34 States, 143 Cities
6471 participants & 694176 Surya Namaskars
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), USA organized, all round yoga posture exercise, "Surya Namaskar" or "Sun Salutations." Between Jan. 17 and Feb. 1, the project "Surya Namaskar Yajna" ("SNY") or Offerings of Sun Salutations concluded with 694,176 salutations. About 6,471 people all over the U.S. performed "salutations to the sun," a type of yoga exercise, during a two-week period last month.
Among the participants were some prisoners.Nancy Maclaine, yoga trainer in a minimum security prison in Austin, Texas, initiated the yoga exercise in the prison cell for the inmates.Maclaine said, "I teach them meditation to help sustain them through the hard times inside and give them a tool to use when they get out. I am delighted to now also be able to introduce this practice of daily Surya Namaskar to them. I hope it travels with them wherever they go."
Performing Surya Namaskar in a set of ten yoga postures provides good exercise to the whole body, calms the mind, and sharpens the intellect. This is the third year in a row that this activity assisted in bringing health awareness among people, regardless of age, gender, race, religion or nationality. The project coincides with the Hindu festival "Makar Sankranti" that typically falls on January 14 every year.
The sun is the source of energy for all life on earth. Surya Namaskar is a combination of yoga postures, performed in a pre-determined sequence. They are a set of well-balanced movements that stretch and exercise all the muscles in the body, thus keeping the body and mind healthy. It is practiced all over the world in more than 40 different ways.
Some of the highlights of this national event include:
- During the project this year in Santa Clara, CA , 119 participants, from 3 year- old to 60 year-old, performed 3,120 salutations, while 21 participants performed 983 salutations in Sugar Land, TX .
- Seven Seattle teens began the project with an offering of 286 Surya Namaskar and a pledge of 500 each .
- In North East, 23 participants began with 715 Surya Namaskar and in the Bay area volunteers performed over 100,000 salutations during this period.
Mayor Stephen Stockton of Bloomington, IL, Mayor William Floyd of Decatur, GA, Mayor Christopher Koos of Normal, IL, and Congressman John Sullivan of Tulsa, OK appreciated these efforts to spread healthy activities in the communities by special declaration.
One local participant in Houston, Cathal Keane said, "It is encouraging and empowering for every yoga practitioner and for anyone who is thinking about practicing yoga to participate in such a unifying event. The day has truly captured the essence of yoga to unite, and it has inspired me to share my practice with friends."
"Inspite of the sub-zero temperature that prevailed in the twin cities area during those 2 weeks volunteers warmed the air with their dedication and motivational spirit," said Bhuvanak Ayyar, SNY coordinator from Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN while expressing the success of the SNY/Yoga Marathon.
National coordinator for SNY project, Vinayak Subramanian, from Boston, MA, hoped that all participants will continue this exercise all year round and achieve the health benefits. He also expressed the confidence that this project will spread the message of "Yoga for Health" and will reach out further to the larger society in coming years.