What the Surya Namaskar means for my Quarter Life Crisis

 As we welcome International Yoga Day into its third year, I would like to thank the Surya Namaskar for helping me get along with my quarter life crisis with relative ease.

When I was 6 odd years old, some astrologer dude told me to look at the Sun daily and say "Om Surya Namaha" 12 times. Somehow the habit stuck. But it wasn't until recently that I looked up the actual names of the sun, and the meanings and the yoga postures associated with it.

But am I glad I did that during my early 20s. Yes, I know how you, me and we all feel at this age.

Doubtful about what we want, what we just did, and what we're going to do. Where is the impact we were supposed to create? Weren't we supposed to make a difference? Either stuck in a job where the growth seems impossibly harder than we thought or still figuring out what do with our underrated lives.
But the stories we used to read, and our parents, teachers, didn't they always say that we were special? (Heck, my parents even named me विशेष). We can't even compare to our over achiever parents when they were 25, let alone friends of our age!
Should we go for a debt-inviting MBA? Can we just quit and travel the world, hitchhiking? Or should we just go to the Himalayas and settle down as an ascetic? Or let's just take our non-paying passion full time! And passion, where is passion in our ever failing relationships?  Constant questioning if we really want to be with this person long-term — and maybe even debating whether it's too late to find someone else. Failed searches for the right one, failed attempts to sustain the right one.

Being a twenty something is indeed scary. The Depression Alliance estimates that a third of twenty somethings feel depressed.

"If, as we're constantly told, the world is our oyster, it's definitely a dodgy one. Unlike the midlife crisis, the quarter life crisis is not widely recognized. There are no 'experts' to help us. We have no support apart from each other."
Damian Barr, author of the book Get it Together: A Guide to Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis

 So here's my attempt at supporting a troubled fellow.

My perceptions and understandings about this wonderful meditative practice, called the Surya Namaskar; and why we should imbibe them.

And how it can save us.

Image source: https://yogawithmaheshwari.files.wordpress.com

 Om Mitraya Namaha

The friend of all
The very first posture, or the very first practice to implement in our lives, is to be the friend of all. Irrespective of bias and judgement, caste or creed, smile and greet anyone and everyone, spread happiness and distribute sorrows.
It is pretty easy to feel lonely. Easier to feel otherwise. Just consider everyone as your best friend. Like The Sun does. Unconditional love. Go hug the next person you meet. Beam your smiles at your office colleagues as you wish them a "Good Morning!". You'll be amazed at how easily these feelings are reciprocated.

 Om Ravaye Namaha

Respected by all
There are two ways to understand this. Reverence cannot be one sided. You look up to someone, only if they look up to you. Whether it's the boss who's torturing you, or your girl friend who just left you, respect them for the growth you did because of them. Respect them for the wonderful past they gave you, and inspired you to create a better future. Respect your junior's opinions, they may have something really innovative to say. No one is big, no one is small. We're all made of stardust.  

 Om Suryaya Namaha

Guide of all
Dis-speller of darkness, The Sun rises and initiates all activities of photosynthesis or hunting that plants/day animals indulge in. Such is the guide of an organization, home or society. Whose presence, guidance, and motivation can activate the sleeping members. This is the energy, the persuasive communication, and the influencing power our generation needs to develop, if we have to accelerate the pace at which we are moving.

 Om Bhanave Namaha

Bestower of beauty
Even as your stretch your body with one leg forward and raise your head towards the sky, there is this inherent feeling that the rays of the sun are bestowing more beauty on you. Imbibe the importance of grooming, and consider it as an important factor in shaping your happiness, confidence and productivity. However cool they may say a damn-care attitude is, or however many excuses you give about being busy in work; hair cuts, washes, beard trimmings/shaves,proper clothes should, imo, be inculcated as a habit.

 Om Kaghaye Namaha

The stimulator of the senses
Moving through the sky, The Sun activates our 5 senses; sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch; directly or indirectly. As we move around the world, trying to impress people we like, trying to create a better connection, we can become the stimulator of the senses for them. By taking them to a scenic place, or presenting a bouquet of roses, or accompanying them to a music concert (or better yet, playing an instrument for them), have a sumptuous meal with them, or have physical contact, handshake/hug/and beyond. These are ways to deepen bonds. Trust is what we need to create, for trust is what most of us have eradicated from our lives.

 Om Pushne Namaha

Giver  of nourishment and fulfillment
The asana in this mantra is the Ashtanga Namaskara, which strengthens the back muscles and reduces tension and anxiety. Very similar to the feeling if you donate something to the needy, or become the earner/s hence feeder/s for your family, or be an entrepreneur/employer for the people working in your company. The only way to fulfill your soul is to fulfill a someone's hungry stomach.

 Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha

The creator
The literal translation would be "Golden colored brilliance, emanating from the core", but I like to believe it in a way that the reactions of hydrogen or helium and fissions and fusions are all internal to the sun, but such external heat and light is created out of it. Similar to the electric sparks in our brains and their neural connections, firing and wiring together, creating ideas to improve the world.
Let's become the creators that our neurons deserve; let's start writing down our ideas and implementing them one by one. I have started, come, join me.

 Om Mareechaye Namaha

The destroyer of diseases
Infinite rays of light, going till nooks and corners of dense shrubs and inhibiting the growth of harmful microbes/organisms, we need to imbibe this in our personality to remove root causes of evil from our homes,society, jobs. One way is to drift along with your surroundings, another, to identify the problem areas, the pain points, and stop not till the problem is solved, whether it takes all your efforts to escalate the idea to the CEO or Prime Minister Modi.

 Om Adityaya Namaha

The inspirer
Again, although Adityaya literally means son of Aditi, the cosmic mother, the posture reminds me of someone in a race, which is an inspiration to me (of course, you may take any other meaning you deem fit :). An inspiration to beat my own previous record. Not that of my peers. The day we stop comparing ourselves, is they day we will be truly inspired to achieve our own set of goals. Else, our inspiration will simply be influence.

 Om Savitre Namaha

The life giver or the purifier
The sun rises, and it also sets, but it rises again. This is one wonderful attribute to be understood by us bunch of confused youngsters. Failures are meant to get up again. If we fail, and we don't see any other option, then suicides or giving up are no options. We need to purify our hearts, minds and souls to rise from the ashes of our former self, like through a purifying fire for all our belief systems and parochial view points.The real life we give, is to our self, by re-inventing in times of need.

 Om Arkaya Namaha

Worthy of praise, the radiant
The yoga posture involves stretching of the chest and expanding lungs to maximum capacity. As Amy Cuddy has suggested, our body language exudes power. A broader body, enriched with exercise and regular practice of open postures and stances, give enough confidence for others to perceive you as radiant.

 Om Bhaskaraya Namaha

Giver of wisdom
Wisdom today is pretty cheap, here's a pseudo-advisor blogger telling you how to sort your life without even setting up his own. Though wisdom of one may be trash for another, it might just be a gold mine for a third. Everyone can learn from each other's experiences. Be proud of your failures, and share them. Like everyone in their 20s, I'm scared to do mistakes. But not when I know it will help me pass on the learning to someone else. That gives me the strength to try.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
My daily morning routine of Surya Namaskar primes my mind in a different state before my day starts. Before I even get out of my room, I am already thinking about how to imbibe these values today. And a 5 minute meditative silence while doing this, de-clutters my over thinking mind of all the things a normal twenty something would be thinking of.

In essence, The Sun is all about unconditional giving. And that's how we should start thinking about our lives, in terms of that we give, than what we get.


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