22 Jun Slomo and the Art of Surya Namaskar
Yesterday was the first International Yoga Day as well as the Summer Solstice and Father’s Day, and to celebrate all three, I decided to do 108 rounds of classical Surya Namaskar, the oldest known physical practice of yoga.
Surya Namaskar has a wealth of benefits. It strengthens the arms and core, opens the hip flexors and chest, and stimulates the thyroid gland through the continued flexion and extension of the neck. It combines nearly every group of poses (standing, forward fold, backbend, and even a mild inversion with Adho Mukha Svanasana) and combined with Shirsasana (headstand) and Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) and their variations can constitute a complete yoga practice. But my favorite benefit of Surya Namaskar is the way it becomes meditation in motion for me, and consequently roots me in the present moment, energized and ready to move forward. Flowing through Surya Namaskar gives the feeling of lateral acceleration.
Much like the way skating on the Pacific Beach boardwalk in San Diego does for Dr. John Kitchin.
I first read about Dr. Kitchin, or Slomo, as he’s known now, it was in a New York Times article featuring Josh Izenberg documentary short on the neurologist who dropped out of the life he had built to rollerblade in a super-slow glide down the boardwalk as a means of finding bliss.
In his own words: “If you keep [lateral acceleration] constant, the feeling of expansion continues to build. Anything where you can get this lateral acceleration feeling, you can use that for meditation, because it puts you in the zone.”
I found this documentary short to be utterly captivating and Slomo to be truly inspirational. Please check it out. It’s worth 16 minutes of your time, especially to watch Slomo skate at the end.