'When you come out of a storm, you are not the same person who walked in.’
In 2001, Praveen Maripelly found himself withdrawing into a dark place physically and emotionally. Loss of his parents at a very young age had left a wound that hadn’t healed. Despite his art and mainstream medication, migraine, back pain and depression continued to haunt him for almost a decade. It was then that he found refuge in Yoga. As Praveen emerged as a teacher from Yoganiketan, he realized the life-changing power of Yoga. As gratitude, he began teaching Yoga at the institute. And, it was there that his journey to 108 Surya Namaskaras began.
Surya Namaskara is a versatile and powerful yogic technique that energizes the body, mind and soul. As a worshipping ritual, the Surya Namaskara has its origins in ancient vedic texts. Similar to the Surya Namaskara, the number 108 has numerous symbolic meanings and connotations that can be found across disciplines ranging from mythology, to theology, science, performing arts and to yoga. A complete cycle of Surya Namaskaras involves 12 postures with alternating backward and forward bending asanas, flexing and stretching of the spinal column and a well-regulated breathing pattern.
From time immemorial people have been performing series of sun salutations in the multiplication of 12 and more. While it has always been a matter of personal preference or spiritual significance, for Praveen, when he first heard about 108 Surya Namaskaras back in 2013, it was nothing more than a mere number challenge. The Surya Namaskara itself had him spell-bound since his student days. Little did he know then that in attempting to perform his first set of 108 sun salutations, he was in effect embarking on a journey of self-realization; and one that would go on to inspire many more.
When he first attempted to complete 108 Surya Namaskars or nine complete Surya Namaskara cycles, he failed at just 36. Alike those whom he now teaches, his body seemed to give up and his mind not prepared for the task at hand. However, an intrinsic aspect of Yoga is also Swadhyaya – persistent purposeful effort. Having trained under eminent Yoga gurus, Praveen took up the challenge of summiting the 108 sun salutations, not as obstinacy, but more like a journey. Within one year of rigorous practise, he completed his first ever of 108 Surya Namaskaras on 13 March, 2013 in 45 minutes. And that was the turning point in Praveen’s life.
Once he achieved the 108, he felt the surge of Prana – vital force, rushing through is entire being. Since that day onwards, Praveen has made 108 Surya Namaskaras his swadhyaya. Every single day he performs 108 Surya Namaskaras in the Brahmna Muhurta – before sunrise, as a spiritual, physical and mental workout. With years of practise, he has reached a level of synchronization of the body, mind and breath. To him, the rhythmic breathing aligning with the body movements is a way of exploring and understanding his self. His rigorous practise keeps him rejuvenated, refreshed, focused, positive, aware and mindful.
Continuing his practise, Praveen has performed 108 sun salutations at varied locations, in trying conditions, extreme climate and high altitude. It is now his passion to perform 108 Surya Namaskaras at world’s highest peaks, of which he has already scaled Mera Peak(Nepal), Mt.Everest Basecamp(Nepal), Mont Blanc(France), Zugspitze(Germany), Gruenten(Germany) and Mani Mahesh Kailash(India). Today, he is a master Surya Namaskara teacher in the city of Vadodara. Under his guidance and training, more than 500 people have performed 108 Surya Namaskaras as a group. He regularly conducts 108 Surya Namaskara training and group performances.
To read more about his 108 Surya Namaskara achievements, click here.