it.

108 days of Surya Namaskar
 

An aircraft maintenance engineer, Jayakumar’s work timings are erratic and decided solely by flight timings. “Sometimes 7 pm, sometimes 1 am,” he says. “In the initial days, I went through a lot of stress. My sleep went for a toss. I would come back home and sleep the whole day, and still feel tired when it was time to go to office.” It had an impact on his personal life as well. “I missed my wife’s birthday, and our wedding anniversary. I would come home, and when my kids (one is in Class V and the other in UKG) came to hug me, I would shout at them.” All he wanted to do was to be left alone with the frustration he carried from his office. “And for most part of the day, I kept browsing channels, without really watching anything.”

Turning point

Naturally, it took a toll on Jayakumar’s health. A waist size of 37 inches and a weight of 83 kilograms was far from ideal for his height (5 feet 11 inches). But what really pushed Jayakumar to take up yoga, was academic pressure, he says. In 1999, Jayakumar left for Bengaluru, armed with a degree in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering from Hindustan Institute of Engineering and Technology, Chennai, for a six-month training at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. This was followed by a two-year training at Air India in Mumbai, and a two-and-a-half-year training with British Airways. After which, he got into KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, where he has been working for 14 years. “In my field, I have to keep studying till I retire. As part of my training, while I was in Mumbai, I had to clear 17 modules that were part of the European Aviation Exam. It was a lot to study, and I failed to crack two modules.”

108 days of Surya Namaskar
 

Things changed when he began practising Sudarshan Kriya yoga (an intense rhythmic breathing pattern) seriously. It changed him in ways he did not expect. “I used to study all night, and just finish two pages, of which I would hardly remember anything. But a few months into practising Sudarshan kriya, I could sense a significant change in my concentration, memory power and intuition.”

For better health

While mental health was taken care of, Jayakumar realised that he wasn’t working on his physical fitness until he suffered from severe back pain one night, and had to be immediately taken to a doctor. “That was in 2010. Ever since, I have been doing yoga, without fail.”

Since he worked night shifts, he decided to schedule his yoga session a few hours before his dinner. And most times, since he was in a hurry, he would do Surya Namaskar 108 times however fast he could.

“There are three paces in which you can do it: ‘slow’ increases your flexibility, ‘medium’ tones your muscles and ‘fast’ gives you a good cardio workout.”

Nobody clocked the time, till he went for a teachers’ training programme at Sri Sri Yoga School in Bengaluru, and shocked everyone by performing Suryanamaskar 108 times, and 30 push-ups, in under 30 minutes. His seniors urged him to apply for a world record (according to onlineworldrecord.com, the record then was 19 minutes), and his family and neighbours began to maintain a time log. What took him close to one hour when he first started, reduced as the days increased, to his best at the recent event at Elliots Beach.

While the feat looks great on his profile, what he is happier with, is the fact, that he is able to spend quality time with his kids when back home.

“I wear a smile when I go to work, and manage to have it on, when I come back. Isn’t that great?”

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Printable version | Nov 19, 2020 11:11:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fitness/108-days-of-surya-namaskar/article19109956.ece

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