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Surya Namaskar Yogathan 2021: A Campaign for Global Well Being

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) volunteers and yoga enthusiasts across the United States have made this year’s Sun Salutation Yogathon a grand success.

With the world still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, the danger of mass depression and anxiety is ever present. It is hard to measure the lasting economic and societal impact this pandemic will have.

Yoga, given to humanity by the ancient Rishis (monks) of the Hindu civilization can help the world in unique ways especially in maintaining our mental and physical well-being during the pandemic.

Yoga is being practiced across the globe, over 36 million Americans are registered Yoga practitioners. That number is growing  20% every year! One of the hidden gems of Yoga is the time tested series of postures called Sun salutations. In the United States, HSS has been celebrating the winter solstice by conducting Sun Salutation Yogathon (Surya Namaskar Yagna aka “SNY”) for the past 15 years. This year’s Yogathon was conducted from January 14 to January 29. This timeline coincided with the nationwide surge of COVID cases.

The Sun Salutation is generally done in the morning and/or evening with a universal prayer that states "Let everyone be healthy, let everyone be free of disease", an inclusive approach for global well being.

A daily regimen of 20 mins Sun salutations can help everyone. A Comprehensive Study On Effect Of Surya Namaskar On Cardio-respiratory Endurance found that the Sun salutation postures can alter human brain chemistry and alter mood positively.

Statistics for SNY -2021

3,714 Yogis performed 1,187,732 Sun salutions!

They are impressive given the whole campaign was executed online in order to maintain social distance. 

The table below shows the numbers for top 10 states.

State Yogis Count State Yogis Count
California 804 238,801 Michigan 292 69,378
Texas 394 167,533 Colarado 89 63,870
Ohio 355 95,071 Pennsylvania 151 63,423
New Jersey 210 81,227 Washington 101 50,362
Illinois 183 76,377 Arizona 136 42,811

The Asian Journal of Medicine in its 2011 study shows how effective SNY is in improving muscular strength, endurance, and body composition.

The national coordinator of the SNY program, Ajay Joshi explained that every year the goal is to increase Sun salutations numbers. He added that next year, they are planning to go back to pre-COVID levels of Sun salutations to be performed.