While the country is gearing to celebrate WORLD YOGA DAY, an innovation on the SURYA NAMASKAR ———- christened SAMARTH NAMASKAR by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is sitting at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) awaiting a National Launch.
The new routine, that has added 9 postures to the traditional 12, has been essentially developed by a Pune-based orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Pavan Kohli, with the blessings of the late yoga guru BKS Iyengar and in collaboration with offshore branches of a yoga institute and the Sports Medicine Association (Singapore), SAMARTH NAMASKAR is an attempt to woo over people. The PM’s astute selection of the name SAMARTH was to signify capable of benefitting all.
“I faced a lot of resistance within the country to my efforts to innovate on the iconic SURYA NAMASKAR, so I chose to involve foreign institutions in my endeavour,” Dr. Kohli told Mirror. It took him over a year to develop the routine, during which time BKS passed away.
“BKS was already in a frail state of health when I began. After him, I have been guided by his son Prashant Iyengar,” Kohli recounted. However, Prashant Iyengar told Mirror, “It is completely designed by Kohli and all the credit for it should go to him. We only approved his innovations as they were brought to us.”
Dr. Kohli took up the experiment to address the needs of modern life-styles. “Most people these days suffer from backaches and neck pain due to long hours of sitting. The problem has become almost epidemic. SURYA NAMASKAR lacked the sideways movement and could not relieve these issues. I have made additions to take on these modern-day physical demands with SAMARTH NAMASKAR.”
Early this year, Dr. Kohli submitted his research report to both ICMR and the Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). Vouching for the efficacy of SAMARTH NAMASKAR, Dr. Ravinder Singh, senior scientist at ICMR said, “SAMARTH is definitely more powerful and energetic. Its back and neck postures are helpful. PMO was to launch it on the eve of International Yoga Day, but the plan was held back due to various reasons. Now, at ICMR, we will do a controlled study of SAMARTH on different subjects to establish stronger evidence of its efficacy.”
Confirming that SAMARTH NAMASKAR has found acceptance with the Modi government, Union Ministry for AYUSH Shripad Naik, added, “The file is pending with us and a date for the launch of this “innovative routine” will be set on Sunday after the celebrations of International Yoga Day wind up.” Director of the finance department of PMO also told Mirror, “PM will soon be launching SAMARTH NAMASKAR through AYUSH.”
Given that the research had BKS Iyengar’s backing, not many yoga experts are contesting the efficacy of SAMARTH. “There are several SURYA NAMASKAR variations some with more than 12 poses. SAMARTH NAMASKAR has 21, of which 10 are from the classic sun salute. I think the additional poses, which seem to “have a beautiful flow”, will make SAMARTH NAMASKAR more intense and involving,” opined Mumbai-based yoga guru and author Shameem Akhtar.
“SAMARTH NAMASKAR seems to have incorporated certain movements of the body that were missing in the traditional SURYA NAMASKAR like the Trikonasana, Marjariasana and the Virbhadrasana kriya. Since, it has been developed by medical experts, it must have been done keeping in mind the musculoskeletal system. And if there is an easy flow from one posture to another —— that is the most crucial aspect —– it should work fine,” certified Asheet Ambekar, yoga teacher who has trained under Iyengar.
———with inputs from PM Features team.