Second annual offering of salutes to the Sun, known as Suryanamaskar Yajna successfully achieved its objective of ?Health for Humanity?. Suryanamaskar is a 10 step body conditioning method that uses the ancient Indian yoga techniques. Each year Hindus worldwide celebrate January 14 as Makar Sankaranti day?a change of season and the day the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn or Makar. Makar Sankranti brings in longer days, thus the festivity symbolises sunshine in life. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), USA, local centers, along with several yoga groups and community organisations, actively participated at over 140 locations all across the U.S. in this unique public health awareness campaign that started on January 12 and concluded on January 27. Suryanamaskar is a type of yoga practice consisting of body postures from standing position to gradually leaning to lie straight on the floor and reverse the same to the original position. Each of these positions is associated with a breathing technique that in addition to conditioning the body muscles also helps practice deep respiration techniques.
For past two weeks, children aged five to adults above 70 enthusiastically performed Suryanamaskars. Approximately 5,000 people performed more than half million Suryanamaskars. From East Coast to West Coast, North to South, many places conducted marathon events where for several hours participants continued performing approximately 6 minutes of one set of Suryanamaskar where total 13 of such offerings were performed with each including 10 yoga postures.
In New York, 24 years old Rudra Upadhyaya, 17 years old Suraj Bassit, both originally from Guyana, and 26 years old Piyush Satapathy, originally from Orissa, India, respectively performed 845, 825 and 832 Suryanamaskars within five hours span, during the locally held Suryanamaskar Marathon! Some of the local centers performed as many as 15,000 Suryanamaskars during marathon events while regions exceeded 50,000 in numbers.
This event was widely welcomed all across the US. Oklahoma Congressman John Sullivan acknowledged HSS? efforts to bring fitness awareness in the community with special citations. Although such a visibility and appreciation is highly encouraging, the major success of this project came from the enthusiasm of the participants from the cross-section of the community, independent of age, sex, nationality and individual faith. Young child Thor Stead from Minneapolis, while enjoying this exercise, rightly said that it is helping him to stay healthy. Seventy two years old Houston resident Shri Shintri who is CPA by profession, performed daily Suryanamaskars and performed more than 100 Suryanamaskars during the marathon event. In his words, Yoga and Suryanamaskars keep the body well style, which, according to him, helped him stay active at this age without any kind of medicines. Aruna Panyam from Westminster, Colorado, who coordinated women'sworkshop for 5 sets or 65 counts everyday per person, commented that all participating women started feeling as if it is part of their daily routine and active life style.
Anil Kothari, HSS National Coordinator for Suryanamaskar Yajna commented that many participants from the last year were looking forward again to getting involved this year too. Over the one year period many kept practicing Suryanamaskars at home or gyms and nothing else now need to convince them other than their self-experienced healthy body and fitness in daily actions.