Yoga marathon: oxymoron or samadhi-in-training? Some of us only wish we could practice yoga ALL the time. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily involve the physical practice of posing on our mats for 24 hours straight. Or for 40 hours, which is what 29-year-old Yogaraj CP just did the other day, setting a new world record for longest yoga marathon, which included over 1,500 poses, and probably a few bathroom breaks. He is still human after all.
Yogaraj is an Indian yoga teacher based in Hong Kong, where on Sunday he set the Guinness World Record for ’Longest Yoga Marathon (Male)’ — ladies you still have a chance! — with the support and encouragement of the Indian Consulate. “Heartiest congratulations Yogaraj. The Consulate team is proud of your achievement,” the Indian Consulate in Hong Kong shared on its Facebook Page.
In fact, Yogaraj dedicated his performance to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the radar lately for declaring June 21 as International Yoga Day. ”It was great recognition for yoga, so to thank our prime minister I want to achieve this Guinness World Record and help propagate yoga on a global level,” he told the South China Morning Post.
Ygaraj received Twitter congrats from Syed Akbaruddin, the official spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs:
Yoga record. Yogaraj sets record with 40 hours of non stop Yoga Sadhana in Hong Kong, demonstrating 1500 plus asanas. pic.twitter.com/nAWUHRjE61
— Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) February 15, 2015
Yogaraj reportedly started his yoga practice at age five and began teaching by the time he was 12. Since then he’s been a frequent yoga competitor and a serial world record-maker, holding the title for longest headstand at 2 hours and 40 minutes in 2003 and performing the most amount of yoga poses while riding a motorcycle (that’s 23) in 2011.
Here he is attempting to set the yoga marathon world record back in 2009 where he lasted 28 hours and pulled tricks like putting on a t-shirt while in headstand to the delight of onlookers.
It certainly is impressive in an acrobatic sense, but we’re not sure what all this has to do with promoting the practice of yoga in the world in an inclusive and welcoming way we’d hope it to be. But that’s just us. Many complain about the West ruining yoga’s image, but we’re not sure everyone’s clear on the image from yoga’s motherland. Yoga has never really been one thing, even in, or especially in, India. Does it have to have just one face? June 21st is going to be really interesting.