Scale The Summit Of 108 Sun Salutations… And Come Down

On April 7, 2012 about 1.3 million people all over the world took the Yogathon Challenge – 108 Sun Salutations in one session and thousands completed it too. Surya Namaskar, or sun salutation, is a series of 12 yoga postures that energize the solar plexus region. The solar plexus is an important center in the body and is connected to many energy channels. Sun Salutation benefits are immense and its practice is quite well known throughout the world. Yet doing 108 Sun Salutations continuously can be challenging and requires stamina, physical fitness and above all mental resolve and discipline. It is possible and there are thousands who proved it. Here’s a recommended routine for four weeks to help you build up to your target of 108.

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Week 1 4 sets 8 12 16 20 24 Rest
Week 2 24 24 24 24 24 24 Rest
Week 3 36 36 36 36 36 36 Rest
Week 4 48 48 Rest 54 54 54 54

How Can I Relax My Body After Sun Salutations?

Ensure you relax properly after Sun Salutation practice. Instead of plopping down into a chair, it is better to do some postures to relax various parts of body. Some of the postures you could do are:

Rest Your Muscles And Body Well

  1. Keep yourself well hydrated. Drink 3-4 liters of water per day.
  2. Sleep early and wake up early.
  3. Relax your body during Yoga Nidra. Do not keep your body tight.
  1. Gomukhasana (Cow face pose) is a great way to relax the arms. This pose is easy to do when your shoulders open up. Consult an Sri Sri Yoga teacher to learn this posture correctly.
  2. Vajrasana - Sit in Vajrasana to relax your legs. Place your feet beside each other, ensuring they do not overlap. Keep your neck and spine straight .You could either simply relax in the yoga pose or you could do the three-stage and Bhastrika pranayam (breathing technique) followed by Sudarshan Kriya.
  3. Natrajasana (Dancing Shiva pose) While doing the Dancing Shiva pose remember to keep your shoulders on the ground. Did you notice the stretch at your hips, lower back, abdominal and neck muscles?
  4. Pavanamuktasana - Lie down on your back, fold your knees and press them with your arms against the chest. Roll in this yoga posture to ease the tension in the back. This is an excellent way to massage the back.
  5. Yoga Nidra - Lie down on your back and take your attention to various parts of the body. Yoga nidra cools the body and restores it to normal temperature.

With regular effort, you can easily reach the summit of 108 Surya Namaskars. As soon as you start, you can feel the effects of your practice too – increased energy through the day, better digestion, sharpness and focus. With practice, you can figure out what rhythm suits you best. Doing it fast is like an aerobics workout and doing it slow can be meditative.

But the story doesn’t end here. Edmund Hillary climbed the Everest, spent a few hours there enjoying the view but eventually had to come down. If you’d like to continue this regimen of 108 Sun Salutations every day, by all means, go ahead. But whenever you feel like stopping, it is strongly advised that you don’t stop abruptly. That would be like hitting the brakes in an accelerated car. Just like the journey up was gradual and step-by-step, so should your return. You don’t want to crash land.

This is because as you build up pace as your body gets used to vigorous yoga pose practice. Reducing the intensity gradually gives your body a chance to recover from the intense work out and improves the resilience of the warmed up muscles. Here’s a recommended schedule for two weeks starting from the day you completed 108 Sun Salutations.

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Week 1 Take a day off 42 sets 36 30 24 18 12
Week 2 6 6 6 6 6 6 6

Sun Salutation is a complete exercise that stretches one from head to toe and its inclusion in one’s fitness regimen is extremely fruitful. Yet a little bit of care would help you to experience the full effects of the Sun Salutations. It is advisable that you consult with a certified yoga teacher who will monitor your progress. If you have any physical ailments, do visit a doctor too.

Read more on 11 tips for better sun salutation

All the best on your journey to good health!

(Based on inputs by Dr. Sejal Shah, National Coordinator for Sri Sri Yoga (India).

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